BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) – Greg McDonald died in 2018 in Jackson County after decades battling drug addiction. His sister, Patricia Davis said he started using drugs as a teenager. His first drug of choice, marijuana.
“I think marijuana just helped him set a path that was the destruction of him in the end,” she said.
It eventually escalated to harder drugs.
“He would basically do any kind of drug that would would keep him from having withdrawal,” Davis said.
She blames her brother’s marijuana use.
“Watching your family member basically disintegrate before your eyes is very difficult,” Davis said.
She called it a gateway drug, which led him down a dangerous path.
But the past isn’t her main concern. After learning about Gov. Tony Evers’ proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in his state budget, she fears for her grandkids.
“I grew up with people around me smoking marijuana and I’ve seen some of the results of their lives and it’s not all pretty,” Davis said.
Andrew Hysell wit the Wisconsin Cannabis Association disagrees with Davis’ contention that marijuana is a gateway drug.
He said he sympathizes with Davis but argues there are equally dangerous substance already legal.
“It’s not a gateway drug anymore than tobacco, alcohol or, potentially, pharmaceutical narcotics,” Hysell said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of marijuana users do not go on to use “harder” drugs but there’s not enough research to determine whether it’s a so-called gateway drug.
Davis, however, still fears for kids if marijuana’s legalized.
“Please, do not make this legal,” she said.
Evers’ proposal would limit recreational marijuana use to people over 21. It would limit medical use to people over 18.
He said legalizing marijuana would generate $166 million state revenues. Those dollars would be used to improve rural schools and fund programs for marginalized communities.
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