Sixty-nine percent of Rock County voters said Tuesday they supported legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Wisconsin.
It was an overwhelming passage for what has been billed as the marijuana advisory referendum. The results showed that county voters resoundingly support legalizing and taxing marijuana like alcohol.
Rock County’s vote almost identically mirrors the results on a similarly worded advisory referendum in Milwaukee County, which passed by about 70 percent. In Racine County, about 59 percent of voters said recreational marijuana should be legal, while 85 percent said medicinal marijuana should be legal.
Sixty-eight percent of voters in the city of Racine also said recreational marijuana should be legal.
Rock County Board member Yuri Rashkin in June introduced the resolution calling for the referendum and has led the charge for its passage. He said Tuesday night the next step is looking at “what we can do to make the will of the people the law of land.”
When asked if that means pushing the state Legislature to legalize marijuana, Rashkin responded confidently, “Yes.”
He said it could also involve looking at how local ordinances can be changed to match the outcome of Tuesday’s results.
“I think that this is where we need to continue to apply pressure to our elected officials,” Rashkin said. “There’s a certain feeling of validation, and it feels great. … Validation that this is something I felt people believed, and (69) percent of people apparently agree.”
Because the measure was advisory, the results will hold no bearing on law. But advocates of the referendum have consistently said the results could eventually trigger laws statewide.
The referendum was placed on the ballot after the county board passed the measure 14-12 on June 28.