As printed in the Waushara Arugs Newspapers, Published by Wautoma Newspapers, Inc. Wautoma Wisconsin.
Wednesday, October 6th, 2010. Volume 151 No 40
Link to Waushara Argus Website: http://www.wausharaargus.com/
Here is the Link to the article by Waushara County District Attorney Scott Blader that prompted this response: http://www.jayselthofner.com/2010/09/das-corner-waushara-county-district-attorney-scott-blader/
As submitted to the newspaper:
It was nice to see refer madness alive yet in Waushara County after the county DA Blader commented in a September 1st article. Let me put my two cents worth regarding his letter. First of all, the debate over legalizing marijuana has been going on for sometime now, not just for medical purposes as DA Blader suggests. “Drug Policy Reform” should be the correct heading, as a variety of bills to change the criminal penalties for using the hemp cannabis plant have been introduced in Wisconsin for decades, not just recently. In fact, many municipalities have ordinances they choose to enforce rather than the state statute the DA referenced. His brief review of the current drug laws did not explain why our farmers cannot grow hemp for food, fuel or fiber, let alone explain why a non-drug species of hemp cannabis is still illegal in the first place. I fully understand that is not what DA Balder intended, I just want to point out that many people feel like I do, that the laws regarding marijuana are outdated and discriminatory.
But the review of the law shows us just how important it is to have level headed legislators making laws that are placed on society. Slapping felony labels on the foreheads on non-violent ‘offenders’ creates a group of unemployable people. With budget constraints and repeat sex offenders, violent criminals and others hurting society as a whole, perhaps it is time to change many archaic laws. Drunk driving is a problem in Wisconsin and we can see laws changing to reflect this. If you look at the data, legalizing marijuana, not for medical purposes, but for the recreational use, may just be another way to combat drunk driving and reduce recidivism. Not used in combination, as DA Blader suggests, but look at the studies and you can determine that marijuana is safer than alcohol. This purposes the question of why are we being forced to drink?
In a subsequent DA’s Corner article the DA mentions Prescription Drugs and the abuse the media calls the silent epidemic, which points out the dangers of using prescription medications in an illegal manner. The article also suggests that our out of pocket healthcare costs are directly affected by fraud, over prescriptions and un-needed addictions. “…addictions are generally formed through prolonged treatment of a legitimate illness. Overuse can easily morph into dependency and ultimately addiction before the family and friends take notice.” In my eyes and those of many, legalizing marijuana will directly help combat this problem and many others facing our county.
Does DA Blader suggest our opinion does not matter since we do not live in Madison? I certainly hope not and to remind folks to vote smart come election time, this time and next time! If you open your eyes, you can see the truth, honesty and compassion about marijuana right here in our communities.
In closing, DA Blader relies on the old standby “Gateway Theory” as a defense for marijuana laws. The gateway theory (formerly the “steppingstone”) was officially and thoroughly dismissed in 1998 by the Institute of Medicine. It is sad that even though you can cut off the head, the tail, grind the body, the snake of refer madness lives on.
Laura Warren, Poy Sippi