Dear editor,

Hello fellow citizens. Back on Nov. 6, 2018, the voters in Marathon County had the opportunity to weigh in on the issue of allowing an adult patient in the state of Wisconsin to be prescribed medical marijuana by their state qualified, certified personal physician.

Photo courtesy Kurt Hase.

This ballot measure passed by a definitive margin of 81 ½ percent, as did similar initiatives pass by overwhelming margins in other counties across the state. The people of Wisconsin spoke clearly on the change that they wanted to see happen. As other surrounding Midwest states addressed this medical issue, with other neighboring states progressing from years of having legalized medical marijuana to now including recreational use. These states have had some challenges in implementation of their procedures as is to be expected, as they learned from other states and fine tune their systems. The cries by well-funded opposition to the removal of these marijuana prohibitions would certainly lead to a collapse of the societies structure and utter chaos, not surprisingly, never materialized. Turns out that life just goes on, and most citizens just quietly go about living their lives dealing with their own medical challenges as they personally see fit.

But what is the status of medical marijuana in the Badger State today? We now have a Democratic governor – Tony Evers, who stated that he would support legislation if and when it comes across his desk. Democratic Representatives have brought forward marijuana legislation at the state house going back 10 years and more. But in order for laws and policies to be enacted in Wisconsin, they have to first be brought forward for discussion, refinement and a vote by the State Legislature, which are currently dominated by a Republican majority. 

People like Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald for years now continue giving lip service, slow walking delay, or complete inaction on medical marijuana which speaks volumes to their agenda and priorities. With their lock on power by gerrymandering and other questionable tactics they have little incentive in responding to the voter’s hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow. Their political power is entrenched and they will not do anything that they do not see benefits themselves, their party or their donors directly. The voter’s mandate on nonbinding ballot measures be damned.

 Therefore, I strongly recommend to voters, that if you want to see Wisconsin “The Forward State” have legal medical marijuana available to our adult citizens when prescribed by a qualified, certified Wisconsin physician, then vote out Republicans and vote in Democrats up and down the ballot across the state for the election on Nov. 3, 2020. Locally, that includes Democratic candidate Jeff Johnson, who was very supportive of the medical marijuana ballot measure in 2018, he being on the Marathon County Board, and remains solidly consistent in his support today. On the other hand, Republican incumbent Patrick Snyder appears to be vague at best on this issue, seeming to follow the marching orders of Wisconsin Republican Party Legislature leadership, and deflecting to the selected opinions of some members on the Health Board. And for those who like to split their vote between parties, well, then don’t be surprised that polarized gridlock is the likely outcome with little to no progress made for more years to come. How about we replace the party that has done next to nothing, with those who when in a majority say that they will follow through. And if the Democrats, when in majority, do not do what the voters want in a reasonable amount of time, then vote them out as well, based on their failure to perform.

Politicians should be responsive to the voters in order to hold their employment as the people’s “representative” and achieve their constituent’s goals. The voters should pick their representatives and political agenda, not the other way around.

And finally, the state of Wisconsin should be a leader in moving forward on confronting life’s issues and righting past wrongs. rather than trailing far, far behind our neighboring states. It is an embarrassment and not in keeping with the once honored fair-minded problem-solving character of enlightened Badgers and their chosen leaders. Thanks for your interest, and attention. Now vote!

Kurt Hase of Wausau

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email editor@wausaupilotandreview.com or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.