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“It isn’t all roses and buds.” La Crosse assistant police chief considers implications of legalized marijuana

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When it comes to legalizing marijuana in the county, the La Crosse Police weren’t asked.

Assistant Police Chief Rob Abraham said the La Crosse County Board didn’t solicit his department’s input before voting to put an advisory referendum for legalized marijuana on the ballot this fall.

Abraham says there are significant implications to eventually legalizing marijuana, like Colorado and other states have done.

“It isn’t all roses and buds in Colorado,” Abraham said from the WIZM studio last week. “There are some issues, and those issues need to be thought out.

“And there needs to be really good solid legislation. Don’t just get greedy and think about money, but unfortunately sometimes that’s all legislators think about.”

With more than a third of the state voting on legalizing marijuana this fall, it seems increasingly likely that will happen eventually in Wisconsin.

“A lot of thought has to be given in the legislation,” Abraham said. “Not just from the standpoint of, ‘OK, let’s just tax this and everyone’s going to have all kinds of money,’
which has turned out, in Colorado, to be a bunch of bologna.”

In Colorado last year, legal marijuana generated $247 million from taxes, licenses and fees. That was up from $193 million in 2016.

Abraham is a little surprised La Crosse County jumped onto the legalization bandwagon.

“I find some of the irony in the fact that the La Crosse County Health Dept. has been very proactive in pushing the negative aspects of marijuana,” Abraham said.

The county board approved the marijuana referendum Thursday. La Crosse County joins Milwaukee, Dane, Brown, Rock and Sauk counties with similar measures on the ballot this fall.

 

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