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Marathon County Board approves medical marijuana referendum

in Breaking News/News

WAUSAU — Voters in Marathon County will have their voices heard on whether medical marijuana should be legal in Wisconsin, after a nonbinding referendum for the November election ballot was approved by county leaders.

The Marathon County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved adding the language to the ballot by a vote of 19-15. Individual vote tallies were not immediately available Tuesday evening.

The referendum question will read, “Should the State of Wisconsin allow individuals with debilitating medical conditions to use and safely access marijuana for medical purposes, if those individuals have a written recommendation from a licensed Wisconsin physician?”

Voters can choose yes or no, but there is no guarantee lawmakers will make future decisions based on public opinion.

Advocates say medical marijuana is a valid treatment for chronic pain and other debilitating conditions, while critics caution that marijuana is still a drug that could possibly lead to using and abusing other substances.

Similar advisory referendum language is being added to the ballot in multiple Wisconsin counties.

Meanwhile, Kronenwetter village board members on Tuesday discussed potentially legalizing cannabis oil, but voted 4-3 to send the issue to the community life and public safety committee for more discussion.

The medical marijuana issue prompted more letters to the editor on Wausau Pilot and Review and more public commentary on social media than any other subject since this publication launched in March 2017.

The county’s health and human services committee on June 25 approved allowing the referendum to move forward to gauge public opinion and send a message to lawmakers in Madison about the issue. And a public hearing July 19 drew a packed gallery, with nine people speaking publicly.

The fall general election is Nov. 6.

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