Members and leaders of the state’s third-largest political party Monday applauded the result of last week’s vote of the members of the Menominee tribe to legalize cannabis for both medicinal and recreational use.
“LPWI has called for the end of victimless crimes since our founding in 1973, and we are very pleased that this vote will represent the first step in reforming Wisconsin’s outdated and irrational drug laws,” explained Andy Craig, Libertarian candidate for U.S. House in the 4th District (Milwaukee) and Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin.
Libertarians also applaud the original decision of the Menominee tribe to be the only tribe in the state to opt out of Public Law 280, which gives the state government criminal jurisdiction over other tribal lands. Jeff Kortsch, 5th District Rep. on the party’s Executive Committee, says it was the foresight of that decision which enabled this historic vote. “It is only because they preserved their autonomy and self-governance, that the Menominee tribal land remains outside the jurisdiction of regular Wisconsin criminal law, and they are free to enact this decision.”
As the only tribe in the state so exempted, the Menominee will be able to prevent Wisconsin state officials from enforcing the state’s prohibition laws within the reservation, which is coterminous with Menominee County in the rural northeastern part of the state.
The Menominee tribal leadership called the two-part advisory referendum (one question on medical marijuana, the other on recreational) in response to Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to not allow a Menominee-owned casino to open in Kenosha. Walker refused to reconsider even after the tribe offered to pay the taxpayer’s share of the new Milwaukee Bucks arena, an offer the Milwaukee County L.P. urged the Governor to accept.
“This is a step towards the inevitable, which is the repeal of prohibition in Wisconsin and the end of its legacy of destruction, poverty, mass incarceration, and failure,” says Craig. “We urge the Menominee to move forward with implementing legislation immediately, and to continue to defend their right to govern themselves and reject unjust laws.”