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Law Enforcement Committee approves prohibiting marijuana establishments in Lafayette County
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DARLINGTON – It came to the attention of Law Enforcement Committee Chairman Gerald Heimann before their meeting on Aug. 14, that the ordinance they tried to pass onto the county board at their July 16 meeting about prohibiting marijuana establishments in Lafayette County could not be done without the approval of the committee.

In the Rules of the Lafayette County Board, rule number five states, “Every committee introducing a written resolution shall endorse the same [resolution] with the names of all committee members.”

Heimann said, “It can’t be passed onto the county board without the committee’s endorsement. I made that mistake and I apologize to everyone here.”

Committee member John Bartels asked for clarification on the ordinance.

Sheriff Reg Gill answered, “If the state approves medical marijuana or completely legalizes it, the ordinance doesn’t mean they can’t have it here, it just means they can’t buy it here. No one can have a shop here. There is nothing that says you can’t buy it in Monroe or elsewhere outside the county but can’t buy it within the county.”

Bartels stated he received a letter from a constituent that has several medical issues and is upset that the county is not allowing people to buy marijuana in the county, if the state of Wisconsin makes it legal.

“Medical marijuana is fine if it is prescribed. Recreational marijuana is out, in my mind. I haven’t changed my mind on the situation and never will,” Bartels commented.

Committee member Andy Schilling agreed with Bartels.

“We are getting the car ahead of the horse here,” Steve Spensley chimed in. “We already issued 78 or 87 permits to grow it in our county.”

Gill immediately explained Spensley’s mistake. “No we have not. That is hemp. That is a different product. This ordinance is for marijuana and not for hemp or CBD.”

The ordinance reads that it is illegal to sell anything with a THC content over .3%, which is the legal limit for hemp.

Bartels added that CBD is made from hemp and hemp is not a drug.

“Why do we want to lock this thing down before the state allows it?” Spensley asked. “Why don’t we take it to referendum and see what the public has to say about it? What is our hurry? Why should this committee sit here and make a decision on the whole county on this thing?”

“We are not making the decision for the county. We are making the decision whether or not it goes to the county board for them to make that decision. The only way it goes to the county board is if the committee endorses it,” Gill clarified.

Schilling made the motion to approve the ordinance Prohibiting Marijuana Establishments in Lafayette County with Bartels seconding. The motion passed.

After it passed, Spensley stated, “The ordinance prohibiting marijuana establishments is a pretty broad statement and people don’t understand what you are trying to say there. If you explain it to everyone in lay terms what you want to get done, it might be a little easier. Some of us don’t even know.”

Sheriff Gill also presented a resolution that stated the Opposition of the Legalization of Marijuana in the State of Wisconsin.

“This resolution says that the Lafayette County Board is not in support of legalizing marijuana in the state of Wisconsin. This has nothing to do with actual legalization or the ordinance. It is just a letter of recommendation to the elected officials that the Board of Lafayette County is not in favor of legalization. The County Board then decides if they want to support the letter and send it on to the officials.”

Schilling again made the motion to accept the resolution with Bartels seconding. The motion passed.

Jail Assessment

The jail assessment has been completed. Sheriff Gill stated the sheriff’s department needed to read over it to ensure it has all the information the sheriff’s department needs then it will go to the committee. It did state three options for the county to consider. The three options are adding a second floor to the current jail, adding a two-story addition adjacent to the jail, in the parking lot or building a new