Friday, April 20, 2018

Happy 420 Day-- A Guest Post From Kyle Frenette

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As we explained about a week and a half ago, Kyle Frenette is the progressive Democrat running for the old Dave Obey seat in northern Wisconsin, currently occupied by Ryan ally Sean Duffy. Frenette is well known in the music industry as the manager of Eau Claire's Grammy-winning Justin Vernon and his band, Bon Iver. His platform includes raising the minimum wage, establishing universal healthcare and making broadband internet a public utility instead of a private luxury. And legalization of marijuana. He thought today would be an auspicious day to lay out his marijuana legalization plank. Here it is-- and if you click on the Green Wave thermometer below, you can contribute to Kyle's campaign and to other candidates with legalization planks as part of their platforms.


For Too Long, Marijuana Has Been Wrongfully Labeled And Misunderstood In This Country
by Kyle Frenette,
Candidate For Congress, WI-07


Goal Thermometer30 states have legalized the use of marijuana in some capacity. Nine states plus Washington, DC have legalized the drug for recreational use. It’s time for America to fully legalize marijuana.

The issue is not the drug itself, but the stigma surrounding it; a stigma caused by misconception, racism and criminalization. Marijuana has been proven beneficial for so many, and the drug’s illegal status has caused more harm to American society than its side effects.

Here in Wisconsin, I know folks who have had to go to extreme lengths to obtain marijuana legally for medicinal use or travel across state lines for a duration of time to use the drug for treatment. This shouldn’t be the case. I envision a future in which my children and their children view the federal prohibition of marijuana the same way we view the prohibition of alcohol today-- strange and unnecessary.

The progress we’ve seen by individual states in recent years on this issue has been nothing short of encouraging, but it’s time to act on the federal level. The benefits outweigh the pitfalls.

CURB THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC

The federal legalization of marijuana would go a long way to ending the opioid epidemic in America.

There is no reason marijuana should still be classified as a Schedule I drug along with heroin and ecstasy—not when cocaine, methamphetamine and most prescription opioids, like oxycodone and fentanyl are classified as Schedule II by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Our country’s opioid crisis has reached epidemic proportions. The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports that more than 115 people die from an opioid overdose in the U.S. every day. And this plight has reared its head right here in the 7th district: from July 2016 through September 2017, the Midwest saw a 70% increase in opioid overdoses.

Opioids and methamphetamine, with their high-risk of addiction and overdosing, have continued to ravage communities in Wisconsin and across our nation. Meanwhile, marijuana has been proven an effective substitute for prescription opioids in treating pain.

In a recent study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health, it was found that out of a sample of 2,245 patients taking various pain medications to treat intractable pain, over half (58%) were able to reduce their use of other pain medications while taking medical cannabis. Specifically, opioid medications were reduced for 38% of those patients sampled.

As your Representative, I will champion the federal legalization of marijuana to help curb the opioid epidemic and prevent more lives from being lost and families from being ripped apart in northwestern Wisconsin.

INCREASE MEDICINAL BENEFITS

On a national level, marijuana needs to be re-classified, decriminalized and recognized for its medicinal benefits so that more research can be done and the drug can continue to help more people.

Marijuana is not just an effective pain management tool; it has been proven to treat various other ailments. For example, many neurological disorders and their side effects like seizures caused by Epilepsy or muscle spasms caused by Multiple Sclerosis. Cancer patients use it to manage pain and reduce nausea caused by chemotherapy. It has also been used to increase appetite and limit weight loss in some patients suffering from HIV or other chronic illnesses.

Due to marijuana’s Schedule I classification by the DEA and the strict federal regulations surrounding it, research into other medical uses have proven difficult. For example, when it comes to certain psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety disorders, a correlation has been found in self-medicating in states where marijuana is legalized. But due to marijuana’s Schedule I classification by the DEA and the strict federal regulations surrounding it, research into these and other potential medical uses have proven difficult and slow-moving.

In Congress, I will support legislation to legalize marijuana in America to make studying the drug easier and to improve the overall health and well-being of those who benefit from its use.

DECREASE MASS INCARCERATION

Most Americans view marijuana as a relatively safe drug while too many futures are being tarnished due to its criminalization.

From the inception of the War On Drugs in the 1970s, our country’s prison population has increased at an alarming rate. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world with an estimated 2.3 million people behind bars. In 2016 alone, more than 80% of the 1.5 million drug arrests were for possession only. And enforcing such laws mostly pertaining to the prohibition of marijuana costs our country about $3.8 billion per year.

Our current drug laws are not only counterproductive, they are also racially skewed. While marijuana use is relatively equal across all races, minorities are disproportionately singled out when it comes to drug related arrests.

It’s said that restrictive marijuana laws have not limited the use and accessibility of the drug. In fact, marijuana use has more than doubled in recent decades. As a result, popular opinion has shifted in favor of legalization, particularly among younger generations.

The case for legalization is growing every day. Once elected, I will push to legalize marijuana so that money is no longer wasted and less futures are ruined by the enforcement of unnecessary laws.

SPUR AGRICULTURAL OPPORTUNITY & ECONOMIC GROWTH

It’s no question that the benefits outweigh the pitfalls when it comes to the growing and selling of marijuana.

Our country’s drug laws are outdated when it comes to marijuana and limit the drug’s economic potential. Economic growth due to the cultivation, sale and taxation of cannabis in states that have adopted legalization prove that it can be a high commodity.

In Colorado alone, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2012, the cannabis industry created 18,000 full-time jobs and brought in $2.4 billion in 2015. And when it comes to taxation, it’s reported that that marijuana has more than tripled tax revenue brought in by alcohol in that state. Nationally, at its current rate of state legalization, an estimated $40 billion in economic output is predicated by the year 2021 when it comes to the legal cannabis industry. Why not increase those odds with federal legalization? Think of all that those funds could be used for: investing in education, infrastructure, and more drug treatment programs to assist further in ending the opioid epidemic.

In Wisconsin, (where medical marijuana is legal but very limited in comparison other states) when signing a bill that legalized hemp farming for the first time in 80 years, Governor Walker proclaimed our state as “America’s Hempland.” This is a good step forward, but the restrictive nature and limited access to seeds due to federal regulations on hemp’s close cousin will stifle industrialized hemp’s economic benefits for our state.

As the Representative of northwestern Wisconsin, I will work to federally legalize marijuana to create jobs and spur economic growth not just for our great state but for the entire country.



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8 Comments:

At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More weed, less booze. The only reason weed is illegal is to protect the booze industry.

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger VG said...

Nope, Big Pharma has also been fighting to persevere their own $$ stake in the game.

 
At 11:39 AM, Blogger VG said...

Oh, yeah, and the private prison industry.

 
At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

not to be pedantic... but it's also hitler's birthday. I'm sure there are millions (like maybe 62 million?) who celebrate for that reason alone.
Typical that America will celebrate an arbitrary date like this without doing ANY research whatsoever.
Coulda just picked 421 or 422 or 131 (Jackie robinson's bd, who happened to wear #42) just as easily.

 
At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't know your history, do you VG?

There was no private prison industry, and the pharmacological sector was hardly significant, when the first laws making marijuana illegal were passed.

Prohibition was well underway as the first laws were enacted, and the effect on illegal sales pointed to a serious reduction in consumption once Prohibition was repealed, an effort for which that was begun by the likes of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., S. S. Kresge, and the Du Pont family. They were among many wealthy families who helped found and funded the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment as of 1918, prior to the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1919. They continued to campaign against Prohibition all through the Roaring Twenties and fought against alternatives being taken up by the people lest their funding of the Association be wasted.

I'm sure that you are already sated with pearls being cast, stop I'll stop here. Anyone who really wants to understand has plenty to follow up.

 
At 7:43 PM, Blogger Larry Piltz said...

Anonymous 3:14: I think Anonymous 10:55, 11:36, & 11:39 is/are saying that one major reason that pot still hasn't been legalized IN THE 21ST CENTURY is opposition from Big Booze, Big Private Prison, and Big Pharma. So when you're ready to catch up to 21st century issues, that's a hint where you can begin.

And your snobbish arrogance about your vast knowledge (as if no one else here knows the history) is a sure sign of an inferiority complex and weak ego.

 
At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooh! Looks like I hit a nerve! I guess that DxCC paycheck didn't go as far as you hoped it would, did it?

Ishidai, Peltz!

 
At 7:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big phrma looks poised to absorb big pot just as soon as it becomes legal, if it does. If there's a profit to be made there, big phrma will be there to rake it in.

Right now, the risk from the likes of sessions is too great to start vacuuming in CO, CA and WA.

 

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