Mike's Stand on Marijuana
Marijuana possession and use should be fully legalized in Wisconsin. Current drug laws have proven ineffective, counterproductive and racially discriminatory. Those who use have shown they will use whether it’s legal or illegal. Drug laws making a second marijuana possession charge a felony don’t make communities safer or improve public health, they only fill jail cells with nonviolent offenders. That drives mass incarceration and is a key reason why Wisconsin spends more of its state budget on prisons than on the entire university system.
Even before announcing his candidacy for governor on September 12, 2017 Mike publicly supported legalization of industrial hemp production as well as medicinal and personal use of marijuana. In addition, he supports reversing the governor’s policy of refusing to consider any requests for pardons. Pardons for those who have not been convicted of any violent act or property damage should be considered and granted.
Changing the pardon policy is one of many needed changes to Wisconsin’s approach to crime and punishment if the state is to reach the point of being able to spend more to unlock the human potential of our population than it does to lock people up. Wisconsin also should emphasize sentencing alternatives to imprisonment and focus more on mental health and drug addiction treatment.
Imprisoning twice as many people in Wisconsin than in neighboring Minnesota hasn’t resulted in less crime in Wisconsin. The two states have virtually identical crime rates. But because Wisconsin spends so much more on prisons than Minnesota, we are far less able to invest in empowering young people with higher education.
Under Mike’s plan, licensed dispensaries would be authorized to operate in Wisconsin and legal sales of marijuana would be taxed, with the new source of revenue used to fund expanded treatment options for those struggling with opioid and methamphetamine addiction and make higher education more affordable.
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