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La Crosse County voters back marijuana legalization

La Crosse County voters back marijuana legalization

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La Crosse County voters proved to be at least a little high on the idea of legalizing marijuana, based on results from Tuesday’s polling.

With all 55 precincts reporting, the vote was 35,843 to 20,791 (63 percent to 37 percent) in favor of legalization in a countywide advisory referendum.

More than half of Wisconsin voters saw a marijuana legalization question of some sort on their ballots.

In addition to La Crosse County, full legalization of marijuana was on the ballots in Milwaukee, Dane, Racine and Rock counties, and 10 other counties had ballot measures asking about legalizing it for medical use.

In Dane, Milwaukee and Rock counties, the support was even stronger for marijuana legalization. In referendum questions like La Crosse County's asking about making marijuana for recreational and medical uses, 76 percent voted in favor in Dane County and 70 percent in Milwaukee and Rock counties.

The Pew Research Center reported in October that 62 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, roughly double the percentage that supported it in a similar survey in 2000. The Survey showed support was strong among younger Americans, with 74 percent support among millenials compared with 54 percent among baby boomers.

For La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke, most of the arguments against making marijuana legal for recreational use also could make a case for making alcohol illegal. There’s a cost to society of making something illegal, he said, saying it would be worth studying pot legalization.

“I’m in favor of at least looking into it,” Gruenke said.

Outgoing Sheriff Steve Helgeson opposes legalization, largely out of concern it would mean having more impaired drivers on the road.

La Crosse County marijuana question: Should Wisconsin legalize the use of marijuana by adults 21 or older?

55 of 55 precincts Votes Percent
Yes 35,843 63.3
No 20,791 36.7
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