Gary Storck of Madison has been waiting a long time for his medicine to be legalized; he knows he has some waiting yet to do.
But Storck, the president of Wisconsin NORML and a member of Is My Medicine Legal Yet?, is hopeful that Dane County voters will on Nov. 2 help his cause along. On the ballot here is an advisory referendum asking if state lawmakers should "enact legislation allowing residents with debilitating medical conditions to acquire and possess marijuana for medical purposes if supported by their physician." (For more information, see here.)
The referendum will appear only in Dane County and the city of River Falls, despite efforts to get it on ballots throughout the state. ("We got a late start and didn't have the organization we [needed]," says Storck.) But in Dane County, the July 15 measure passed the County Board unanimously, on a voice vote.
"That was incredibly surprising," says Storck, who expected at least a few no votes. Instead, those speaking in favor of passage included conservative Supv. Kurt Schlicht, a GOP candidate for state Senate. Schlicht, who's running against state Sen. Jon Erpenbach (another supporter of medical marijuana), noted that marijuana eased his own mother's suffering as pancreatic cancer claimed her life.
Storck, the author of an Isthmus opinion piece on the Legislature's failure to pass a medical marijuana bill, notes that Dane "is a large county that includes at least parts of 10 Assembly and four Senate districts." Passage of the referendum "will show that this is something people want and make it more difficult to oppose."
He's especially interested in the vote totals from the Dane County wards of state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald, a GOP foe of medical marijuana. "I bet that the referendum gets more votes [in these wards] than he does."