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The Cannabadger Guide to the 2018 Wisconsin County Cannabis Advisory Referendums

UPDATED: 11/02/2018: The year 2018 has been a historic year for cannabis law reform in Wisconsin. On Nov. 6, sixteen Wisconsin counties and two cities, from the Michigan border to the Illinois border, from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River will have the opportunity to weigh in on Wisconsin’s archaic and punitive cannabis laws when they go to the polls to vote. While Dane County has twice held county cannabis advisory referendums and Madison and other Wisconsin cities held both advisory and binding referendums on cannabis in the 1970s, never before have so many Wisconsin voters had the chance to express their opinions on the cannabis issue. More than half of Wisconsin residents live in the 16 counties.

Map updated on Aug. 29, 2018 showing the final status of the 21 Wisconsin in which cannabis advisory referendums were introduced in 2018.

Ten of the counties will vote on medical use, another four on adult use and two more have multi-part questions. As the chart below indicates, Milwaukee County was the first to approve a cannabis advisory referendum, voting in late May. Racine County was the final county to approve, passing it Aug. 28, the last day to get it on the Nov. 6 ballot. Five more counties debated cannabis advisory referendums but did not approve them, St. Croix, Walworth, Fond du Lac, Winnebago and Outagamie counties.

List of 16 Wisconsin Counties that approved holding cannabis advisory referendums in the Nov. 6, 2018 general election.

Referendum Wording by County

Six of ten medical cannabis advisory referendums use the exact 32-word question. One more uses a 29-word variation of that. The remainder of questions, medical, adult-use or multiple choice all have wording unique to those counties. Below are all 16 questions.

MILWAUKEE COUNTY:
“Do you favor allowing adults 21 years of age and older to engage in the personal use of marijuana, while also regulating commercial marijuana-related activities, and imposing a tax on the sale of marijuana?”
ROCK COUNTY:
“Should cannabis be legalized for adult use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the taxes used for education, healthcare and infrastructure?”
DANE COUNTY:
“Should marijuana be legalized, taxed and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older?”
SAUK COUNTY:
“Should the State of Wisconsin legalize medical marijuana so that people with debilitating medical conditions may access medical marijuana if they have a recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”
 BROWN COUNTY:
“Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?”
 LA CROSSE COUNTY:
“Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana by adults 21 years or older, to be taxed and regulated in the same manner that alcohol is regulated in the State of Wisconsin, with proceeds from taxes used for education, healthcare and infrastructure?”
 MARATHON COUNTY:
“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?” 
 PORTAGE COUNTY:
“Should the state of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”
 CLARK COUNTY:
“Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes and regulate its use in the same manner as other prescription drugs?”
 LANGLADE COUNTY:
“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”
MARQUETTE COUNTY:
Resolved, that “We the People” of Marquette County, Wisconsin, support the right of its citizens to acquire, possess and use medical cannabis upon the recommendation of a licensed physician, and;Be It Further Resolved, that we strongly support a statewide referendum requesting Wisconsin to join with thirty-two (32) other states that have already approved the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain, several debilitating diseases and disabling symptoms.
EAU CLAIRE COUNTY:
“Should cannabis: (Please select only one of the alternatives below or your vote will be invalid) _______(a) Be legal for adult, 21 years of age and older, recreational or medical use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure in Wisconsin? _______(b) Be legal for medical purposes only and available only by prescriptionthrough a medical dispensary? _______(c) Remain a criminally illegal drug as provided under current law?”
FOREST COUNTY:
“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”
KENOSHA COUNTY:
“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”
LINCOLN COUNTY:
“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”
RACINE COUNTY:
“1. Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal use?2. Should marijuana be legalized and regulated for adults 21 years of age or older?3. Should marijuana sales be taxed for state and local revenue?”

Wisconsin Cities Holding Referendums

In the city of Racine, the proposal by District 3 alder John Tate II for a city cannabis advisory referendum was passed by the Racine City Council Monday and will appear on city ballots Nov. 6. The Racine Journal Times reported the council approved it on a 10-3 vote.

The city of Racine question was earlier split into three parts by the Public Works Committee, and the referendum language will ask if voters support:

*Cannabis legalization for medicinal use.
*Cannabis legalization for recreational use, taxed and regulated like alcohol.
*Proceeds from cannabis taxes being used to fund public education, health care and infrastructure.

In Waukesha, the seventh largest city in the state and largest city in Waukesha County with an estimated 2016 population of 72,363, the city council approved a medical cannabis advisory referendum at their August 7 meeting. The referendum was proposed by District 12 alder Aaron Perry, along with fellow alders Cassandra Rodriguez and Cory C. Payne. The final vote was 7-4 with no abstentions. The question before Waukesha voters will be: “Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?”

Related coverage by Cannabadger and other sources:

Door County Pulse: Marijuana Questions to Appear on Some City, County Ballots

WisBusiness.com: Advisory referendums on marijuana driven by grassroots effort

Gary Storck: Voters should pass pot referendums, defeat candidates who oppose legalization

Letter To The Editor: Gary Storck: Pot referendums aren’t a liberal ploy

Myers Research: Cannabis referendum questions likely to increase voter turnout

Wisconsin Justice Institute launches Vote Cannabis 2018 website

New Marquette Law school Poll finds 61% support for cannabis legalization in Wisconsin

Wisconsin cannabis possession arrests surged 5% from 2016 to 2017

Cannabadger coverage of Wisconsin county advisory referendums:

23) UPDATED: Racine and Lincoln make 16 counties approving Nov. 6 cannabis advisory referendum 
22) Racine County Board to vote August 28 on Cannabis Advisory Referendum
21) UPDATED: Six of seven Wisconsin county boards approve cannabis advisory referendums for Nov. 6 ballot
20) Six more Wisconsin counties to vote on cannabis advisory referendums August 21
19) Portage County approves cannabis advisory referendum on 22-1 vote
18) Racine County Board moves cannabis advisory referendum one step closer plus other updates
17) St. Croix board rejects referendum 9-8, Racine county committee okays board vote
16) Portage and Forest County Committees Advance Referendums To Full Board
15) County Advisory Referendum Updates: Langlade, Eau Claire, Racine, Portage and more
14) Marathon County Board approves medical cannabis referendum 19-15
13) Marathon County Board to vote July 24 on medical cannabis advisory referendum
12) La Crosse sixth Wisconsin county to ok November cannabis advisory referendum
11) Brown County board approves medical cannabis advisory referendum
10) Sauk is 4th Wisconsin county to approve Nov. 6 cannabis advisory referendum
9) Dane County is third county to approve November cannabis advisory vote
8) Brown, St. Croix, Langlade and Sauk county cannabis advisory referendums head to full board votes
7) Langlade and Walworth join 8 other counties looking at cannabis advisory referendums
6) Cannabis legalization advisory referendum update: Rock County approves, other counties moving forward
5) Wisconsin County Cannabis Legalization Advisory Referendums moving forward across state
4) More Wisconsin counties looking at advisory referendums on pot legalization
3) Dane County Board to consider cannabis legalization advisory referendum for November ballot
2) Full Milwaukee County Board OKs cannabis legalization advisory referendum for November ballot
1) Milwaukee County Board committee OKs pot legalization referendum proposal; sends to full board for vote

Articles from other sources:

Wisconsin State Journal: Advocates hope November referendums will spark Wisconsin’s debate on legalizing pot (Cannabadger was a source for this article)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Marijuana referendums: What Wisconsin voters need to know about November ballot issues

Racine Journal Times: 16 counties, including Racine, to have referendums on marijuana on Nov. 6 

WisBusiness.Com: Referendums on ‘dark store’ loophole, marijuana to go before voters in November

Wisconsin Elections Commission Spreadsheet listing of all Nov. 6, 2018 advisory referendums

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