Wisconsin State Journal _WI_ 1/1/1997 - 31/12/2018
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1 US WI: PUB LTE: Pot Could Solve Many State ProblemsFri, 09 Jun 2017
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Storck, Gary Area:Wisconsin Lines:47 Added:06/13/2017

Thanks for the June 2 editorial, "Possession penalties are too harsh."

While any discussion about reforming Wisconsin's draconian marijuana laws is certainly welcome, decriminalization is an old idea that still leaves out a legal source for pot.

As your editorial noted, eight states have already legalized pot for adult use. More states are currently in the process. Our neighbors Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota, which already have medical marijuana, are all exploring legalizing adult use.

Wisconsin is ready, too. The July 2016 Marquette Law School Poll found 59 percent favoring legal pot for adults. Wisconsinites also have long supported medical use by even higher margins. Yet failure to "get it done" has cost Wisconsin at lot.

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2 US WI: PUB LTE: Pot Referendum Should Be WelcomedMon, 30 Jan 2017
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Storck, Gary Area:Wisconsin Lines:33 Added:02/04/2017

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, and Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, recently introduced legislation that would place an advisory referendum on the November 2018 general election ballot asking state voters if they support legalizing medical cannabis.

In 2012, after Washington and Colorado voters passed initiatives legalizing cannabis for adult use, the Associated Press published an article looking at potential legalization in other states.

Wisconsin was included: "Republican Gov. Scott Walker said ... he's not interested in legalizing marijuana. The only way he sees it happening is if state residents approve the idea in a referendum similar to Colorado and Washington."

Walker has not weighed in on the advisory referendum proposal since it was introduced, but his 2012 comments to the AP certainly suggest he should welcome Sen. Erpenbach and Rep. Taylor's proposal to let voters decide.

Gary Storck, Madison


3 US WI: PUB LTE: Feingold Should Reveal His Thoughts OnThu, 18 Aug 2016
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Storck, Gary Area:Wisconsin Lines:42 Added:08/19/2016

Much has changed in the cannabis world since Russ Feingold lost to Ron Johnson in 2010.

Then, about 15 states had legalized medical cannabis, a number now at 25. Today, four states and Washington, D.C., have legalized adult use. This November, at least three more will vote on medical, and five more will vote on adult use.

Feingold's record has been thin. While cannabis activists extensively advocated for his support, he never sponsored any bills.

The federal CARERS Act would make it easier for researchers to study marijuana. It is sponsored by U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, and Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and has 19 cosponsors including U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison.

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4 US WI: Poll: Strong Majority Of Wisconsinites Want LegalThu, 14 Jul 2016
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Sommerhauser, Mark Area:Wisconsin Lines:47 Added:07/18/2016

A majority of Wisconsinites want marijuana to be legal and regulated like alcohol, a new poll shows.

Results were released Wednesday for the Marquette Law School Poll, a leading measure of public opinion in the Badger State.

The poll asked registered voters: "When it comes to marijuana, some people think that the drug should be fully legalized and regulated like alcohol. Do you agree or disagree with that view?"

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they agreed, while 39 percent disagreed.

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5 US WI: Call To Reduce Pot Fines RenewedFri, 01 Jul 2016
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Glaze, Jeff Area:Wisconsin Lines:82 Added:07/04/2016

A marijuana advocacy group has revived an effort to drastically reduce penalties for being caught with the drug in Monona.

Members of the Madison chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) are circulating a petition that supports reducing municipal fines for pot possession to $1 in hopes of placing a binding referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Since mid-May, the group has gathered signatures to try to force action under the state's direct legislation law after a similar ordinance change was narrowly defeated by the city's Public Safety Commission earlier this year.

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6 US WI: PUB LTE: Marquette Poll Should Ask About PotFri, 17 Jun 2016
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Storck, Gary Area:Wisconsin Lines:37 Added:06/18/2016

Another Marquette Law School poll is out. But once again, no questions about cannabis legalization were asked. One has to go all the way back to September 2014 for that.

Each time a poll is released, it gets massive media attention. The issues raised by the poll trigger public discussion and shape the state debate. By failing to include public opinions on cannabis, Marquette is stifling debate. Is that for political reasons?

Wisconsinites are not oblivious to developments in other states. Twenty-six states now have some sort of medical cannabis law, including Louisiana, where a formerly symbolic law passed in 1978 was recently amended to create a workable state medical cannabis program. Wisconsin passed a similar law in 1982. In Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State and Washington D.C., voters have legalized the adult use of cannabis, and more states will be voting on medical and adult use this November.

Here in Wisconsin the topic apparently has been declared taboo. This represents a grave disservice to state voters. Professor Charles Franklin and the Marquette Law School poll must do better if they care about their mission.

- -- Gary Storck, Madison


7 US WI: PUB LTE: Medical Cannabis Could Help Opiate CrisisFri, 22 Apr 2016
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Storck, Gary Area:Wisconsin Lines:37 Added:04/23/2016

News reports on the rapidly rising use of Narcan by Wisconsin first responders to revive people suffering opiate overdoses show the state's opiate crisis is continuing to escalate. This comes despite passage of many laws over the last two sessions intended to address this situation.

Wisconsin could address both the issue of opiate abuse and the huge need for safer pain medications by passing state medical cannabis legislation.

In Maine, where medical cannabis was legalized by voters in 1999, work has begun on adding "addiction to opiates and drugs derived from chemical synthesis" to the list of qualifying conditions that may be treated with medical cannabis.

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8 US WI: PUB LTE: No Sane Reason To Criminalize CannabisMon, 07 Mar 2016
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:White, Stan Area:Wisconsin Lines:32 Added:03/08/2016

Thursday's letter "Listen to the people about marijuana" reminds me how difficult it was for Colorado citizens to cleanse ourselves of cannabis (marijuana) prohibition.

If it weren't for the initiative process, the sky would still be falling in. Cannabis prohibitionists used every historically discredited lie, half-truth and propaganda they could muster, and then we voted. Like Colorado, the majority of Wisconsin citizens also support ending cannabis prohibition. But without the initiative process available to voters, government subsidized cannabis prohibitionists will continue ignoring citizens.

A sane or moral reason does not exist to continue punishing and caging responsible adults who use the relatively safe, extremely popular, God-given plant as described on literally the very first page of the Bible.

- -- Stan White, Dillon, Colorado


9 US WI: PUB LTE: Listen To The People About MarijuanaWed, 02 Mar 2016
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Storck, Gary Area:Wisconsin Lines:36 Added:03/03/2016

The Monona Public Safety Commission forgot two important things in its flawed vote to not reduce pot fines.

In 2010 and 2014, the Dane County Board placed cannabis-related advisory referendums on county ballots. In 2010, county voters supported legalizing medical cannabis with 76 percent of the vote. And in Monona, voters gave it an even larger edge with 78 percent in favor.

In April 2014, Dane County voted in favor of legalizing adult use of cannabis with 65 percent support. Monona again exceeded the county with 67 percent in favor.

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10 US WI: PUB LTE: Legalizing Marijuana Could Curb Heroin UseFri, 11 Sep 2015
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Storck, Gary Area:Wisconsin Lines:36 Added:09/12/2015

Considering the article in Wednesday's paper "State rep plans anti-heroin bills," if Rep. John Nygren really wants to curtail opiate abuse in Wisconsin, he should consider sponsoring legislation legalizing the medical use of marijuana.

Research recently published by the nonpartisan National Bureau of Economic Research found that states that allow patients to access medical marijuana through dispensaries have reduced rates of opioid addiction and overdose deaths.

In addition, a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that enactment of statewide medicinal cannabis laws is associated with a 24.8 percent lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rate.

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11 US WI: PUB LTE: Legalizing Drugs Might Stop MurdersTue, 13 Jan 2015
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Litweiler, Chuck Area:Wisconsin Lines:31 Added:01/15/2015

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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12 US WI: Mike Koval: Acknowledge Failure Of Marijuana LawsMon, 15 Sep 2014
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Savidge, Nico Area:Wisconsin Lines:59 Added:09/20/2014

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval came out in support of legalizing marijuana last week.

Below, you'll find some of his expanded comments from an interview with the State Journal in which he endorsed legalizing the drug and using tax revenue from its sale to support drug treatment programs.

The comments came soon after Koval said his department must enforce laws against marijuana because the state prohibits it. Asked how he would like Wisconsin to treat the drug, Koval responded:

"I would like us to see -- much like we've seen in those pioneering states (Washington and Colorado) -- a discussion of decriminalizing it, regulating it, taxing it, and then using the funds and monies generated .. (for) treatment programs, drug courts and other things that go to the core of our more substantive drug users."

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13 US WI: PUB LTE: Cannabidiol Oil Law Is FlawedThu, 19 Jun 2014
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Storck, Gary Area:Wisconsin Lines:39 Added:06/20/2014

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said legislators have done what they can and can't force doctors to prescribe cannabidiol oil. Gov. Scott Walker says it's frustrating, but he's not sure what to do.

These are not the words of leaders. All this was known before the bill was even drafted.

As a lifelong glaucoma patient, I lobbied for the Therapeutic Cannabis Research Act, which state lawmakers passed in 1982. After the act was enacted, state regulators advised me federal approval was needed.

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14 US WI: PUB LTE: War On Drugs Failed, So End It And Tax LegalFri, 09 May 2014
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Sharpe, Robert Area:Wisconsin Lines:32 Added:05/10/2014

Regarding Chris Rickert's Sunday column, "Why have two drugs to abuse?," the days when politicians can get away with confusing the drug war's tremendous collateral damage with a comparatively harmless plant are coming to an end.

If the goal is to deter use, marijuana prohibition is a catastrophic failure. The United States has almost double the rate of marijuana use as the Netherlands where marijuana is legal, according to a 2008 World Health Organization survey.

The criminalization of Americans who prefer marijuana to martinis has no basis in science. The war on marijuana consumers is a failed cultural inquisition, not an evidence-based public health campaign.

Not just in Colorado but throughout the nation, it's time to stop the pointless arrests and instead tax legal marijuana.

- -- Robert Sharpe, Washington, D.C., policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy


15 US WI: Column: Soaking Wet Wisconsin No Model ForSun, 04 May 2014
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Rickert, Chris Area:Wisconsin Lines:109 Added:05/05/2014

Legalize pot in Wisconsin? Sure, as long as it isn't sold as any more of a "medicine" than the most popular legal high (alcohol). In the area of government-sanctioned inebriation, what's fair should be fair. Besides, pot advocates have had some decent reasons for saying theirs is the safer buzz.

And then I read about a man in Colorado - where marijuana is already legal - who reportedly shot his wife after eating too much pot-laced candy. Another man ate too many marijuana-infused cookies and jumped off a hotel balcony to his death.

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16 US WI: PUB LTE: Vote 'Yes' On Marijuana Referendum April 1Wed, 19 Mar 2014
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Storck, Gary Area:Wisconsin Lines:38 Added:03/21/2014

Dane County voters have the opportunity April 1 to vote on the national debate over legalizing cannabis. Vote "yes" on Advisory Referendum 2, which asks, "Should the state government enact legislation legalizing marijuana?"

While Wisconsin has some of the worst pot laws in the Midwest, 20 states now have legalized medical cannabis. And two of those, Colorado and Washington, tax and regulate adult use. Other states are also considering legalization. Polling has found majority support for cannabis legalization in 18 states and Washington, D.C.

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17 US WI: At Issue: Medical MarijuanaMon, 11 Nov 2013
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Cullen, Sandy Area:Wisconsin Lines:96 Added:11/12/2013

A weekly feature on proposed changes to state and local law.

In a nutshell

Current law prohibits a person from possessing, manufacturing or distributing marijuana.

This bill (AB480, SB363) creates a medical use defense to marijuana-related prosecutions and fines, and prohibits the arrest or prosecution of people who are registered with the Department of Health Services (DHS) and have certain debilitating medical conditions or treatments.

People who are registered could possess 12 marijuana plants and 3 ounces of marijuana leaves or flowers. They would be prohibited from operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery or engaging in any other conduct that endangers the health or well being of another person while under the influence of marijuana.

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18 US WI: PUB LTE: Medical Marijuana Laws Should Include Home CultivationWed, 07 Aug 2013
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Storck, Gary Area:Wisconsin Lines:38 Added:08/08/2013

Thanks for Monday's editorial, "Let them smoke pot -- for medicine." In discussing Illinois' new law, you stated the rules that regulate how much, when and how users can obtain medical cannabis are "about right."

But a major flaw is the failure to include home cultivation. The people this bill is intended to help must wait until an expensive and complex production and distribution system is created. Allowing patients or caregivers to grow their own plants means immediate treatment.

Home cultivation is allowed in most of the states cited in your editorial. And judging by the experiences of other states such as New Jersey, which claims to have the toughest law yet, it may take years to set up dispensaries. New Jersey has only one dispensary, and the bill was passed in 2010.

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19 US WI: Editorial: Let Them Smoke Pot -- For Medical UseMon, 05 Aug 2013
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI)          Area:Wisconsin Lines:64 Added:08/07/2013

In general, we're not keen on looking to Illinois for leadership and direction on, well, almost anything.

But Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn did the right thing last week when he signed into law a bill that approves medical marijuana for Illinois residents, making our neighbor to the south the 20th state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize pot for medical purposes.

Wisconsin should step up and do the same, an act that would give our residents who suffer from many debilitating conditions the same relief that is available now in nearly half the country.

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20 US WI: PUB LTE: Combat Synthetic Marijuana by LegalizingThu, 11 Jul 2013
Source:Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author:Sharpe, Robert Area:Wisconsin Lines:39 Added:07/11/2013

Dear Editor: Regarding Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's July 6 column, the use of so-called synthetic marijuana is an unintended side effect of the war on natural marijuana. Consumers are turning to potentially toxic drugs made in China and sold as research chemicals before being repackaged as legal incense. Expanding the drug war will only add to the highest incarceration rate in the world. Chinese chemists will tweak formulas to stay one step ahead of the law and two steps ahead of the drug tests. New versions won't be any safer. Misguided efforts to protect children from drugs are putting children at risk.

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