'Demonizing good people'

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Recently Illinois legalized cannabis for medicinal and recreational use which will go into effect after the first of the year marking them as the eleventh state to legalize, and the first state to legalize through passing legislation.

Unfortunately, with little surprise to the community, the Beloit Police Department Chief of Police David Zibolski had disparaging comments to make regarding Illinois legalization. Chief Zibolski was quoted by Channel 3000 stating, "My initial reaction was one of concern..because we're in such close proximity to Illinois..The data is there," he said. "You can't ignore the data, you can't deny the data; it's five years of trends and information."

Chief Zibolski also stated, "It is a bad thing, and I think people need to educate themselves about it before Wisconsin finds itself in the same situation." Channel 3000 also said Zibolski believes cannabis legalization could lead to an increase in crime and traffic violations.

Sadly, he has failed to provide us with these statistics he so boldly stands behind, so I wish to shed some light on the real results of cannabis legalization, as well as, the growing movement behind cannabis.

Unfortunately for us he is uneducated on this topic. The 10 states who have legalized cannabis have seen a decrease in opioid overdoses, put over 200 million into public school systems, seen drug related crimes drop, seen property related crimes drop and seen violent crimes drop. These states have also not seen an increase in youth cannabis consumption, but have in fact seen a decrease by around 20 percent.

All of this is also not to mention the decrease in recorded youth suicide attempts and mental health hospitalizations while we happily dish out pharmaceuticals to make our children shells of who they could be. I would urge Chief Zibolski to at least listen to the story of Madison NORML advocate Brian Seamonson before he continues to demonize good people.

Justin Mitchell

Beloit

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