Friday, May 3, 2024

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Joe Biden to make 4th trip to Wisconsin with Racine visit next week

From JSOnline:

Jessie Opoien
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

President Joe Biden will return to Wisconsin for the fourth time in 2024 next week, his campaign confirmed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Biden, a Democrat, plans to visit Racine on May 8, where he will deliver official remarks and then hold a campaign event.

The trip follows Republican former President Donald Trump's second stop in Wisconsin this year.

"President Biden is showing up yet again to speak with Wisconsinites about the issues that matter most to us, including his administration’s historic investments in our communities, economic gains made under his leadership, and he and Vice President Harris’s commitment to defending fundamental freedoms," Garren Randolph, Wisconsin Democratic coordinated campaign manager, said in a statement. "Wisconsin voters will show up for President Biden and Vice President Harris this November just like we did in 2020."

More:In interview, Trump doesn't commit to accepting Wisconsin election results if he loses

With polls showing a tight presidential race in this battleground state, Trump rallied a crowd in Waukesha on Wednesday around immigration and economic issues. It was his first rally since his criminal trial began in New York last month; he's accused of falsifying business records during his 2016 campaign to conceal an affair.

As Biden continues to campaign across the country, Trump has spent much of his time in a Manhattan courtroom.

"Never forget our enemies want to take away my freedom because I will never let them take away your freedom. I'm never going to let it happen, " Trump said in Waukesha on Wednesday. "They want to silence me because I will never let them silence you."

The Biden campaign has highlighted its commitment to Wisconsin, noting that this is the first time the Democratic presidential nominee has made Milwaukee a state campaign headquarters in at least two decades. That site is one of 46 general election offices across the state, according to the campaign, including one in Racine.

The Biden campaign also noted that the Republican National Committee declined to renew its lease in its Hispanic outreach center in Milwaukee’s south side Lincoln Village, and the location is slated to become an ice cream shop

Trump's first Wisconsin rally of the 2024 election was in Green Bay early last month. There, he attacked Biden over his handling of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Wisconsin is one of just a handful of states that will decide the next presidential contest, and Biden and Trump are locked in a tight rematch of 2020. A Marquette University Law Poll released last month showed Trump leading Biden 51%-49% among both registered voters and likely voters.

Jessie Opoien can be reached at


What a choice we face in November: Sleepy Joe or Conman Trump.

Ho-Chunk Nation decriminalizes cannabis. This is what that does, and doesn't, mean.

From JSOnline:

Frank Vaisvilas
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Kristin White Eagle, who serves as a member of Ho-Chunk Nation Tribal Legislature, says it’s time for Wisconsin to legalize cannabis.

“Across the country, we have seen the benefits of cannabis,” she said in a statement. “It’s time to move toward an end to this prohibition.”

White Eagle and the rest of the Ho-Chunk tribal legislature voted to decriminalize cannabis on tribal lands, according to an announcement April 30.

They reasoned that millions of dollars in potential revenue leaves Wisconsin every year as residents buy cannabis from surrounding states that have legalized it.

“The Ho-Chunk Nation recognizes that marijuana and its derivatives are natural growth plants with medicinal and industrial applications,” the tribe said in a statement. “Indigenous people have used marijuana and hemp for hundreds of years for a variety of purposes and the Ho-Chunk Nation acknowledges its functional purpose.”

Cannabis is illegal in Wisconsin and on the federal level, but the tribe said it anticipates entering the cannabis business once it becomes legal in the state.

But tribal law experts say there's still a legal question about whether tribal nations can allow cannabis sales on federal trust reservation land — land that isn't subject to local jurisdiction or taxes but still must abide by federal law.

Matthew Fletcher, a University of Michigan law professor who specializes in tribal law, doubts tribal nations can have much success in that endeavor without a change in federal law.

"The only way to do that would be on tribal trust land/Indian country land, and since federal law still bans cannabis, no, there’s no way," Fletcher said. "That doesn’t mean tribes won’t do it, but they are at the complete mercy of the whims of the federal government’s decision to prosecute or not. It’s no way to do business. Same is true even if the state makes it legal."

But Wednesday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration signaled it intends to reclassify cannabis as a less dangerous drug, eight months after the U.S. Department of Health recommended that it do so.

The reclassification of cannabis from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug means the federal government would acknowledge the potential medical benefits of the drug and it would be legal for medicinal purposes at the federal level.

But states could still choose to make cannabis illegal, even for medicinal use.

It’s unclear if tribes in Wisconsin would allow sales of cannabis for medicinal use if it becomes legal on the federal level but remained illegal at the state level.

Rob Pero of Canndigenous and the Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association is organizing tribal support for the legalization of cannabis in Wisconsin.

“Tribes are able today to self-determine their interests in cannabis and the complex landscape requires the navigation of local, tribal, state and federal policy,” said Rob Pero, founder of the nonprofit Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association. “We see the reclassification empowering tribes to engage meaningfully throughout the supply chain, from farming to processing to retail and more, as well as to facilitate interstate nation-to-nation commerce.”

The Ho-Chunk Nation is a member of the ICIA, along with three Ojibwe tribes in Wisconsin — Lac du Flambeau, St. Croix and Sokaogon Mole Lake — and is lobbying Madison with its Indigenous partners for legalization of cannabis.

“This is a history day for Ho-Chunk,” Pero said of the tribe’s vote on cannabis. “We commend their commitment to increasing accessibility to plant medicine. … They are building and environment now, before prohibition ends, that will position them to lead the industry, create sustainable economic opportunity and improve the health and wellbeing of our people.”

Tribes in states where cannabis is legal have already entered the industry and are seeing large profits,

Robert Van Zile, chairman of the Mole Lake Ojibwe Tribe in Wisconsin, said the Hannahville Potawatomi Tribe, about 100 miles east of Mole Lake in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, earns about 90% of its $5 million annual cannabis business revenue from Wisconsin residents.

He said Wisconsin is losing tens of millions of dollars to surrounding states where cannabis is legal, including Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.

Frank Vaisvilas is a former Report for America corps member who covers Native American issues in Wisconsin based at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Contact him at or 815-260-2262. Follow him on Twitter at @vaisvilas_frank.


Monday, April 29, 2024

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Car flipped, more than 80 arrested at annual Mifflin Street Block Party in Madison

From JSOnline:

Hope Karnopp
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Partygoers flipped over a car at the annual Mifflin Street Block Party on April 27, 2024. Police said no one was injured.

More than 80 people were arrested Saturday at the annual Mifflin Street Block Party in Madison, where partygoers flipped over a car and a deck failed, according to the Madison Police Department.

Around 2:30 p.m., police and the Madison Fire Department responded to a first-floor porch with boards that broke under the weight of the occupants. No one was injured, and the number of people on the porch isn't known.

Shortly after, a red car was flipped over, though no one was injured. Another car in the area was also damaged, police said. Crowds thinned after police started clearing backyards after the incident.

The fire department was also alerted to a downed power line, which Madison Gas and Electric determined was a low-voltage communications wire.

In all, more than 80 people were arrested Saturday, mostly for minor, alcohol-related offenses, police said. Six were booked into the Dane County Jail. Police plan to issue final citation numbers later this week.

A driver was not cited after hitting an officer who was working a traffic post. The officer was taken to a hospital to be evaluated for minor injuries.

EMS responded to 14 medical emergencies, with 11 resulting in transports to the hospital, mostly related to alcohol.

The Mifflin Street Block Party, which is held off the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus and is attended mostly by college students, dates back over 50 years. It began as a political protest against the Vietnam War.

Officers reported this was the largest year for the block party since the Covid-19 pandemic started. Thousands of people attended the party, which is held along two blocks. The party wrapped up around 5:40 p.m. when rain moved into the area.

In 2021, revelers stood on an SUV and smashed through the car's windows, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. And in 2022, a rotted beam caused a balcony collapse that injured three people.

Building inspectors checked on houses along the street since February, identifying 24 porches, balconies or other areas that needed repairs. Only a few of those areas still needed repairs two days before the party, police said.


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