Binding referendum planned to reduce Monona pot fines

In late February the Monona Public Safety Commission (PSC) rejected a proposal to lower city pot fines in a 5-4 vote. Now the Madison chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is planning to collect signatures to place a binding referendum before Monona voters that would reduce cannabis penalties, according to chapter president Nate Petreman.

In January it appeared Monona was on track to pass the lower penalties when the PSC convened their monthly meeting. But opponents then hijacked the February meeting with the chair, alder Brian Holmquist, repeatedly losing control of the debate. A citizen was allowed to ramble on against the proposal for over 15 minutes, while Kathy Thomas, a vehement opponent and the outgoing longtime City Council member and current council president apologized to the chair in an early morning email for “bullying” him during the debate.

Supporters need to gather a minimum 719 good signatures from Monona residents in a 60-day time frame to place the amended ordinance before voters and they hope to begin April 22. In 2010 and 2014 Monona voters overwhelmingly supported Dane County advisory referendums in support for legalizing the medical use and adult use of cannabis. The small Madison-area city had a population of 7,745 in 2013.

A Facebook page with information on how citizens can help with the referendum campaign is expected to be up soon. Stay tuned to Cannabadger for updates!

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