Brown County committee recommends advisory referendum on marijuana

    Brown County logo. (WLUK)

    GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Brown County voters are a step closer to being able to give their opinion on legalizing marijuana.

    On Monday night, the county’s executive committee recommended putting two questions on the issue on ballots in November. However, the full county board's support is still needed before that happens.

    “I think you owe it to us to put this on a ballot and let the people say yea or nay,” said Jeff Nelson of Green Bay.

    Supervisors Erik Hoyer and Alex Tran are proposing an advisory referendum, which is not binding.

    “This is a public opinion, allowing the state to gauge where people in Wisconsin are at on this issue,” said Tran.

    Twenty-four people spoke on the subject during a public comment period. Of those, 23 supported a referendum.

    “They are suffering medical patients with horrible and in some cases terminal ailments,” said Wendy Coriell of Green Bay about marijuana supporters. “They are people tired of being arrested for partaking in a relaxing recreation, far safer than alcohol, that has killed no one.”

    The one member of the public who spoke against a referendum was former Green Bay Alderman David Boyce.

    “I believe the very best place to address this issue is at a state level,” said Boyce.

    Some executive committee members agreed with Boyce, saying the county shouldn't be taking up a state matter.

    “I think it's pretty clear that if you go to the polls and you're in support and this is your determining issue, then vote for the Democrats because then you're going to get what you want,” said Supv. John Van Dyke.

    In the end, the committee voted 3-2 in support of two referendum questions, one on full marijuana legalization, and one on only medicinal legalization. Two committee members abstained.

    “We represent the people, when they want to be heard, let them speak,” said Supv. Tom Sieber.

    The full county board is expected to make a final decision on a referendum at its meeting next Wednesday.

    According to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 10 counties in Wisconsin are considering similar advisory referendums.

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