Surprisingly, Wisconsin is now among states with cannabis on the ballot this year. Wisconsin’s constitution does not allow for the kinds of statewide initiatives that brought legal medical cannabis to states including California, Colorado and our neighboring Michigan.
While the state constitution does allow statewide advisory referendums, the legislature needs to place them on the ballot. Wisconsin’s Legislature not only did not move the Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act out of committee after an 8 hour plus public hearing in December 2009 that brought hundreds of patients and supporters to the Capitol on a bitterly cold day, they also were unwilling to put the issue before voters statewide this November.
When we learned the JRMMA was dead for the session, ironically on April 20, state activists began moving forward with a new strategy to place medical cannabis advisory referendums on ballots around the state. Citizens can gather signatures and place advisory referendums and direct legislation on city and village ballots. City councils have to approve these petitions and can also place them on the ballot themselves as can county boards.
With the longtime strong support for medical cannabis in Madison and Dane County, we worked with Supervisor John Hendrick of Madison and he found 12 cosponsors for a resolution placing this question on all Dane County ballots in the Nov. 2 general election:
"Should the Wisconsin Legislature enact legislation allowing residents with debilitating medical conditions to acquire and possess marijuana for medical purposes if supported by their physician?"
The resolution passed out of the County Board’s executive committee July 8 on a 6-0 vote. On Thursday July 15, after hearing testimony from myself and other patients and advocates and offering some amazing discussion themselves, the Dane County Board passed the resolution unanimously.
Here is my article about the vote: Dane County Board votes unanimously to put MMJ Advisory Referendum on Nov. 2 General Election Ballot
State activists are also working to gather signatures in River Falls, La Crosse and Milton, Wisconsin and are also looking at campaigns in Mondovi, home to bill namesake Jacki Rickert, Lodi, Rio, Poynette and other locales. There is more info at JRMMA.org, and if you are interested in helping gather signatures in any of the ongoing campaigns or doing a local advisory referendum, you can learn more there. The Wisconsin Association of Counties has been sent the Dane Resolution for use by other counties who may be interested.