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Racine County one step closer to marijuana referendum

Posted: 10:20 PM, Aug 07, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-08 14:44:53Z

Racine County is one step closer to asking voters in November whether they believe marijuana should be legalized.

The Racine County Governmental Services Committee unanimously passed the marijuana referendum to a full county board vote at the end of the month. 

By no means would this referendum have the opportunity to legalize marijuana in Racine County. It would simply gauge public opinion. 

Around 20 residents shared personal stories Tuesday night about how the legalization of marijuana could benefit their lives or people they love. However, one man who brought a prop garnered the loudest applause. 

“That’s 11,315 pills a year I was taking,” said Brian Seamonson as he laid a large bag on the table. “I literally lived my life for five years in an opiate induced, pharmaceutical, suicidal haze.” 

Seamonson said he was prescribed a number of opiates to cope with the loss of his 2-year-old son. 

“These things destroyed my life, They led me to a heroin addiction from 2016 to 2017,” he said. 

After being hospitalized last year, Seamonson said he saw a post about the benefits of cannabis for his symptoms. He’s been using marijuana three times a day since.  

“I have no depression, I can control my back pain, anxiety…. it’s literally saved my life,” he said. 

He spoke in front of county leaders Tuesday night to put three questions on the November ballot, similar to Milwaukee, Brown, Dane, La Crosse, Rock and Sauk counties.

The questions would ask voters if they support marijuana legalization for medicinal purposes, recreational purposes and whether it should be taxed to support local and state government.  

“This carries the weight of a feather,” Mordecai Lee said about the proposed referendum.  

Lee is a political expert for UW-Milwaukee. 

“A city or a county cannot transcend state law,” he said. State laws are what count.” 

Lee is skeptical Wisconsin could join the ‘green wave’ anytime soon. 

“You’d have to have a Democratic assembly, a democratic senate and a Democratic governor and even then it’s not guaranteed,” he said.

The Racine County Board is expected to vote on the referendum at the end of the month.