Tuesday, April 5 Ashland voters will be asked to vote on marijuana legalization. The spring election also has city council elections, and the mayoral election, but marijuana legalization is getting the buzz.

According to our news partners at WDIO, Ashland City Councilor Eric Lindell helped get the question on the ballot. There are three different voting options for voters.

  1. Support legalized marijuana for people over age 21 (recreational)
  2. Support medicinal marijuana legalization.
  3. No support for any legalization.

The actual language on the ballot is more specific, pointing to taxation and regulation of cannabis just like alcohol.

But, what happens if recreational or medicinal cannabis is passed in the city?  It's an advisory question that is meant to see how the residents feel about the issue. If it were to pass, they'll use it as a message to Wisconsin lawmakers.

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Wisconsin is one of the few states remaining that currently don't have any type of legalized cannabis (marijuana). They have some of the harshest penalties as well. Your first offense of possessing marijuana can lead up to 6 months of incarceration. A second offense is considered a felony and has a max penalty of 3.5 years in prison.

Many cities in the state of Wisconsin have independently decriminalized marijuana. Superior, Wisconsin's city council voted to decriminalize marijuana in 2018 for small amounts.

The Badger Herald reports that 61% of Wisconsin Residents approve of the legalization. There have been multiple efforts by lawmakers to move forward with legalization. The most recent is underway now.

Federally, the House of Representatives passed a bill to federally decriminalize marijuana, which is the first type of this bill to make it this far. However, it's not expected to pass in the Senate. House Speaker Nacy Pelosi praised the legislation in her weekly press conference.

Speaker Pelosi Speaks During Weekly News Conference
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Wisconsin's neighbors in every direction have some degree of legalized cannabis. In Minnesota, medicinal cannabis is legalized and regulated. In both Illinois and Michigan, recreational cannabis is legal.  The nearest recreational dispensary to Ashland is now just a short drive away in Ironwood, Michigan. I spoke with the employees at Higher Love Dispensary in Ironwood and business has been incredibly busy. While it is legal in Michigan to buy recreational marijuana from out of state, it is not legal in Wisconsin to have it in your possession once you cross the border. Still, it is obvious that in many cases in both Illinois and Wisconsin that many people take that risk.

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We will have to see what the results come from the Ashland vote on Tuesday, April 5.

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