Dear Tell All: I'm a poster child for why marijuana should be legalized in Wisconsin. I'm a solid citizen with a high-profile job I've held since the 1990s. I'm active in Madison civic affairs and volunteer frequently to help those in need. I'm not a drug fiend by any means, but just a casual user, the way one might have wine or beer with dinner. And yet the fact that I enjoy the occasional joint makes me a criminal in this state.
We all know the terrible consequences of banning alcohol in the 1920s, and we face the same social problems by banning marijuana today. Is there any chance the laws criminalizing pot in Wisconsin will go the way of Prohibition, as they have in Colorado and Washington? I'm cheered by the early reports from Colorado's experiment, where adults can buy up to an ounce of taxed, regulated pot. Apocalyptic predictions haven't come true since legal marijuana went on sale there, so maybe states like Wisconsin will take the hint.
I'm tired of having to hide in my house to smoke weed, where it stinks up the living room. I'd love to be able to smoke right on the front porch in good weather, tipping my hat to the friendly police officer as he drives by.
Dear Big Bud: Dane County supervisors are on your side, with advisory referendums about legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin. But don't expect voters in our liberal corner of the state to have any pull in the conservative Legislature. Republicans won't sign onto a bill legalizing medical marijuana, in spite of polls showing solid public support. In terms of legalizing recreational use, even Democrats aren't on board. Last year, some of them supported a Senate bill making it easier to prosecute people caught with small amounts of pot.
In other words, Big Bud, I fear you'll be stinking up your living room for many years to come. All I can suggest is buying an air freshener.
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