MADISON: The latest issue of “Wisconsin Briefs” from the State Legislature’s Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB), Brief 10-7. issued in early November 2010, features the issue of medical cannabis and legislation present and past, from the Dane County and River Falls MMJ advisory referenda to AB554 and SB368 back to the 1990′s.
Here is the opening paragraphs of the brief, which was prepared by LRB Legislative AnalystKinnic Eagan, :
On November 2, 2010, Wisconsin voters in Dane County and the City of River Falls were asked if they support medical access to marijuana for seriously ill residents so long as their doctor recommends its use. The nonbinding referendum passed 75.5 percent to 24.5 percent in Dane County and 68 percent to 32 percent in River Falls. While the results of the advisory referenda do not change law, they may reflect a public interest in legalizing the medical use of marijuana.
Bills to legalize the medical use of marijuana have been introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature since the late 1990s. During the 2009-2010 legislative session, two bills on this subject were introduced, Senate Bill 368 and Assembly Bill 554. Nationally, 14 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) have adopted laws related to the medical use of marijuana. This brief provides background information on the issue of legalizing the medical use of marijuana and current law and legislation related to its use in Wisconsin. This brief does not address the broader subject of decriminalization of marijuana use.
The brief also contains information on other states that have legalized medical cannabis, summaries of opinions pro and con, tables showing current laws, and links to various references including the texts of AB554 and SB368, the Dec. 15, 2009 combined Health Committee hearing, and other related information.
Download PDF file here: Wisconsin Briefs from the Legislative Reference Bureau Brief 10-7 November 2010
MADISON: With the elections having set the state and national political landscape for the next two years and beyond, politics has gone into a temporary lull as the winners and losers prepare for the New Year. With the holidays now upon us, even the flurry of Wisconsin localities passing ordinances banning K2 or “Spice” has settled down. A statewide ban is already on the agenda for the new legislature. It is just one of a very few bills that will see much bipartisan support in the coming session in Wisconsin. Today, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration also announced plans to “temporarily control five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) used to make “fake pot” products.”
Wisconsin’s brain drain is certain to accelerate once the full effects of the coming changes at the Capitol begin to be felt. Governor-elect Walker campaigned on a platform that included killing a planned high-speed rail line in Wisconsin that would have brought close to a billion dollars in federal money to the state. Not only would this have launched new service beginning with a Milwaukee-Madison leg, it would have created new jobs and upgraded rail infrastructure used by freight trains too. Losing this project is a blow the state will likely never recover from instead of the once in a lifetime opportunity that would have made Wisconsin a leader. And although the project once had wide Republican support too, that evaporated in a wild spree of flip-flopping to support Walker’s candidacy.
Once the new legislature takes office in early January, with a 60-38-1 GOP majority in the Assembly and a 19-14 majority in the State Senate, expect a flurry of pent-up “conservative” issues to surface and quickly be passed into law including voter ID, concealed carry, cutting state employee benefits, cutting the Badger Care health care program and similar issues.
An estimated $3.3 billion budget hole will further decrease Wisconsin’s quality of life with thousands of state jobs likely being eliminated. For state workers who can hang on, furloughs will depress wages. The Walker years will not likely in many new opportunities for ordinary Wisconsinites. Killing the train killed the development and jobs that would have multiplied out of the project. For Walker, it’s an interesting way to achieve his campaign promise of creating 250,000 Wisconsin jobs.
MADISON: In it’s endorsements before the Nov. 2 general election, the Sun Prairie Star had this to say about the Dane County Medical Marijuana Referendum, urging a No vote:
Legalized Marijuana Referendum – The advisory referendum asks if the state Legislature should enact a law allowing residents with “debilitating” medical conditions to acquire and possess marijuana for medical purposes if “supported” by their physician.
This question has already been dealt with by the Legislature, which failed to enact it. This is just another effort by high-minded (um, no pun intended) individuals on the county board to circumvent the legislative process to right another in a long list of perceived injustices.
We wish the county board would stick to the county’s business. Vote NO on the county medical marijuana referendum. — “Our View: Endorsements We endorse Walker, Lee, others and make our referenda statements too,” Sun Prairie Star, Oct. 21, 2010.
Sun Prairie voters loudly disagreed with the Star’s tirade, instead voting 2/1 to support the medical marijuana referendum. The Star website’s own online poll showed support of 62% to 48% as well.
The entire county went 3 to 1: 75.49% YES, with 159,408 YES votes being cast.
MADISON: On Sunday Nov. 7, from 3-7pm, Madison’s High Noon Saloon will be the location of a “Post-election Victory Party & Benefit,” hosted by the Madison chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). The event, a celebration of Tuesday’s landslide victory for the Dane county Medical Marijuana Advisory Referendum, will feature live music, speakers and NORML vending.
High Noon Saloon
701 E Washington Ave # 101
Madison, WI 53703-2958
While the referendum was advisory and non-binding, it gained nearly 160,000 Yes votes in winning with 75.49% of the vote, outpolling every candidate. Support was strong across the county, no matter which candidate’s voters were favoring. A sister referendum in River Falls prevailed with 68% of the vote.
The twin referendums represented the first time ever that any Wisconsin voters had been asked their opinion on medical cannabis, and voters were glad they asked with 3 of 4 saying Yes.
The celebration begins with Madison’s David Sewell leading off with a short set of acoustic music. Sewell, a fixture in front of the Willy St. Natural Foods Coop, is departing soon for warmer climes in California, and his appearance will be one of his last before he departs.