Wednesday night, history was made as the Brown County Board of Supervisors passed a medical cannabis advisory referendum that will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. Brown County, the state’s fourth most populous county, is now the fifth county to pass a cannabis advisory referendum after Milwaukee, Rock, Dane and Sauk earlier did so.
After voting to split the resolution into two parts, board members ultimately voted 16-10 to put a medical marijuana advisory referendum on the November ballot. A question regarding recreational marijuana was rejected, 15-11.
The votes came close to midnight after the board heard over three hours of public testimony, the majority of it in favor and then debated the issue. The meeting drew such a large public response that a second room was required for the overflow.
The amazing turnout represents certainly the largest public hearings on cannabis at the county level in Wisconsin ever.
Among those testifying were many supporters of the medical use of cannabis. A former city of Green Bay bus mechanic, took the podium to relate how medical cannabis helps him deal with a diagnosis of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. He described how inadequate conventional MS medications were and the horrible side effects he endured. He said his doctor said he would prescribe it if he could. Other supporters included local elected officials, such as Casey Nelson, a De Pere alder.
Another speaker noted how the mere existence of the referendum proposal has opened up a lot of welcome dialogue of a usually taboo topic. Another woman who said she was 33 talked about dealing with multiple sclerosis for half her life. She was followed by a disabled vet who said cannabis helped her. More speakers stepped up, many saying that prior speakers had already mentioned much of what they had planned to say.
Each person who spoke in favor received thunderous applause as they concluded. Phillip Scott, from the Wisconsin Hemp Farmers & Manufacturers Association, who had spoke at the Dane County vote, testified in favor of hemp and cannabis. He was followed by some moving testimony from Madison-area vet Brian Seamonson. as the clock ticked past 9:35. Mark Kelderman, who led the Oshkosh decriminalization effort, took the podium as it neared 10pm. After the final speaker finished at 10:15pm, the board took up the debate.
On Thursday July 19, two more counties will consider approving advisory referendums, La Crosse and Marathon.
The full La Crosse County Board convenes at 6pm at the Administrative Center 212 6th Street North La Crosse WI to vote on approving an advisory referendum.
And starting at 7pm Thursday, the Marathon County board is meeting at 500 Forest St. in Wausau for referendum vote, and once again, supporters are needed.
Also, the Kenosha County Board’s Legislative committee voted 4-3 Tuesday night (July 17), in favor of their medical cannabis advisory referendum and the full board will be voting on Aug. 21. The sponsor of the resolution requested the change as he will be unavailable for the Aug. 7 meeting .
Previous Cannabadger coverage of Wisconsin county advisory referendums: