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Menominee Tribe Marijuana Referendum Won’t Have Support From Duffy, Johnson

Republican Congressman, Senator Raised Concerns About Proposal

Danielle Kaeding/WPR

Wisconsin’s Republican U.S. senator and a GOP congressman from the northern part of the state said they oppose all or part of a Native American tribal referendum that would legalize marijuana.

The Menominee Tribe votes on Wednesday and Thursday on whether to legalize marijuana for medical and or recreational purposes.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson appeared at the meeting with U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy. When asked about the upcoming vote at a town hall meeting in Wausau, Johnson said he had no problem with marijuana that gets Food and Drug Administration approval for medicinal use.

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“First of all, I have no problem with FDA-approved use of cannabis, because it’s like any other medicine,” he said.

However, Johnson said he opposes recreational use anywhere in Wisconsin.

“I just met with the (Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association), and they’re in communication with the police chiefs in Colorado. And they’re being warned, ‘Do not support this,’” he said. “This is a growing disaster.”

Duffy is condemning the upcoming marijuana referendum. The congressman noted that many employers now require applicants to take drug tests.

“If you look at the unemployment on the reservations, they’re higher than in other parts of the state,” he said. “So, if you want to incentivize people to get out of the unemployment phase and get to the employment phase, if you allow recreational marijuana, you’re going in the wrong direction.”

Duffy also called for strict enforcement of federal laws against the drug.

“It’s a problem when we have people who say, ‘I’m not going to enforce law, I’m going to pick and choose which ones work for me and which ones don’t.’ This is crazy stuff,” he said.

About 9,000 tribal members will be able to cast ballots on legalizing marijuana for medical and or recreational use.