Wisconsin Democrats bill would put medical pot advisory referendum on ballot

Posted: January 14, 2017 by Gary Storck
Category: Medical

Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) and Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton) are rolling out two medical-cannabis bills, an updated version of the Compassionate Cannabis Care Act the two have long championed and a second bill to authorize placing a statewide medical cannabis advisory referendum before state voters.

Rep. Taylor announced the new legislation on Facebook on Jan. 12:

Earlier today, Sen. Jon Erpenbach and I introduced legislation to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin.

Our legislative package is composed of two bills – the first, would authorize a statewide, advisory referendum on medical marijuana. This referendum is an opportunity for legislators to set ideology aside and truly listen to the voices of their constituents and those impacted by the decisions that we make. The second bill, is the Compassionate Cannabis Care Act which legalizes marijuana, prescribed by a doctor for medicinal use, ending the shadows families have to hide behind to get their loved ones the relief they so desperately need.

Some legislative Republicans appear to have softened their stance on this issue – please call your local representatives and encourage them to support our legislation today!

I wrote a post in late 2016, “Why Wisconsin can’t vote to legalize cannabis,” lamenting the lack of a statewide initiative process through which citizens collect signatures to place issues before voters for their approval, a process that has successfully legalized cannabis in a number of other states across the nation over the last 20 years. Lacking that process, a statewide advisory referendum should demonstrate a supermajority of state voters want medical cannabis legalized. Polling dating back to 2002 and 2005 found support between 75-80% statewide.

Hopefully, majority Republicans will not block the referendum bill. In the past, lawmakers went to the referendum more frequently for guidance from state voters. This is an exciting development that deserves our full support!

UPDATED to add image of draft resolution 01/15/2017 9:07:50 AM