Listen to the people of Monona about marijuana

I was disgusted and appalled by the reversal by the Monona Public Safety Commission over reducing cannabis penalties so I wrote the following letters to the editor which were published in the Wisconsin State Journal and the Monona Herald Independent. The H-I also published a report with details on how the vote broke down and who speak for and against, “Proposal to lower pot fines voted down

Source: Wisconsin State Journal
Pubdate: 03 March 2016
Author: Gary Storck

LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE ABOUT MARIJUANA

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.

With Monona voters having already overwhelmingly voted in favor, the commission should have followed the will of the people and passed the proposal instead of letting itself be derailed by hysterical and unscientific propaganda.

Opponents of reforming cannabis law like to cry, “What about the children?” But what message does it send about democracy to our young people when city officials blatantly ignore local election results that left no doubt where public sentiment stands on this issue?

— Gary Storck, Madison

The second letter in the local Monona paper:

Source: Monona Herald-Independent
Pubdate: 03 March 2016
Author: Gary Storck

MONONA VOTERS WANT MARIJUANA TO BE LEGAL

To the editor:

The city officials and other members of the Monona Public Safety Commission who voted to table the reduction in pot penalties owe city voters an apology and a do-over.

This proposal was presented to the city by a resident who worked with city officials and received an initially warm response.

In 2010 and 2014, the Dane County Board put advisory referendums on the ballot to poll county voters on cannabis legalization. In 2010, county voters supported legalizing medical cannabis with 75.49 percent of the vote. Monona voters gave it even stronger support with 77.6 percent favoring legal medical cannabis in Wisconsin, including the city of Monona.

In April 2014, Dane County voters supported legalizing cannabis for adult use by a 64.5 percent margin. Once again, Monona voted more strongly in support, with 67.2 percent supporting legalizing cannabis for adult use statewide, including their city.

At last month’s meeting Jan. 27, following the will of the people seemed like a foregone conclusion with even a Monona police officer, Det. Ryan Losby, injecting a huge dose of reality into the discussion in noting police have many more critical problems than cannabis, like the serious heroin epidemic gripping the area. On Feb. 24, city officials suddenly reversed course and caved in to fear mongering and unscientific claims and betrayed the will of Monona voters.

The adult use of cannabis is now legal in four states and the District of Columbia. Medical cannabis is legal in 23 states. After the November elections, these numbers will increase. Much has been learned from the experience of other states. Studies have found a 25 percent reduction in opiate painkiller deaths in these states. There are fewer deaths from suicides and drunk driving.

The Public Safety Commission needs to revisit this issue at their next meeting. Their actions have cast a long shadow on the democratic process in Monona. City voters have spoken loud and clear twice, and it is their decisions that need to be respected, not the fear mongering and bigotry of those few people whose views were twice strongly rejected by overwhelming majorities of Monona voters.

Gary Storck

Madison

This story is by no means over. Advocates are continuing to look into this situation and what transpired behind the scenes to stop cannabis law reform dead in its tracks in Monona, despite the overwhelming support of the people who make up the community in county advisory referendums.

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