Pubdate: Tue, 25 Jun 2002
Source: Reporter, The (Fond du Lac, WI)
Copyright: 2002 Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers
Author: Lee Reinsch, Of The Reporter Staff


Support for reformed marijuana legislation comes from an unexpected source 
- - a gubernatorial candidate running as a Libertarian.

Ed Thompson is brother of U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary and 
former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Ed Thompson, says he's in favor of legalizing medical marijuana and 
decriminalizing marijuana violations altogether.

The City of Madison already has an ordinance (Ordinance 23.20) legalizing 
personal use of marijuana on private property and marijuana for medical 

Thompson, who formerly served as mayor of Tomah, said the nation wastes too 
much money, time and resources dealing with minor drug offenses.

"The biggest cost to any city is the police department, and we have so many 
other things to be concerned about," Thompson said.

He said the war on drugs can't be won.

"The more stringent you make the laws, the more profit will be in it," he 
said, pointing out that from what he's heard, street drugs have gone down 
in price, a sign that drugs are more plentiful than ever before.

He pointed out Wisconsin is $1 billion in debt and the Department of 
Corrections costs $1 billion each year.

"It's a plain cost thing," he said. "I think our police would be far better 
used in sniffing out terrorists and bombs than sniffing out marijuana. To 
me it is a tremendous waste of our resources."

Thompson, who owns a bar and supper club in the Tomah area, says he doesn't 
advocate using any kind of drug.

"I've never felt better since I quit drinking and smoking," he said, "but 
that doesn't mean I should shut my supper club down. Nobody wants a drunk 
on the road, and least of all, a bar club owner."

He pointed out that some over-the-counter medicines that are legal, such as 
cough syrups and allergy medications, can also interfere with a person's 
ability to drive safely.

"There are many, many drugs that certainly give you a false sense of 
security," he said, adding that a person who really wants to get high or 
drunk will go to the extremes of drinking mouthwash.

He said he believes marijuana used by responsible adults in their own homes 
should not be illegal.

"I know people that use it (marijuana) and I know that they are not harmful 
people," he said. "What people ingest in the privacy of their own homes is 
their business."
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MAP posted-by: Keith Brilhart