The push to legalize marijuana here in Wisconsin — either for medical or recreational purposes or both — appears to be in full bloom with Gov. Tony Evers’ announcement this week that he will likely include a “first step” toward legalizing medical marijuana in his first state budget proposal and possibly calling for a statewide referendum on full legalization.
Evers said he favors legalization but doesn’t want to rush it and “make sure we do it correctly.” Last fall, voters supported that position in referendums in several state counties and municipalities — including Racine and the City of Racine — and polls in Wisconsin have echoed that. Law enforcement, here and elsewhere, is less than enamored with that prospect, so we expect this issue to come to a head this year.
While we have advocated for medical uses for cannabis products, we still have reservations about recreational legalization and its impacts on the state. That may be foot-dragging editorially, but if — or, as Evers says, “when” — the state goes down that path, we hope the governor and the still-reluctant GOP-controlled Legislature does “do it correctly.” And that means that unlike the state’s tobacco settlement — which was squandered for other purposes besides tobacco cessation — the tax dollars that could come from this should be targeted to remedy any ills, and there will be some, that legalization might bring. There are a myriad of questions the state must resolve beforehand. Go slowly.
Efforts to keep Lake Michigan at bay have always been a concern here, but we’re glad that residents of the Lake Park area south of the city can breathe a sigh of relief over the completed bluff stabilization that threatened homes. The erosion abatement and rock work looks good and should get the job done — even though it came at a pricey cost of $1.2 million. We don’t kid ourselves that this is the last time we’ll have to do battle with the power of the lake but for now, at least, we get a breather.
Racine County’s Chocolate City is putting out mugs of good, hot wintry fun this weekend as it celebrates Hot ChocolateFest. The free family-centered event didn’t get any cooperation from Mother Nature this year — the lack of ice on Echo Lake and a paucity of snow this winter forced the fest to move Downtown to Burlington’s Wehmhoff Square. There will still be a Kids’ Fisheree and a pickup broomball tournament on a rink in a parking lot, along with other activities — and, of course, hot chocolate galore.
Whistle a halt to bad sports fans. Referee-baiting and abuse has gone down such a bad path that many high school and youth sports refs are hanging up their whistles. Who needs the shouted abuse from surly parents for a job that’s typically done for low pay and just the love of the game?
Sports reporter Peter Jackel recapped the report from the National Association of Sports Officials that said harassment of sports officials has gotten so bad that 70 percent of referees in all sports quit the job within three years.
“It’s generally not the players. It’s the parents and coaches. The lack of civility in society spills into our sporting events,” said Bill Topp, executive editor of Racine-based Referee Magazine.
Without refs, there won’t be games; cheer, but don’t sneer. If you want to scream at sports calls, turn on your TV and do it at home.