Author: Eric Marsch

Cannabis wins in 2018!

Cannabis was the big winner in yesterday’s election in Wisconsin!

Cannabis referendums passed overwhelmingly in all 16 counties and 2 cities, with up to 88% support for medical and 76% support for recreational! While these referendums were only advisory, they show cannabis law reform to be more popular than many of the lawmakers who won in these areas. This should send a strong message to the incoming Wisconsin legislature that cannabis law reform – including medical cannabis, cannabis decriminalization, and cannabis legalization – must be a priority in 2019.

Another huge victory was kicking out staunch prohibitionist governor Scott Walker and prohibitionist attorney general Brad Schimel and electing Tony Evers and Josh Kaul to replace them; both of whom are very supportive of medical cannabis and open minded on recreational cannabis. The close margin in those statewide races means they both owe their jobs to the hundreds of thousands of cannabis voters who came out to support the referendums.

The particularly wide-margin defeat of Leah Vukmir – who is well-known for claiming cannabis to be more addictive than meth during a televised debate this fall, and also for blocking all medical cannabis legislation in the Wisconsin Senate’s Health and Human Services committee that she chaired – also shows that Wisconsin rejects Reefer Madness-style fearmongering on cannabis and understands its safety and efficacy.

Now the big work begins of getting a bill passed. NORML will be scheduling meetings with Governor-elect Evers and legislative leadership to ensure the clearly-demonstrated will of the people is quickly enacted. This fight is not over. We’ll need your help to put pressure on our elected officials to change the laws. Follow SE WI NORML on Facebook and signup for our email list to the right to stay up-to-date.

The results of the referendums are listed below.

Brown County:

“Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?”

  • 76% YES
  • 24% NO

Clark County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes and regulate its use in the same manner as other prescription drugs?”

  • 67% YES
  • 33% NO

Dane County:

“Should marijuana be legalized, taxed and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older?”

  • 76% YES
  • 24% NO

Eau Claire County:

“Should cannabis:”

  • 54% – Be legal for adult, 21years of age and older, recreational or medical use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?
  • 31% – Be legal for medical purposes only and available only by prescription through a medical dispensary?
  • 15% – Remain a criminally illegal drug as provided under current law?

Forest County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

  • 79% YES
  • 21% NO

Kenosha County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

  • 88% YES
  • 12% NO

La Crosse County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana by adults 21 years or older, to be taxed and regulated in the same manner that alcohol is regulated in the State of Wisconsin, with proceeds from taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?”

  • 63% YES
  • 37% NO

Langlade County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

  • 77% YES
  • 23% NO

Lincoln County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

  • 81% YES
  • 19% NO

Marathon County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

  • 82% YES
  • 18% NO

Marquette County:

“Shall the County of Marquette, Wisconsin, adopt the following resolution? Resolved, that “We the People” of Marquette County, Wisconsin, support the right of its citizens to acquire, possess and use medical cannabis upon the recommendation of a licensed physician, and; Be It Further Resolved, that we strongly support a statewide referendum requesting Wisconsin to join with thirty-two (32) other states that have already approved the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of chronic pain, several debilitating diseases and disabling symptoms.”

  • 78% YES
  • 22% NO

Milwaukee County:

“Do you favor allowing adults 21 years of age and older to engage in the personal use of marijuana, while also regulating commercial marijuana-related activities, and imposing a tax on the sale of marijuana?”

  • 70% YES
  • 30% NO

Portage County:

“Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical [treatment] purposes, if those individuals have a written [treatment] recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

  • 83% YES
  • 17% NO

Racine County:

“Should marijuana be legalized for medicinal use?”

  • 85% YES
  • 15% NO

“Should marijuana be legalized, taxed, and regulated in the same manner as alcohol for adults 21 years of age or older?”

  • 59% YES
  • 41% NO

“Should proceeds from marijuana taxes be used to fund education, health care, and infrastructure?”

  • 81% YES
  • 19% NO

Rock County:

“Should cannabis be legalized for adult use, taxed and regulated like alcohol, with the proceeds from the Taxes used for education, healthcare, and infrastructure?”

  • 69% YES
  • 31% NO

Sauk County:

“Should the state of Wisconsin legalize medical marijuana so that people with debilitating medical conditions may access medical marijuana if they have a prescription from a licenses Wisconsin physician?”

  • 80% YES
  • 20% NO

City of Racine:

“Should cannabis be legalized for adult recreational use in Wisconsin?”

  • 66% YES
  • 34% NO

“Should cannabis be legalized for medical use in Wisconsin?”

  • 88% YES
  • 12% NO

“Should cannabis sales be taxed and the revenue from such taxes be used for public education, health care, and infrastructure in Wisconsin?”

  • 83% YES
  • 17% NO

“Should cannabis be decriminalized in the State of Wisconsin?”

  • 72% YES
  • 28% NO

City of Waukesha:

“Should cannabis be legalized in Wisconsin for medicinal purposes, and regulated in the same manner as other prescription drugs?”

  • 77% YES
  • 23% NO

Grow the Vote

Help us Grow the Vote for cannabis legalization! There are many ways you can promote the pro-cannabis candidates and referendums.

Vote!

Make sure to vote on November 6th!
Find your polling place at myvote.wi.gov and make sure to bring a photo ID.

If you haven’t registered to vote yet, you can register at your polling place on election day. In addition to your photo ID, bring proof of residence (utility bill, pay stub, lease, any government document) with your name and address on it if you need to register.

Flyer

We’ll ship flyers to you at no cost if you can distribute them to friendly businesses, at concerts, on college campuses, or anywhere else cannabis-supporters can be reached.

If you would like a stack of flyers, email eric@sewinorml.org and include:

  • The address to ship the flyers to
  • How many fliers you would like us to send

You can also download a PDF version of the flyers that fit 4 to a 8.5×11″ sheet here if you want to print your own.

Banners

We’re looking for people in counties with cannabis referendums to hold banners promoting “YES” votes on the referendums. We have 9 total sets of the “VOTE YES NOV 6” banners.

See list of counties with referendums

We’d like to see them held over busy freeway overpasses. You can either hold them yourself, or you can rig up some kind of stand for them. We used microphone stands with clamps when we’ve done this.

If you would like a set of banners, email eric@sewinorml.org with your address and where you plan on holding them. Due to the limited number, we may not be able to send banners to everyone who requests them.

Help Pro-Cannabis Candidates Get Elected

The referendums around Wisconsin are only advisory. The only way the laws can be changed is by electing representatives who support cannabis legalization. Go to our Legislative Candidate Positions page to find supportive candidates in your area, click on their name to find their campaign website, then contact them to find out how you can help.

Flip the Governorship and Senate

Cannabis legalization has gone nowhere with Wisconsin entirely under Republican control. Scott Walker has adamently opposed legalization and no Republican has signed on to either the medical or recreational legalization bills. If we want legalization, we need to elect Tony Evers and flip the Senate to Democratic control – that’s the reality.

These 5 state senate races are considered key to flipping the state senate. All of them have Democratic candidates that are strongly supportive of cannabis legalization running against prohibitionist Republicans. If you are near one of these districts, please prioritize volunteering for them:

Yard Signs

We have some yard signs available for people in Racine County, Kenosha County, and City of Waukesha. If you would like a yard sign, contact the point person for your area (Texting preferred method of contact):

  • Racine County
    • Joel Jacobson – 262-716-4518
  • Kenosha County
    • Andy Berg – 262-705-9808
  • City of Waukesha
    • Eric Marsch – 262-443-0089

Texting Likely Supporters

We will be working with Our Wisconsin Revolution to text likely cannabis supporters to inform them about the referendums. Check back on Monday 10/29 to get involved with this.

Cannabis Saves Lives – An Art Piece Proposal

Someone had a great idea for an artistic visual aide to the number of lives cannabis can save in Wisconsin by reducing opiate deaths by 25%, which would save 216 lives in Wisconsin based on the 2016 opiate death toll of 865. The idea is to use 865 prescription bill bottles to create a sculpture in the shape of a human body, with 216 of them colored green to represent the lives that would be saved by medical cannabis laws. Once completed, this piece will be a powerful visual to draw media attention to the importance of reforming cannabis laws.

The first step to making this is collecting 865 prescription pill bottles. The exact size of the bottle doesn’t matter, but we want them to be real prescription bottles. Make sure to take the labels off first, to protect your privacy, and of course, the bottles should be empty.

SE WI NORML will be at Knucks Fest at the Miramar Theater on Friday 9/14, then at Bay View Bash on Saturday 9/15. We’ll also be at Harvest Fest in Madison 10/6 and 10/7. Stop by our table to drop off prescription bottles. Otherwise contact me at eric@sewinorml.org to arrange a way to get them to us. We’ll be reaching out to local businesses for collection as well.

This will probably not be done in time for the election, so we’ll plan to have it ready for the new legislative session in January, when we’ll have to pressure the newly-elected representatives to make cannabis law reform a priority.

Advisory Referendum Hearings in the Next Couple Weeks

Many county boards will be hearing public comments regarding cannabis legalization advisory referendums over the next two weeks. Please attend your local hearings and voice your support for referendums on the November ballot so we can highlight the support that legalization of cannabis has.

If you do choose to speak, please arrive a little early and come prepared either with facts, statistics, studies, or a personal story of how cannabis has helped you or someone you know. And please remember to be civil and respectful – we don’t want any board members to vote against us out of spite.

Langlade County

Tuesday, August 21th
9:00am
840 Clermont St, Antigo
County Board Room on the lower level

Fond du Lac County

Tuesday August 21th
6:00pm
160 S Macy St, Fond du Lac
Legislative Chambers of the City-County Government Center

Eau Claire County

Tuesday August 21th
7:00pm
721 Oxford Ave, Eau Claire
Room 1277

Marquette County

Tuesday August 21th
7:00pm
67 W. Park St., Montello

Forest County

Tuesday August 21th
7:00pm
200 E Madison St, Crandon

Kenosha County

Tuesday August 21th
7:30pm
1010 56th St, Kenosha

Racine County

Tuesday, August 28th
6:30pm
14200 Washington Ave. Sturtevant

Hope to see you there!

Legalization Advisory Referendum Hearings Coming Up

This is a big month for cannabis legalization advisory referendums. There are County Board hearings about adding a cannabis legalization advisory referendum to the November ballot in 7 counties! If you live in one of these counties, please try to make the hearing so you can speak in support. There is opposition to these referendums in these counties, so we need to show strong support for them and tell the board about the importance of cannabis legalization.

St. Croix County

Monday July 9th @ 5:00pm
County Board Room
1101 Carmichael Road, Hudson
Meeting Agenda

Brown County

Monday July 9th @ 5:30pm
Room 200
305 E Walnut St, Green Bay
Meeting Agenda

Sauk County

Tuesday July 10th @ 1:00pm
Room 213, West Square Building
505 Broadway, Baraboo
Meeting Agenda

Langlade County

Tuesday July 10th @ 1:00pm
County Board Room, Public Safety Building
840 Clermont St, Antigo
Meeting Agenda

Walworth County

Monday July 16th @ 10:00am
Walworth County Government Center
100 W Walworth St, Elkhorn

Winnebego County

Tuesday July 17 @ 6:00pm
Supervisors’ Room, Fourth Floor, Winnebago County Courthouse
415 Jackson Street, Oshkosh

Marathon County

Thursday July 19th @ 7:00pm
500 Forest St, Wausau

Help Us Get Cannabis Legalization Referendums on the Ballot

As many people now know, on May 10th the Judiciary Committee of the Milwaukee County Board voted in favor of adding a cannabis legalization advisory referendum to the November ballot. If passed by the full county board on May 24th, it will ask Milwaukee County voters in November if they think Wisconsin should legalize cannabis. While the results have no legal effect, if legalization wins by a large margin (which we expect it will, given 64% of Americans support legalization according to Gallop Polling) it will help strengthen the push for legalization once the new governor and lawmakers are in office next year.

We want these referendums to be on the ballot in counties all over the state. Please contact your county supervisors and ask them to put a referendum on the ballot in your county as well. If you live in one of the more populated counties of the state, please look below for how you can email a pre-written letter to your county supervisors in support of a referendum.

Unlike with state legislative and congressional lawmakers, we don’t have a slick system for targeting your specific County Supervisor. But we do have an easy way to send a pre-written letter to all of the Supervisors in your county. When you click the link for your county, your web browser will open your default email client with a pre-written letter to send to the supervisors. You can edit the letter if you wish, or you can simply hit send. If this doesn’t work on your computer, try from your phone, which is more likely to have your email client properly setup.

If your county is not listed on here, we can get it up soon. Please contact me at eric@sewinorml.org if you would like me to add your county.

Milwaukee County

The fight in Milwaukee is not over yet. The full county board must approve the advisory referendum in their meeting on May 24th. Please use the link below to contact the Milwaukee County Supervisors.

Email Milwaukee County Supervisors

Dane County

Email Dane County Supervisors

Waukesha County

Email Waukesha County Supervisors

Racine County

Email Racine County Supervisors

Outagamie County

Email Outagamie County Supervisors

Winnebago County

Email Winnebago County Supervisors

​Kenosha County

Email Kenosha County Supervisors

Fond du Lac County

Email Fond du Lac County Supervisors

Pro-cannabis billboard fundraiser

SE WI NORML will be getting pro-cannabis digital billboards in early March! How many billboards we’ll get and how long they’ll stay up all depend on how much you donate! Please contribute at the bottom of the page!

Because the billboards are digital, we will have have our spot rotate between four different messages. Here are the billboard images:

So, where will they go? The two main spots we want them are in Milwaukee:

  • Oakland and North, by the donut shop
  • State Fair Park along I-94 facing Westbound traffic

If we can raise enough money, we would like to get these all around the state!

The goals of these billboards:

  • Show Wisconsin politicians that cannabis legalization will be a major issue in the November election
  • Spur public dialog about cannabis legalization; the more people talk about it and the more the facts are out there, the more support we gain.

With 59% of Wisconsinites supporting cannabis legalization, the only thing holding us back is our current lack of political influence. By putting our messages in front of hundreds of thousands of people and organizing a grassroots army to support pro-cannabis candidates and initiatives across the state, we will quickly attain the power that will enable us to elect a state government that will finally end the injustice of cannabis prohibition.

Fill out the form below, adding your name, email and donation amount. Once you click Continue to PayPal, you’ll be taken to PayPal where you can make your donation via PayPal funds or credit card.

Racine Mayoral Candidates – Where They Stand

On October 17th, Racine will be holding a special election for mayor. Here is where the two candidates stand on cannabis law reform.

Alderman Sandy Weidner has been in office for 17 years and did sign the Racine Green Party’s petition to decriminalize possession of 25 grams of cannabis to a $1 fine and a warning within the city limits. She was one of the two candidates of the six running during the primary to reply to SE WI NORML’s questionnaire regarding cannabis law reform. She voiced opposition for legalizing and possessing cannabis, however she did voice support for medicinal and industrial uses of hemp and the benefits hemp could have to Wisconsin’s agricultural economy.

See full answers here.

State Rep Cory Mason has been in office for 11 years and he did not sign the Racine Green Party’s petition to decriminalize possession of 25 grams of cannabis to a $1 fine and a warning within the city limits. He did co-author bill AB409, which decriminalizes up to 10 grams and did say he was in support of Senator Cory Booker’s decriminalization bill. However, according to Cannabadger’s article last year, he doesn’t think that cannabis arrests are a priority. He is not a sponsor of the state medical use bill AB482 and he did not respond to SE WI NORML’s questionnaire regarding cannabis law reform.

SE WI NORML Endorses Fabi Maldonado for Racine Mayor

On September 19th, Racine will be holding a primary election for mayor. The top two candidates with the most votes will advance to the general election in October. Southeastern Wisconsin NORML is endorsing Fabi Maldonado for mayor of Racine. If you live in Racine it’s very important that you vote for Fabi. This will likely be a very close race, and a couple dozen votes could very likely mean the difference between victory or defeat. If you know someone who lives in Racine, please urge them to vote for Fabi Maldonado on September 19th.

Fabi has demonstrated a strong commitment to ending the injustice of cannabis prohibition. As co-chair of the Racine Green Party, Fabi lead an effort to lower the fine for cannabis possession in Racine to just $1, collecting over 5,200 signatures for the initiative in 60 days. The current government in Racine ended up disqualifying the ballot initiative on a technicality, but as mayor, Fabi will continue the effort to reduce cannabis arrests in the city and end the injustices of cannabis prohibition upon the community.

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West Milwaukee Update

The Village of West Milwaukee is trying to pull some shenanigans on us. At the village board meeting, the board unanimously voted to reject the petition, on the advice of the village attorney, who told them that the ordinance we are attempting to pass is in conflict with state law. This action of the village board is illegal, in violation of Wisconsin Statute 9.20(4) which gives the village board only two options at this point: either pass the ordinance as-is, or put it on the ballot.
We have attempted to contact the village attorney to resolve the issue, but they have not responded to us. After some research, it appears that we can file a civil lawsuit against the village, seeking what is called “mandamus”. Mandamus is when the courts compel the village to perform its mandatory duty.

Such a lawsuit will likely incur a cost, so we are still hoping to resolve the issue with the Village of West Milwaukee outside of the court system.

The following is the email I just sent to the village board, the village clerk, and the village attorney. It goes into detail about why the village board does not have the authority to make the decision it did, and what we plan to do to remedy the situation.

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