On Sunday, May 15, activists from Madison NORML and the Monona Direct Legislation campaign gathered at the Monona Public Library to launch their campaign to place direct legislation reducing Monona pot fines on city ballots this November. If successful, fines would plummet from $313.00 plus court costs to $1.00 plus costs, or about $60.00. The group now has a 60-day window in which they need to collect a minimum 719 signatures of Monona residents age 18 and over by July 13 to put the proposal before voters this fall. While 719 valid signatures would qualify it for the ballot, NORML hopes to collect at least 1200.
The signature table with banner across from the Monona Public Library will be staffed by volunteers every Wednesday from 4-8pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5pm to the campaign’s end Wed. July 13. To have a petition delivered to you for signing, more information on the campaign or how to volunteer, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers will also be going door to door through Monona neighborhoods. On Sunday June 11, there will also be three informational sessions in the Monona Public Library at 1pm, 2:30pm and 4pm for those seeking to learn more about the effort.
While the Wisconsin Constitution does not provide the route for statewide direct legislation that advocates in states like Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska have used to pass medical cannabis and adult use initiatives, Sec. 9.20 of Wisconsin statues provides that “a number of electors equal to at least 15% of the votes cast for governor at the last general election in their city or village may sign and file a petition with the city or village clerk requesting that an attached proposed ordinance or resolution, without alteration, either be adopted by the common council or village board or be referred to a vote of the electors.”
If the campaign is successful, it would make Wisconsin history as just the second cannabis law reform binding referendum that has made it to a city ballot. The first instance of direct legislation used to pass a cannabis law reform proposal was Madison Question 6, which became Ordinance 23.20, passed by Madison voters on April 5, 1977 by a 60/40 margin. Today, Madison General Ordinance 23.20 remains the second oldest decriminalization ordinance in the U.S. still on the books.
Advocates manning the table outside the Monona Library on Sunday said they are already seeing strong interest. One of the first to sign was Amylynne Santiago Volker, an advocate for legal access to cannabidiol (CBD) whose son suffers from a seizure disorder. Volker helped pass Wisconsin’s CBD law, Wisconsin Act 267, in 2014.
As I stood near the table later in the afternoon, two women from Oshkosh who had seen the banner and thought the campaign was statewide stopped and wanted to sign. Clearly there are a lot of Wisconsinites unhappy with the unrelenting war on cannabis in the state and anxious to see the reforms state lawmakers refuse to make finally happen. The lack of representation in Madison on this issue means that battle has to be fought by citizens city by city and village by village.
Here are Cannabadger’s previous posts about Monona in reverse order:
- NORML kicks off Monona binding pot vote campaign
- Binding referendum planned to reduce Monona pot fines
- Monona Alder apologized for bullying during PSC pot vote
- Listen to the people of Monona about marijuana
- Monona committee tables proposed changes to pot law
- Herald-Independent reports on Monona Public Safety Commission’s look at reducing pot penalties
- Wisconsin city with highest pot fine in state dropped pot fines to $1 in Sept. 2015
Cannabadger continue to monitor this story and post updates as they develop.
UPDATED: 2016-05-18 1:52:41 PM