Appleton puts marijuana referendum on November ballot

An advisory referendum asks voters whether marijuana should be legal.
Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 6:08 PM CDT
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Voters in Appleton will have a chance to weigh in on the marijuana debate on November 8. The city put an advisory referendum on the ballot, asking whether marijuana should be legal.

The city council approved the advisory referendum by a 9-4 vote at its meeting Wednesday night.

Several other cities across Wisconsin have also put marijuana advisory referendums on their ballots in November. Four years ago, voters in Brown County overwhelmingly approved a similar referendum.

Supporters say it’s to pressure state lawmakers to take action, even though the Legislature isn’t in session again until next year. Opponents say the referendum question will cost taxpayers at least $2,250 without changing any laws or regulations.

“There is power in the collective voice of municipalities, especially in Madison. When multiple municipalities act together and voice their collective will of the residents they are representing, Madison has a responsibility to listen,” Appleton council member alder Israel Del Toro argued at the council meeting.

“Have they done their job well in Madison? Probably not, especially not in this regard, but I do not believe that this referendum or anything we do in that regard will change that,” council member Sheri Hartzheim argued.

In a Marquette University Law School Poll conducted in February, 61% of Wisconsinites said marijuana should be “fully legalized and regulated like alcohol.”

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