UPDATED: Cannabis comes up twice in first debate between Scott Walker and Tony Evers

UPDATED: 10/22/2018: On Friday, October 19, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers met for their first gubernatorial election debate. The subject of legalizing cannabis was raised twice, first surprisingly by Walker himself, later as a question from, one of the panel of moderators that quizzed the two candidates.

The Cannabadger Guide to the 2018 Wisconsin County Cannabis Advisory Referendums

It’s unusual for Walker to volunteer his position on cannabis legalization so it was surprising that while responding to a question asking if a first offense drunk driving ticket should be a criminal offense, he veered sharply into talking about his opposition to cannabis legalization. The governor then  cited what he said was a report out of Canada which he said found there were more “vehicle-related” crashes from drivers impaired on drugs than alcohol. But cannabis is just a subset of all substances drivers might have in their system from prescription meds to heroin and meth. Cannabis metabolites remain in the body for days or even weeks after use, so the mere presence of cannabis does not denote recent use or impairment.

“And beyond, that’s part of the reason why I’ve raised concerns after talking to law enforcement people and public health people about legalizing marijuana. I just saw a report from Canada that said I believe in Canada now they actually see a higher number of vehicle-related crashes related to drugs as opposed to alcohol. We need to make sure we don’t have any impaired driving whether its alcohol-related or drug-related as well.”

Just a few minutes later, La Movida radio’s Lupita Montoto asked the candidates, “And the topic is marijuana. Canada just legalized marijuana for adults, with regulation. In Wisconsin, 16 counties have marijuana referendum questions on the ballot. Should any form of marijuana use be legalized in Wisconsin? This question is for both of you.” (See second comment from bottom below.)

Tony Evers went first and here is his response:

“Yes. As a cancer survivor I absolutely believe that we must have, physicians must have the ability to use cannabis in treatment and so that is a given. The second thing is we have to decriminalize the use of marijuana. We have people who are suffering mightily because they broke that law. Third of all, we are having referendums all over the state and we continue to do it. I’m willing to take a look at that, at the results of those referenda and possibly support (Moderator says time is up) legalization.”

Gov. Walker followed, delivering his standard response to questions regarding legalizing cannabis in Wisconsin, citing the debunked so-called “gateway theory” and supposed pleas from law enforcement and public health officials not to legalize cannabis:

“Well for years I’ve listened to public health officials and law enforcement officials, even here in Dane County, who’ve pleaded with us not to legalize marijuana ’cause they’re concerned it’s a gateway drug to other drugs and we’ve seen the addictions with opioids, with heroin, with meth in certain parts of the state. So yeah, per your point about the juice, we’ve actually used that, we’ve modified that multiple times now for kids with seizures, we’ve legalized industrial hemp which helps many of our farmers, but outright legalization, I think from the folks in law enforcement and public health, they said that would be a big problem.”

Cannabadger has been keeping track of the governor’s statements regarding cannabis and you can read more than two dozen instances where he has discussed cannabis from 2010 to date here.

Here is the clip of Evers and Walker answering the cannabis question:

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6 thoughts on “UPDATED: Cannabis comes up twice in first debate between Scott Walker and Tony Evers”

  1. Scott Walker never said that there were more Cannabis related driving accidents than alcohol. As we can see in the video clip that was embedded in the article, he specifically said:
    “You know I just saw a report from Canada that said I believe, in Canada now they actually see a higher number of vehicle related crashes related to drug as opposed to alcohol.”
    He didn’t claim that Cannabis alone was responsible for more drug related crashes than alcohol, only that it was a contributing factor.

    Also, the report that Scott Walker was referring to does exist and it can be found on the Canadian government website :
    The report states: “Drugs can impair your ability to drive safely and increase the risk of getting into a collision. In fact, cannabis increases your chance of a car accident. The percentage of Canadian drivers killed in vehicle crashes who test positive for drugs (40%) now actually exceeds the numbers who test positive for alcohol (33%).”

    As of now I do not endorse either Governor candidate, but I felt that Walker’s statements were being misrepresented.

    1. While that statistic may indeed exist as you have noted, Gov. Walker deliberately used it out of context. He was trying to evade a question about first time drunk driving penalties being a criminal charge, and changed the subject. And he then went from opposing marijuana legalization to saying more drivers are found to be using drugs than alcohol, as a reason to oppose legalization. But cannabis is certainly not the only drug being detected in drivers. Cannabis is a subset of all drugs detected. So his intent to conflate cannabis and drugs is not backed up by the report, which states more drugged drivers than alcohol-impaired drivers were detected, and it’s actually not a report but a citation on a Canadian web page. And Canada just legalized cannabis, so it is strange to be citing Canadian data as reason not to legalize cannabis.

      1. Yeah those are some valid points. I don’t think that there is an accurate test for determining whether a driver was under the influence of Cannabis at the time of a crash. A person could fail a urine test for THC if they smoked Cannabis in the last 30-45 days, a blood test if they smoked in the last 60-75 days or a hair follicle test if they smoked in the last 90 days. So someone could easily test positive for THC long after the effects wear off. CBD can usually last around 3-4 days in your system as well.

    2. Both Canada and Scott Walker are interchanging two separate ideas. 1) Drug driving is worse than alcohol driving and 2) Cannabis is worse than alcohol driving as one.

      https://www.canada.ca/en/services/policing/police/community-safety-policing/impaired-driving/drug-impaired-driving.html actually references http://www.ccdus.ca/Eng/topics/Impaired-Driving/Drug-Impaired-Driving/Pages/default.aspx which references http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/international-symposium-on-drugs-anddriving-sheds-light-on-growing-problem-1538927.htm and finally the actual report http://www.ccdus.ca/Resource%20Library/CCSA-Psychoactive-Prescription-Drugs-and-Driving-Report-2017-en.pdf

      According to the report, TRUE that drug driving is worse than alcohol driving but FALSE that cannabis is worse than alcohol driving. Out of all the studies in the report that categorize Alcohol, Cannabis, and other Drugs; alcohol is worse.

      Applying critical thinking: TRUE AND FALSE = FALSE. In order for a message to be true all parts of the message must be true. Think Fast and Slow by Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureate Daniel Kahneman.

      Rose is a flower = TRUE since all roses are flowers.
      Flower is a rose = FALSE since all flowers must be roses to be true.

      Both Canada and Scott Walker are trying to turn false statements into true by making only part of the statements true by saying:
      Cannabis is a drug (TRUE) AND drugs are Cannabis (FALSE): all drugs must be only Cannabis.

      So yes, Scott Walker is indeed FALSE.

  2. Lupita Montoto referred to the referendum questions regarding forms of “use”. Walker must have misunderstood her accent and thought she was referring to CBD-liquid, hence the “juice” remark. LOL… Walker is a dumbass.

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