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La Crosse County could try another marijuana referendum this fall



Marijuana use is being debated again by the La Crosse County Board.

Back in 2018, a county referendum on the idea of legalizing marijuana was approved by 63 percent of voters. Across the state, 16 counties had marijuana legalization on the ballot and all 16 passed — most with overwhelming majorities.

The La Crosse County Board has until the end of August to schedule a referendum for November. The resolution is being debated at 8 a.m. Wednesday by the county executive committee, and could go before the full board at its next meeting July 21.

Several Wisconsin counties are planning referendums again this fall to get the issue before the state legislature, which has done next to nothing in terms of legalization.

La Crosse County Board chair Monica Kruse said the selling points this time would include economic benefit, along with arguments that keeping weed illegal doesn’t work well.

“The whole idea that criminalization of marijuana hasn’t worked, it’s filled up our prisons, it has cost the state a lot of money,” Kruse said.

She added that Wisconsin could get a billion dollars in new revenue over a five-year period, if marijuana became legal in the state, to compete with neighboring states. Michigan and Illinois have legalized marijuana recreationally, as has Canada. Minnesota just passed legalization for certain THC edibles, and also has legalized marijuana medically.

In 2020, the La Crosse city council established a $1 fine for possessing up to 25 grams of weed, over objections from local police.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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  1. R head

    July 13, 2022 at 8:29 am

    Why not maybe Mitch and the city leaders smoke a joint maybe they could get something right. Then the could make meth, crack and coke next. What a great idea!

    • Brian Kelly

      July 13, 2022 at 9:25 am

      In Reply to R Head and his comment,

      Anybody who can’t distinguish between legalizing relatively benign cannabis and legalizing “meth, crack, and coke” desperately needs a very serious reality check! Lol Just saying…*yawns*

      Let’s not intentionally try to alarm and worry the public about legalizing “all drugs” right now.

      Because that concept is often used as a scare-tactic by prohibitionists in an attempt to frighten the public away from marijuana legalization by clumping cannabis legalization in with the legalization of other drugs which typically the public finds far more scary and dangerous than relatively benign, often healing cannabis .

      Cannabis a is just about the safest drug out there. Legal or not, and much less dangerous than perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised, often glorified alcohol consumption.

      Which makes cannabis legalization unique, and certainly a much different, and far more urgent matter than the legalization of “all drugs” right now.

      Let’s not lose focus on the real issue at hand here. Cannabis , the only currently illegal recreational drug that is much safer than perfectly legal alcohol.

      Legalize Cannabis Federally Nationwide Now!

  2. Brian Kelly

    July 13, 2022 at 9:27 am

    Cannabis consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Nationwide Federally Now!

    Fear of Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Cannabis Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

    Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of cannabis legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

    The prohibition of cannabis has not decreased the supply nor the demand for cannabis at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

    If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

    Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize cannabis when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

    Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Cannabis Laws.

  3. nick

    July 13, 2022 at 4:45 pm

    I am always amazed at the outlandish claims of how much revenue will be generated. In addition, the health aspects of smoking marijuana is never discussed. A tremendous effort is made to get rid of smoking tobacco products while everyone wants a product that will impair health legalized.
    The hypocrisy is palpable.

    • Robert Lambeau

      August 22, 2022 at 12:14 pm

      I find it absolutely pathetic that a reason to not hold a referendum is because it might bring people to the polls. One, that goes against what democracy should provide and two, it shows complete laziness on behalf of those opposed to it.

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