Racine County supervisors propose advisory referendum on legalization of pot for recreational, medicinal use

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DALY CITY, CA - APRIL 18: A bowl of medicinal marijuana is displayed in a booth at The International Cannabis and Hemp Expo April 18, 2010 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California. The two day Cannabis and Hemp Expo features speakers, retailers selling medical marijuana smoking paraphernalia and a special tent available for medical marijuana card holders to smoke their medicine. Voters in California will consider a measure on the November general election ballot that could make the State the first in the nation to legalize the growing of a limited amount of marijuana for private use. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

RACINE — Two Racine County supervisors have proposed an advisory referendum to call for the legalization of cannabis for recreational and medicinal use.

According to a news release from Supervisor Nick Demske (1st District) and Supervisor Fabi Maldonado (2nd District) the advisory referendum would call for the legalization for people who are over the age of 21. The cannabis would be taxed, and the revenue generated would be used for public education, health care and infrastructure.

The release says Maldonado and the former “Racine Green Party” in 2017 gathered more than 2,500 signatures in support of decriminalizing cannabis — calling for $1 fines.

“The former Racine Green Party collected more signatures in two months than people voted for alderman in the City of Racine  in the 2016 and 2017 elections. I promised my constituents and the people who live in Racine County that I would fiercely fight for cannabis reform. The people have already spoken twice in favor of cannabis reform in Racine County. In 1990, the City of Racine decriminalized cannabis to $200 forfeitures, although our local law enforcement chooses to still ignore our local laws and follow state law. In 2017, over 5,200 constituents, once again loud and clear, said they wanted $1 fines in Racine if found with cannabis possession. I’m here to double down on what our constituents have spoken for in Racine County and have been saying for decades,” said Maldonado in the release.

“Whether you are for or against legalizing cannabis right now, you will be able to find plenty of articles from plenty of sources that will agree with your personal bias. What this referendum is about is cutting through all that — the noise of the national argument about cannabis — and, rather than us as elected representatives going to those sources for input, we want to prioritize the voices that should matter most to us — the voices of the people of Racine County.  Whether for or against, we just want to take this opportunity to join other states and other counties here in Wisconsin to let the people’s voice be heard on this issue. Because to truly represent the people, first we have to know the will of the people, and we don’t want the national dialogue to overshadow the importance of the local reality,” said Demske in the release.

The release says the “Racine County Governmental Services Committee” will meet on Aug. 7 to consider this potential referendum.

Should the advisory referendum pass, it will be heading to the Racine County Board. That vote would likely be scheduled for Aug. 28 — and community members are invited to come speak in favor of or against this proposed referendum on Aug. 7 and Aug. 28.

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