An overwhelming majority of residents in Dane County, WI (home of Madison, the state’s capitol and the University of Wisconsin) voted to express their desire for the state’s politicians to legalize cannabis in the state on Tuesday.
Though the referendum is not binding and, unlike the measures passed by voters in Washington and Colorado, does not have the force of law, the measure does reflect the broad-based and active support of the voters in Dane County for legalizing cannabis for recreational use by adults who are, by the measure, demanding that state, county and local politicians do their putative jobs; “represent” and “legislate”.
The voting in the referendum revealed some surprises. In some Dane County towns that overwhelmingly voted to retain republican governor Scott Walker, voters voiced their strong support for legalizing cannabis – indicating that even in areas that are republican strongholds and where conservatives live, support for the notion of ending prohibition, re-evaluating efficacy of the so-called ‘war on drugs’ and consideration of the benefits of the taxation of legalized cannabis are commonly held oppinions of both conservative and liberal Wisconsin voters.
And, while some republican strongholds did not vote their support for the referendum signifying somewhat of a partisan divide on the the issue, the significant support for the referendum in traditional democratic locales in Dane County should embolden timorous democratic politicians to step from the shadows and join the majority of Americans who now are calling for the end of cannabis prohibition and acknowledging their awareness that cannabis is an important medical substance.