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Legalizing marijuana vote in La Crosse County

Marijuana vote

Should marijuana be legalized in Wisconsin? La Crosse County residents may soon get to vote on that issue.

The La Crosse County Board of Supervisors is meeting on Thursday to discuss whether or not they should ask county residents to vote on legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and older.

The board is strongly considering putting that question on the ballot this fall, and similar questions are set to already be on the ballot in Milwaukee, Dane and Rock counties.

According to Tara Johnson, Chair of the La Crosse County Board of Supervisors, several other Wisconsin counties are also meeting this week to discuss adding it to their ballots.

In La Crosse County,  residents are torn over the idea of legalizing marijuana.

One La Crosse county resident who doesn't’t agree with legalizing it is Sherry Wuensch.

"I don't think it's a good idea," said Wuensch.

La Crosse County Resident Natalie Schaefer disagrees.

"I think it's a really good thing," Schaefer said.

“If we legalize it, I just don't think it's a good idea because it's going to impair your judgment just like if you were to drink and drive. If you're using marijuana and you're driving, it's not a good idea,” Wuensch said.

"If you're able to tax a substance that money can go into really good things like roads, infrastructure, schools, I think it's a really positive thing," Schaefer said.

There are passionate people on both sides of the issue, which is why Johnson wants the county to vote on it.

"This is  a good opportunity for county voters to weigh in and let the state legislature know how they feel about it," Johnson said.

Johnson added that it's the right time to focus on this issue.

"I think public opinion has changed over time. Clearly, states across this country are legalizing marijuana at a pretty rapid rate and seeing a lot of revenue generated," Johnson said.

She said there are several reasons Wisconsin counties are putting it on the ballot.

"It has to do with what it costs to pursue marijuana charges and how much of a burden is that to the county, but also you can generate revenue if you regulate it--could it be safer, instead of people putting in crazy additives,” Johnson said.

But many county residents are worried the risks may not be worth the rewards.

"I think it's just too  dangerous. We have enough distractions when we drive and make judgments and decisions in life. We don't need another,” Wuensch said.

A Marquette Law School Ppoll from 2016 found that 59 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin wanted to fully legalize marijuana.

That same poll also found that 81 percent of registered voters in Wisconsin said the government spends too much money on "arresting and incarcerating marijuana offenders."  

If that question is put on the ballot in November, the results would be given to the state legislature.

 

 

 


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