Candidate in race for State Senate District 26
Adults should be free to use marijuana without fear of prosecution. We need to stop using our criminal justice resources to prosecute and incarcerate people for cannabis use. We can earn revenue, increase Wisconsin’s agricultural economy, and help stop the unequal enforcement that drives racial disparities in our criminal justice system. It’s time to legalize cannabis for recreational and medicinal use, and grow Wisconsin’s economy. - source
It’s time to legalize cannabis for both personal and medicinal use. For far too long, we have waged a failed war on drugs, using the criminal justice system to address the public health problem of substance use disorder. While many drugs are deadly and should not be available, cannabis is not among them. Adults should be free to use cannabis – not ticketed or imprisoned. We cannot afford to use our scarce public safety resources on enforcing laws that are unjust and unnecessary. A recent poll conducted by Marquette University confirmed that 59% of Wisconsinites think cannabis should be “fully legalized and regulated like alcohol.” Legalizing and regulating cannabis like alcohol offers economic, medical, environmental, and social and criminal justice benefits. Criminalizing cannabis has contributed to Wisconsin’s shameful racial disparities. Wisconsin incarcerates a higher percentage of its African American population than any other state in the nation. When enforcement resources are directed towards communities of color, people of color are arrested, convicted, and imprisoned at higher rates than whites, even though there is overwhelming evidence that rates of drug use are the same for black and white people. While legalizing cannabis is far from enough to address Wisconsin’s unequal system of criminal justice, it is one important and easy step towards repairing it.
Complete expungement should automatically be provided for all convictions for cannabis use/possession, since having a conviction can haunt people for a lifetime, making it harder to obtain housing, employment, and educational opportunities. Expunging misdemeanors will allow individuals the ability to apply for work or run dispensaries. In addition, any penalty enhancers or sentences stemming from the use of cannabis should be reviewed and adjusted to ensure that people are no longer being punished in any form for cannabis use or possession. - source
Medical cannabis should be available to people with debilitating medical condition or treatment. I support access to medical cannabis as outlined in AB 482. With consent from a doctor, persons with chronic or serious illnesses should be able to obtain safe access to cannabis, exempt from taxation imposed on adult users, and should be able to exceed the minimal quantities that will be allowed for adult users. States with medical cannabis have lower opioid addiction rates, because patients needing palliative care can get pain relief from cannabis without the danger of addiction from an opioid prescription. States that have legalized cannabis have fewer prescribed opioids per year, leading to fewer addictions and overdoses. - source
In 2009, my first term in the Assembly, I co-authored Assembly Bill 554/Senate Bill 368, to legalize medical marijuana. I sponsored the same bill in my second term as well
702 Seneca Place
Madison, WI 53711