Advisory referendum on marijuana legalization proposed in Brown County

File photo (MGN Online/Medical Marijuana Cure)

BROWN COUNTY (WLUK) -- Brown County voters could be asked in November whether they want marijuana to be legal in Wisconsin.

Two Brown County Supervisors, Alex Tran and Erik Hoyer, are asking their peers on the county board to agree to the advisory referendum for November.

“Personally, myself and Alex, Supervisor Tran, neither of us have any skin in this game,” said Hoyer. “We're simply asking a question, want the question asked and don't understand why there would be any resistance to at least seeing where we are as a community.”

An advisory referendum is not binding and simply lets lawmakers know voters’ feelings on a certain topic.

The drug can only become legal statewide, yet several other counties are looking at asking the question as well.

Tran says she sees a number of potential benefits if the drug were legal.

“The tax revenue that the state could get could go to a lot of programs that we have that are unfunded, like we need more DAs, we need more public defenders,” said Tran.

“If you're going to use tax revenue from drugs to add to the DA situation, you're probably going to add more cases that the DAs have to handle too in the long run,” said Bernie Erickson, a Brown County Supervisor.

Erickson is one of a few of county board members who've already voiced their opposition to asking voters about legalizing marijuana.

“They say occasional use of marijuana and so forth can lead to use of stronger drugs,” said Erickson. “We've got enough of a drug problem right now without making it readily available on the street.”

Statewide, Marquette Law School posed the question two years ago. 59 percent agreed that marijuana should be fully legal and regulated like alcohol. 39 percent disagreed.

“Let's see what the results lie and if there isn't support for it, we have our answer,” said Hoyer. “If there is support, what can we do with that information?”

The county board could take a vote on posing the question at its next meeting, in July.

Milwaukee's county board has already agreed to an advisory referendum. It will be on the ballot when voters head to the polls on November 6th.

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