Public, religious groups, law enforcement coalition support ending
H.L. Mencken defined Puritanism as, "The haunting fear that someone,
somewhere, may be happy." We may think that is something from the
distant past but then we are reminded of it from time to time, even in
21st century Wisconsin.
Legislation which would end the prohibition of the use of cannabis
(a.k.a. marijuana) has been introduced in the Wisconsin Assembly. What
has taken them so long to reform prohibition is a mystery. So far, 23
states and the District of Columbia permit the use of this herb with a
doctor's prescription for medical use. A few states are treating
cannabis more like alcohol.
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A 62-year-old Milwaukee man caught smoking marijuana in his federally
subsidized apartment is not entitled to a second chance at keeping
his home, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held Thursday.
In a 6-1 decision, the court agreed that a federal law preempts
Wisconsin's five-day notice rule in evictions over criminal drug
activity, and reversed a Court of Appeals ruling in favor of the
tenant, Felton Cobb.
Cobb argued that he was entitled to promise not to smoke in the
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Cannabidiol Rule, Federal Memo Raise Questions
In 1991, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the
creation of the Wisconsin lottery meant Indian tribes here could open
gaming halls on their reservations - a ruling that paved the way for
the explosive growth of tribal casinos in the state.
Today, some tribal leaders are betting that legal lightning could
strike again. This time they're hoping that lawmakers may have
unintentionally opened the door for tribes to grow and sell marijuana
last year when Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill legalizing a
derivative of marijuana for limited medical use.
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Menominee Legislator Says Research Must Be Done First
Now that the Menominee tribe's dream of opening a Kenosha casino has
gone up in smoke, the tribe is looking for a new way to raise cash -
Craig Corn, a tribal legislator, opened the door Friday to growing
marijuana on the reservation near Shawano. In a tweet Corn sent out
Friday, the former tribal chairman said: "Now we embark on a new
economic endeavor, it is time to progress forward. We are gonna fast
track a effort to legalize Marijuana."
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Panel Delays Action on Ordinance
A proposed ordinance that would all but eliminate fines for
possessing a small amount of marijuana in Milwaukee sparked a debate
Thursday about racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
Study after study has shown that marijuana use among all ethnic
groups is the same, Molly Collins, associate director of the American
Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, told members of the Common
Council's Safety Committee.
"In Milwaukee County," she testified, "African-American people are
4.9 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession and in
the city of Milwaukee, it's about 5.48 times more likely."
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The illegal drug market causes damage in many developing nations, but
there are two countries with major drug booms: Afghanistan and Myanmar.
Both countries have a long history of being ravaged by endless
conflicts. Amid great confusion, the opium market has bloomed. In
Afghanistan, many farmers carry massive debts from the drug traffickers
after receiving their help during the start-up period. Unfortunately,
most end up never being able to pay the money back as government raids
often destroy the crops that were promised to the drug dealers as
payment. If such unplanned obstacles appear, many farmers are trapped
between two extreme solutions. They either give up their family to the
drug dealers for collateral, or they have to flee their land. Both
options are very dangerous, and many find themselves taken as hostages
or killed. The government intervention of directly destroying the opium
fields has turned out to be highly ineffective-farmers encounter
desperate troubles that can only be solved through extreme means. The
illegal drugs also help give power to militant groups such as the
Taliban. They control the opium market and continue to strengthen from
its profit. While the fields are getting destroyed, there are new fields
created to make up the loss and the efforts of the government only
victimize the poor. Therefore, the Afghan government is being
ineffective in solving the problem.
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It should apply to everyone who receives taxpayer funding.
The governor has proposed that people receiving state-funded
benefits, such as FoodShare and W-2, be tested for illegal drug use.
But why limit this service to just these people? How about the
corporate CEOs and boards that benefited from those financial
"incentives" doled out by the Wisconsin Economic Development Council?
These were taxpayer-funded, too.
If the governor doesn't want to chance "wasting" state money by
supporting drug use by the poor, let's have him be fair and start
scheduling urinalyses for the economic spectrum's upper end, also.
We are a deeply punitive society. One misstep, one act of poor
judgment, one stroke of bad luck or fate, and you could be marked for
life, a pariah, someone with whom the rest of us "good people" want
nothing to do.
Drug users are a prime example of this sad philosophy. The most
recent manifestation of our collective attitude of non-forgiveness
comes courtesy of Gov. Scott Walker's expected budget proposal to
require drug tests for all FoodShare and BadgerCare applicants, as
well as certain recipients of unemployment benefits.
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La Crosse County leaders fighting the local heroin epidemic credit a
life-saving drug with eliminating fatal overdoses.
No heroin users died in 2014, thanks in large part to the availability
and skyrocketing use of Narcan, the antidote for an opiate overdose.
Two people died in 2013 and five in 2012 of accidental heroin
overdoses, La Crosse County Medical Examiner Tim Candahl said.
Nationally, heroin deaths surged 39 percent in 2013 in 8,260,
according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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If any journalist needs to stick to the facts, the "dean of the state
Capitol correspondents," Matt Pommer, has a special need to be accurate.
But accuracy was sorely lacking in his recent opinion piece,
"Community policing under fire in Madison."
Pommer notes that the Dane County Board rejected a federal grant, the
"Cannabis Enforcement And Suppression Effort" (CEASE), but goes on to
wrongly state "the grant provides money to fight heroin, other drugs
and gun traffic."
Not true. The $5000 federal grant was solely for cannabis
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BLACK RIVER FALLS - Authorities and community members are becoming
increasingly concerned about the prevalence of heroin use and dealing
in Jackson County.
Use of the highly addictive opiate is rising, based on drug
investigations, arrests and other information provided to law
enforcement, and its impact in local communities continues to expand,
local authorities say.
"Overall, I believe that heroin is having an effect in Jackson County
because it is not just about recreational drug use. It is about a
drug that many times takes lives because people buying and using the
heroin don't know exactly what they are putting into their body,"
Jackson County Sheriff's Department Capt. Tim Nichols said.
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When we learn of the accidental murder of a baby by shooters intending
to hit a rival drug dealer two doors away, it's time to think about what
might be done to stop such madness.
Because one-issue gun advocates are willing to spend unlimited money
to sway an election, we cannot regulate possession of firearms or
ammunition. It may be time to carefully consider whether we can tamp
down the greed that propels this violence. That means examining
whether legalizing drugs would result in fewer deaths.
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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
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Dear Editor: Republicans had a great election Nov. 4, but so did
Florida's Amendment 2, which would have legalized medical cannabis,
drew 57.6 percent of the vote, a little short of the required 60
percent. Despite falling short, it still drew a half million more
votes than Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
Alaska's Measure 2, legalizing adult use of cannabis, won with 52.15
percent, just a shade less than Scott Walker's 52.29 percent in Wisconsin.
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In a governor's race full of twists and turns, it has now come to this:
A national conservative group - a Super PAC supported by the Koch
brothers in the past - is lighting up social media with nine
light-hearted ads promoting the Libertarian candidate for governor,
Robert Burke, because he wants to legalize marijuana.
The videos almost immediately stoked concerns within Democratic
gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke's camp that this was a cynical
Republican ploy meant to peel off young voters or confuse people.
Five of the nine marijuana ads attack Mary Burke, who is opposing GOP
Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday.
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A Madison couple investigated for possessing marijuana and drug
paraphernalia in Baraboo will not be charged with a crime for
possessing the controlled substance.
The Baraboo Police Department and City Attorney Mark Reitz declined to
prosecute the offenses and found the couple provided authorities with
valid Wisconsin medical marijuana prescriptions.
While investigating a complaint about a dog left in the vehicle of
Greg and Karen Kinsley on Sept. 13 at the Sauk County Fairgrounds,
Baraboo Police Sgt. Mark Lee and Det. Jeremy Drexler spotted a
marijuana pipe through the car window. The officers confiscated it
along with a small amount of marijuana after resolving the pet issue.
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My name is Robert Burke and I am a Libertarian running for governor of
Wisconsin. Our state and nation are at an inflection point of change,
both social and economic, unrivaled in history. Wisconsin will need a
leader for a 21st century economy, and I would like to share my vision
for one small part. It's time for legalization of marijuana, and I'd
like to share why.
In my youth, I worked as a certified nursing assistant in both a
nursing home and a hospital. Our CNA's care in very intimate ways for
the most vulnerable of our society. I remember caring for a doctor's
wife with Alzheimer's. I remember meeting my first patient with
Multiple Sclerosis and learning how it shuts down and wastes away the
body. I remember meeting my 3-month-old niece as she had seizures
every few minutes. I remember breaking down in tears in the hospital
linen closet after floating to the Oncology department and meeting a
mother and her children as she fought cervical cancer.
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New Law Would Only Make People More Desperate, Leading to More Crime
If re-elected Gov. Scott Walker will push for legislation requiring
mandatory drug testing for unemployment and SNAP benefits.
It's a cognitive dissonance at best and a willful evil at worst to
attempt to force social responsibility and morality through a socially
irresponsible and immoral tactic.
This wholesale denial of benefits to people belies the complexities
inherent in drug use and addiction, ranging from socioeconomic and
environmental factors to issues of mental health and genetic
propensity for addictive tendencies -- notwithstanding that those who
receive unemployment benefits do so because they have paid into that
system, as any other employed person has.
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Dear Editor: Despite popular support, medical cannabis has had a rough
time gaining traction at the Capitol. Early in 2014, both houses
unanimously passed a hastily and poorly drafted restrictive medical
marijuana bill that required federal approval to use an extract
containing only cannabidiol, one of the 60-plus cannabinoids in
whole-plant cannabis. Not one patient has gained access under the new
After this debacle, state medical marijuana advocates came together to
find a new way. A grass-roots campaign was created and raised $7,500
for a billboard to call out opponents and create more public awareness
and support for passing comprehensive legislation like the Jacki
Rickert Medical Cannabis Act.
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Citing a history of inefficient enforcement and racial disparities,
Madison Police Chief Mike Koval said he supports the idea of
As some serious drug issues are rising in Madison, such as a surge in
heroin-related crimes, Koval said he would rather see his force's
energy go toward solving those rather than continuing to pursue
controlling marijuana crimes.
"Frankly, I've reached that threshold in my professional career, where
I realize that the enforcement efforts have proven largely
unsuccessful," Koval said. "It just didn't work. It wasn't effective."
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