Democrats hope for advantage in counties holding marijuana referendums

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Matt Flynn, a Democratic candidate for governor, talks with people on Green Bay's City Deck on July 11, 2018. (Photo credit: WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- At least one Democratic candidate for governor believes counties that are putting a marijuana question on the ballot in November will tip the scale in Democrats' favor.

On Green Bay's City Deck, Democratic candidate for governor Matt Flynn encouraged people to push Brown County supervisors to agree to a marijuana advisory referendum.

“The reason the Republicans don't want this on the referendum in Brown County is it will bring back many, many new voters and all the data shows they will vote Democratic,” said Flynn.

Brown County is one of 11 counties in the state considering a cannabis legalization advisory referendum in November. Milwaukee and Rock Counties have already agreed to putting one on the ballot.

Winnebago is the only other county in Northeast Wisconsin considering an advisory referendum on the issue.

Flynn told potential voters he believes Democrats will sweep any county that asks its voters about marijuana legalization.

“It's a relative term, in other words, they're going to do a lot better than they normally would and it will turn many counties,” said Flynn.

One of Flynn's seven primary opponents, Mahlon Mitchell, who was also in Green Bay, isn't so sure about the referendums providing a Democratic advantage.

“I didn't look at it that waythe way I look at it, it's more of folks wanting to see what the general electorate wants and what people want,” said Mitchell.

Tony Evers is the only Democratic candidate for governor that doesn't support full marijuana legalization. Evers says he'd want a referendum to decide recreational legalization.

Mike McCabe, Joshe Pade, Kelda Roys, Paul Soglin, and Kathleen Vinehout are the other Democratic candidates for governor.

The primary election is on August 14th.

Republican Governor Scott Walker has consistently said the drug should stay illegal.

“Law enforcement has told me repeatedly it is a gateway drug,” said Walker. “We already have problems with addiction with opioids, with heroin, with meth, and others. The pleas have come from law enforcement and public health not to legalize it in the state.”

While some counties are measuring public opinion, legalization can only happen at a state level.