A Democratic candidate for Congress in northern Wisconsin has come out in favor of the national legalization of marijuana.
Kyle Frenette is one of five Democrats trying to unseat U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, who represents Wisconsin’s 7th District.
In a proposal released April 20, Frenette argued legalization would help solve the national opioid crisis, reduce the number of people in prison, and provide needed tax revenue for Wisconsin.
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“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,” Frenette said in the release.
Frenette said current marijuana enforcement is “racially skewed,” with a disproportionate number of minorities affected.
“The rate of use of the drug is about the same across races, but the numbers show that black and brown people typically have been put behind bars more than white folk,” Frenette said in an interview with WPR.
Frenette said tax revenue generated by the drug could fund a variety of needs and create jobs.
“(Look at) the numbers with Washington and Colorado and the states that have had it legalized for a long time,” Frenette said. “We could use it to invest in our education, in our infrastructure, our roads and our bridges, even rural broadband.”
Frenette, the manager of Bon Iver, said legalization is an issue that resonates with young people.
“This is about building a new pathway forward for this country and for me, as a 30-year- old millennial, I feel that this is the right thing to do,” he said.
Wisconsin 7th Congressional District Republican Party Chairman Jim Miller responded in a news release:
“Kyle Frenette’s radical and absurd plan to legalize marijuana might be cool for his band buddies in Minneapolis and New York, but it’s dangerous for Wisconsin,” Miller said in the release. “Pouring more drugs into our communities or normalizing a gateway drug like marijuana is the last thing we need.”
The other candidates competing in the Aug. 14 Democratic primary are psychologist David Beeksma, Polk County attorney Margaret Engebretson, former Marshfield Clinic CEO Brian Ewert and former radio program director Bob Look.
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