Capital Times: Gary Storck: Sheriff Dave Mahoney, Chief Mike Koval should debate merits of marijuana legalization

Dane County City-County Building

After last week’s controversy over what Dane County Sheriff said or did not say to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker about cannabis legalization, I wrote the following Letter to the Editor to Madison’s Capital Times:

“Dear Editor: The recent brouhaha over what Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney discussed about pot legalization has once again exposed the sheriff’s outdated position. The so-called “gateway theory” he cites has been repeatedly dismissed, including in the 1999 Institute of Medicine report on medical cannabis commissioned by then-president Bill Clinton.

Perhaps Sheriff Mahoney and Madison Police Chief Mike Koval should have a public debate regarding the merits of legalization. Last September, Koval spoke out in favor of Wisconsin taxing and regulating adult use of cannabis, as states like Washington and Colorado, and more recently Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., have done. Koval stated cannabis prohibition was an “abject failure,” and, “We’ve done such an abysmal job using marijuana as a centerpiece of drug enforcement, that it’s time to reorder and triage the necessities of what’s more important now.”

Koval clearly gets what Mahoney can’t see and Walker refuses to acknowledge: Cannabis prohibition is a fraud that only makes things worse. Dane County Executive Joe Parisi gets it too. Dane County voters twice spoke loud and clear about cannabis through two landslide votes for legalization via county advisory referendums.

Walker also might want to rethink his position as well, because if he does make it onto 2016 presidential ballots he’ll be running against cannabis legalization, as a slew of states including California, Maine, Nevada, Vermont, Massachusetts and perhaps even Missouri will be voting on it. While Wisconsinites sit mired in the past, other states are moving forward.

Gary Storck


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