In case you missed it, Gov. Tony Evers recently announced his 2021-23 biennial budget will include a proposal to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana. “Legalizing and taxing marijuana in Wisconsin—just like we do already with alcohol—ensures a controlled market and safe product are available for both recreational and medicinal users and can open the door for countless opportunities for us to reinvest in our communities and create a more equitable state,” Evers said in a statement. “Frankly, red and blue states across the country have moved forward with legalization and there is no reason Wisconsin should be left behind when we know it’s supported by a majority of Wisconsinites.”
Also, in case you also missed it, the proposal is “all but certain to be blocked by Republicans who control the state Legislature.” Though “it’s possible they will pursue a narrower path and allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. ” So there’s that.
So let’s see what some Wisconsin lawmakers have to say about the dangers of legal weed, and compare it to what they have to say about, oh, we dunno, wearing a mask in the midst of a pandemic. Happy Friday. God, this nightmare never ends.
State Sen. President Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield)
Marijuana (February 2021): “The legalization of recreational marijuana is not in the best interest of Wisconsinites. There are serious health and societal issues that need to be understood, and Governor Evers shouldn’t sacrifice the safety of the people of Wisconsin—particularly our children—in pursuit of the mighty dollar. The Governor is adamant we follow science when it comes to COVID-19 but turns a blind eye when it comes to legalizing a drug that has no FDA approval—which all other medicines are subject to. What happened to the honorable goal of keeping the people of Wisconsin and our kids safe?”
Masks (September 2020): “There is not a scientific consensus that using face coverings have been proven to stop the spread of COVID. In the place of evidence, face masks have become a politicized mental placebo.”
Masks (October 2020): “We went from no mask to a mask and there’s no significant decrease in cases. I just call it a placebo effect that [masks] make us feel good about ourselves.”
State Rep. Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee)
Marijuana (February 2021): “I’d be opposed to the recreational use of marijuana, and I think this isn’t about how to generate additional revenues. This should be about the public welfare.”
Masks (July 2020): “Institutions and businesses, they already have the ability to require masks. And right now, people have the freedom to choose to go there or no. I think some of these decisions are best made in the local level at these businesses and among families. And I trust the people of Wisconsin to do what’s right.”
State Rep. Barbara Dittrich (R-Oconomowoc)
Marijuana (February 2021): “While there is evidence that cannabinoids offer some medicinal benefits, it should be the responsibility of the federal government with all of its resources to study this drug and create uniformity for applied use and safeguards for the public. This proposal is a gaslighting measure, attempting to make Wisconsinites believe that they are not seeing what they are truly seeing in the drug dilemma. With increased suicides, mental health crises, and deaths from drug overdoses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing we need is to add to our societal ills with this sort of proposal. It’s past time our governor leave the dope in the rearview mirror and begin concentrating on issues that will truly move our state ‘Forward.'”
Masks (July 2020): “I am fully supportive of individuals that wish to wear a mask in public and for businesses to require them. However, I believe health decisions lay with the individual alone.”
State Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg)
Marijuana (February 2020): “I remain firmly opposed to any proposal to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin. Earlier this month, a criminal in my senate district took the lives of two Washington County residents before dying as a result of an officer involved shooting. According to media reports, a toxicology test after the event revealed the perpetrator had marijuana in his system. I am not about to agree to any plan that legalizes a drug that has fostered and emboldened bad actions by bad actors.
“The social implications of legalizing marijuana are huge, and the windfall of revenue that would supposedly result is a fallacy that hides the true costs of such a plan. The mental health and physical wellbeing of our state would be negatively impacted by the legalization of marijuana. I remain a ‘no’ vote on such a plan and hope we can quickly dispose of this proposal and get about the business of crafting a common-sense, workable budget that is in the best interests of all Wisconsinites.”
Masks (July 2020): “There is no new emergency. The Governor declared, and the Legislature did not interfere with, a full 60 day COVID emergency from March through May. If a Governor can declare multiple states of emergency for a single event, that is an astonishing grant of power to one man. The data on hospitalizations and the death rate do not justify this intrusion into personal, family and community affairs. The Governor wishing to pander to his liberal base, or scare voters before an election, does not justify circumventing the people’s representatives to achieve a policy he knows would not have the votes to become law.
“The people of Wisconsin are smart, compassionate and full of common sense. They know when to take precautions for themselves or neighbors and when the hyper-literal enforcement of a universal rule written in Madison would be foolish. Tony Evers and his liberal supporters once again proposes a course of action to centralize power in Madison under the belief Wisconsinites can’t survive without Big Brother.”
State Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green)
Marijuana (February 2021): “I have reached out to law enforcement and legislators in Colorado to learn more about the impact of legalization in their state. The severe burden on law enforcement and social services they have experienced is astounding.”
Masks (July 2020): “I am very disappointed in Governor Evers’ decision to mandate masks for Wisconsinites on a statewide basis. I believe this should be a decision made by local units of government based on the circumstances of their own communities. Someone in Madison should not be making decisions for residents in rural Wisconsin. Residents in our communities are making their own decisions about masks based on the circumstances of the moment and wherever they are. I believe that we are able to make these decisions based on our own study and circumstances and we do not need Madison to overreach into our lives.”
State Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine)
Marijuana (April 2019): “When one looks dispassionately at the evidence, the conclusion is clear. Following marijuana legalization, crime and traffic deaths have spiked. Organized crime and human trafficking have moved in and/or expanded. Hospitalizations and suicides have increased. The research on individual health effects is mixed at best and downright scary at worst. Taxpayers and families bear the burden of these costs—all for less than 1% of state revenues. And by the way, marijuana remains illegal under federal law.”
Masks (July 2020): “I can understand why some businesses are requiring masks. That is their choice, just as it is my choice to do business elsewhere. That’s what America is about. But no one is going to make me wear a mask in my house, or walking my dog. That is also what America is about—free choice.”