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January 22, 2015

GazetteXtra: Gary Storck: Pommer strikes out in column on policing

Poated by Gary Storck
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015

This letter did not publish itself. I called the editor and asked if it would be published. He stated that the Wisconsin Newspaper Association said that the grant funds could be used to target other drugs and so my contention was wrong although backed by news reports, the resolution text and the sponsors of the resolution. I later received an email stating it would be published.

US WI: PUB LTE: Pommer strikes out in column on policing

Source: Janesville Gazette
Pubdate: 22 Jan 2015
Author: Gary Storck

In Response to: Matt Pommer: Community policing under fire in Madison

POMMER STRIKES OUT IN COLUMN ON POLICING

If any journalist needs to stick to the facts, the "dean of the state Capitol correspondents," Matt Pommer, has a special need to be accurate.

But accuracy was sorely lacking in his recent opinion piece, "Community policing under fire in Madison."

Pommer notes that the Dane County Board rejected a federal grant, the "Cannabis Enforcement And Suppression Effort" (CEASE), but goes on to wrongly state "the grant provides money to fight heroin, other drugs and gun traffic."

Not true. The $5000 federal grant was solely for cannabis eradication.

The actual wording from the Dane County website for 2014 RES-351 states: "The primary goal of the CEASE Program is to augment local law enforcement efforts in locating indoor and outdoor marijuana grow operations and arrest those responsible. The CEASE Program also provides support for the eradication of noncultivated, wild marijuana."

Note there is no mention of heroin or other drugs.

The county board showed both forward thinking and respect for its constituents in voting to turn down these funds. As Pommer noted, 65 percent of Dane County voters supported an advisory referendum on legalizing cannabis. In November 2010, 75.49 percent of Dane County voters supported an earlier advisory referendum on legalizing medical cannabis.

Pommer owes readers a retraction.

GARY STORCK

Madison

Co-founder, Is My Medicine Legal YET?

Co-founder, Madison & Wisconsin chapters of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)

Posted by Gary at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2015

15 Jan 2015: New Richmond News: Gary Storck: Bring back cannabis hearings

Posted by Gary Storck
Thursday Jan. 22, 2015

This is my response to an editorial in the New Richmond News, "Our View: Not everyone is on board with marijuana enforcement," (Dec. 31, 2014).

Source: New Richmond News (WI)
Pubdate: 15 Jan 2015
Author: Gary Storck

BRING BACK CANNABIS HEARINGS

To the Editor:

Your recent editorial, "Our View: Not everyone is on board with marijuana enforcement," raises some very valid points.

When President Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs in 1970, marijuana prohibition was a new thing. But 45 years later it has become an industry. We have become so conditioned to the negative indoctrination of almost five decades of anti-pot propaganda that we often blindly accept it.

In 1997 President Bill Clinton, responding to the legalization of medical cannabis in California, commissioned the Institute of Medicine Report on medical cannabis. This federal report was released in March 1999, and although heavily politicized, still acknowledged that cannabis had great medical value. It also debunked the so-called "gateway theory."

That law enforcement continues to frequently cite that discredited theory today as a St. Croix County Sheriff was quoted in the article, is evidence of how deep it runs.

In 2009, when Democrats controlled the state legislature, a public hearing was held on medical cannabis legislation. According to open records requests, when an attempt was made to secure unanimous opposition to the legislation by all state district attorneys, several instead spoke in favor in an email discussion.

One district attorney wrote, "My understanding is that this legislation would actually provide a relief to law enforcement and lessens prosecution caseloads for possession charges. Why is this bad? Shouldn't we be excited to have resources freed up to focus on more serious matters such as violent crime or drunk driving?"

An asst. D.A. opined, "How is enforcement of legal medical marijuana any different and different than enforcing prescription drugs?"

"Look at the carnage I deal with on a daily basis due to alcohol," wrote another district attorney. "And you can't understand why I am mystified as to the vehemence of objection to the very notion of a medical use for THC."

In 1975, the state of Wisconsin held a series of hearings on pot laws at eight locations across the state from Superior to Milwaukee. The result was the overwhelming majority favored full legalization with decriminalization coming in second. This was back at a time when there was little talk of medical use but there was not yet the saturation of anti-pot propaganda we see so ingrained today.

Unfortunately the panel's mandate was never carried out. Every attempt at statewide decriminalization in the legislature has failed so not only is there a patchwork of laws nationally but also across Wisconsin.

Perhaps it's time to go back to the people and reprise the 1975 hearings. Wisconsin does not exist in a bubble and the cannabis plant, once a source of so much income to Wisconsin as industrial hemp, offers a lot of hope as a job and business creators on a much greater scale today.

(Gary Storck of Madison, co-founder of Is My Medicine Legal YET? (IMMLY.org). He is also the cofounder and former president of the Madison & Wisconsin chapters of the National Organization for Marijuana Laws (NORML), Advisory Board Member of Patients Out of Time (medicalcannnabis.com) and a longtime advocate for cannabis law reform.)

Posted by Gary at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)