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Superior voters to weigh in on legal marijuana

The city council adopted language for an advisory referendum to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

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SUPERIOR — Are Superior residents in favor of legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin? The answer will be decided in November when voters head to the polls.

The Superior City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 16, unanimously approved an advisory referendum that asks the question: “Should marijuana be legalized for adults over the age 21, taxed and regulated like alcohol?”

Councilors amended the question and supporting resolution to define the age at which adults would be allowed to use marijuana legally. Councilor Mark Johnson, a teacher, said he wanted to make sure that the definition of adults reflected people 21 and older rather than those 18 and older.

One of the main reasons for proposing the amendment, Johnson said is that students who use marijuana are more likely to be behind in school credits, earn failing grades, and exhibit high-risk behavior, according to annual risk behavior surveys.

Councilor Brent Fennessey questioned the purpose of the non-binding referendum, which would only gauge public opinion.

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“This was initially brought to leadership’s attention through a group called Wisconsin Justice Initiative,” council Vice President Nicholas Ledin said. other counties and municipalities in Wisconsin will be sponsoring similar referendums to gauge public opinion.

Ledin and Councilor Lindsey Graskey proposed putting the question to the voters.

“We wanted to localize this a little bit, too,” Graskey said. “It’s really putting the decision for the people, and I think it’s important for local people to have a say in this … it’s nice for this area of the state to be at the table.”

Gov. Tony Evers had proposed legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin as part of his last budget, but the measure was stripped from the budget bill by the state Legislature.

The referendum doesn’t bind the Legislature to act to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin. However, it does allow legislators to gauge public opinion.

The measure will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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