Pubdate: Thu, 15 Jan 2015
Source: New Richmond News
Contact: 715-246-7117
Copyright: New Richmond News and Forum Communications Company
Author: Gary Storck


To the Editor:

Your recent editorial, "Our View: Not everyone is on board with 
marijuana enforcement," raises some very valid points.

When President Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs in 1970, 
marijuana prohibition was a new thing. But 45 years later it has 
become an industry. We have become so conditioned to the negative 
indoctrination of almost five decades of anti-pot propaganda that we 
often blindly accept it.

In 1997 President Bill Clinton, responding to the legalization of 
medical cannabis in California, commissioned the Institute of 
Medicine Report on medical cannabis. This federal report was released 
in March 1999, and although heavily politicized, still acknowledged 
that cannabis had great medical value. It also debunked the so-called 
"gateway theory."

That law enforcement continues to frequently cite that discredited 
theory today as a St. Croix County Sheriff was quoted in the article, 
is evidence of how deep it runs.

In 2009, when Democrats controlled the state legislature, a public 
hearing was held on medical cannabis legislation. According to open 
records requests, when an attempt was made to secure unanimous 
opposition to the legislation by all state district attorneys, 
several instead spoke in favor in an email discussion.

One district attorney wrote, "My understanding is that this 
legislation would actually provide a relief to law enforcement and 
lessens prosecution caseloads for possession charges. Why is this 
bad? Shouldn't we be excited to have resources freed up to focus on 
more serious matters such as violent crime or drunk driving?"

An asst. D.A. opined, "How is enforcement of legal medical marijuana 
any different and different than enforcing prescription drugs?"

"Look at the carnage I deal with on a daily basis due to alcohol," 
wrote another district attorney. "And you can't understand why I am 
mystified as to the vehemence of objection to the very notion of a 
medical use for THC."

In 1975, the state of Wisconsin held a series of hearings on pot laws 
at eight locations across the state from Superior to Milwaukee. The 
result was the overwhelming majority favored full legalization with 
decriminalization coming in second. This was back at a time when 
there was little talk of medical use but there was not yet the 
saturation of anti-pot propaganda we see so ingrained today.

Unfortunately the panel's mandate was never carried out. Every 
attempt at statewide decriminalization in the legislature has failed 
so not only is there a patchwork of laws nationally but also across Wisconsin.

Perhaps it's time to go back to the people and reprise the 1975 
hearings. Wisconsin does not exist in a bubble and the cannabis 
plant, once a source of so much income to Wisconsin as industrial 
hemp, offers a lot of hope as a job and business creators on a much 
greater scale today.

(Gary Storck of Madison, co-founder of Is My Medicine Legal YET? 
( He is also the cofounder and former president of the 
Madison & Wisconsin chapters of the National Organization for 
Marijuana Laws (NORML), Advisory Board Member of Patients Out of Time 
( and a longtime advocate for cannabis law reform.)
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