Sandi Lybert warns her Ripon audience that a pot pipe can be hidden in a highlighter.
Maic D’Agostino photo
Sandi Lybert warns her Ripon audience that a pot pipe can be hidden in a highlighter. Maic D’Agostino photo

     At a time when our country is in the throes of an opioid crisis devastating virtually every community and so many families, this is exactly the wrong time to try to legalize another drug.

     Yet that is what we continue to do, here in Wisconsin and throughout the nation.

     Firefighter union chief Mahlon Mitchell, a Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate who recently visited the Commonwealth, backs measures to overturn a state law banning people from selling or smoking weed in Wisconsin. So do candidates state Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, and Mike McCabe, former chief of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.  

     When he visited the Commonwealth last fall, state schools Superintendent and governor-hopeful Tony Evers said he believed drug abuse is a “crisis” and a “scourge” in Wisconsin and that marijuana may be a gateway drug to the harder, more expensive, more dangerous substances. “I don’t know this for a fact, but I believe this, that marijuana use leads to opioid addiction,” he told the Commonwealth in November.   

     Yet six months later he has said he would sign legislation permitting recreational use if voters favor it in a referendum.

     Such leadership is underwhelming. ...

     Other than incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, most other candidates to be the state’s next CEO favor making it easier to become a pothead in the land of cheeseheads.  ...
     A presentation by Sandi Lybert two weeks ago at Ripon High School offered some sage advice about drug abuse and addiction to the 200 audience members in the school auditorium. ...

     Before Sandi’s presentation, her daughter and Tyler’s sister, Ashleigh, talked about teen drug use, focussing on alcohol, vaping and pot. “With the legalization of marijuana [in six states], a lot of kids feel because it’s legal, it’s safe,” Ashleigh said.

     But it impedes teen brain development, hampers motivation, blocks the affects of medications and is habit-forming. “It’s been proven to be addictive,”  she said. “The sooner you start, the more likely you’ll have a problem in the future.” ...

     If we adults condemn drug abuse, we owe it to our children ... to publicly oppose any efforts to make it easier to turn-on, tune-in and drop-out.

     Otherwise, our response to our kids’ wake-up call will be no more than reaching over and tapping the snooze button.
                                                                   — Tim Lyke

     To read the entire editorial, see the May 9, 2018 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.