It is clear now more than ever that marijuana prohibition is failed policy. Despite many decades of prohibition, those who want to obtain marijuana can – and do. Prohibition simply ensures that marijuana is obtained through illicit channels, which results in an erosion of respect for the rule of law and means the state cannot collect tax revenue on the sales of marijuana.
Thankfully there is a new and better approach. By taxing and regulating marijuana, as Rep. Sargent’s bill proposes, Wisconsin can redirect law enforcement resources to serious crimes and raise $138 million a year in tax revenue. In addition, states that have legalized marijuana see significant reductions in opiate overdoses1 and teen drug use2. For these reasons, the most recent Marquette poll showed 59% of Wisconsinites want marijuana to be “fully legalized and regulated like alcohol.”3
AB-482 will also allow expanded access of marijuana to people with severe illness. Marijuana has been shown to help with the symptoms of many diseases including cancer4, HIV/AIDS5, neuropathic pain6, epilepsy7, and multiple sclerosis8. Compared to other drugs legally available by a doctor’s prescription, marijuana has a low risk of addiction, fewer negative side effects, and has never caused a documented case of overdose death9. At a time when prescription drug overdoses are killing well over 10,000 Americans every year10, allowing patients to use a safer alternative could not only improve many patients’ well being – it could literally save lives.
The people of Wisconsin are ready for legal marijuana, and in accordance with our state motto of “Forward!” we should be on the leading edge of this new popular political reform, not trailing behind as the rest of the nation moves forward with rational drug policy.
As your constituent, I strongly urge you to support AB-482.