Wisconsin Weekly: Marijuana is dangerous for some people, experts warn

Marijuana’s risks; how Hmong diaspora communicates; Wisconsin’s dementia crisis; lingering ag woes; impeachment opinions; erased voting hurdle

Of note: This week we draw your attention to the latest story in our series, The Cannabis Question. In this installment, reporter Benita Mathew explores the known dangers of marijuana, particularly for teenagers, pregnant women and people with a family history of serious mental illness. How that should shape Wisconsin’s debate over legalizing marijuana depends on who you ask. 

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Emily Hamer / Wisconsin Watch

Lena Stojiljkovic, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student, is seen in her friend’s apartment in Madison, Wis., April 10, 2019. In the fall of 2016, she was hospitalized for a psychotic break and diagnosed with bipolar I disorder. She says she was delusional, psychotic and had no grasp on reality. Stojiljkovic said she believes smoking marijuana helped trigger the psychosis.

What’s the matter with marijuana? For some people, it’s dangerous

Wisconsin Watch — November 23, 2019

As Wisconsin and other states eye possible legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational use, many effects of using cannabis are still not fully understood. But one thing is certain: Scientists advise against use by young people over concerns of negatively impacting their brain development. Until people reach their mid-20s, their brains are still developing. Dr. Angela Janis, director of psychiatry for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s University Health Services, warns that adolescents who use heavily may face reduced attention spans, memory and concentration — and increased chance of dependence.

How the Hmong diaspora uses the world’s most boring technology to make something weird and wonderful

The Verge — November 22, 2019

When Lori Kido Lopez, an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Asian American media, first moved to Wisconsin, she began researching Hmong media consumption and production. She first observed that though towns with larger Hmong populations might have a community newspaper or the rare community radio segment, it was difficult for Hmong people to find robust and consistent media about their community. She was missing what she would later find to be the most popular form of mass media for the Hmong. 

Earlier: Mia Sato, a former Wisconsin Watch intern who explored the Hmong conference call networks for The Verge, learned about them while researching news deserts for Wisconsin Watch. 

Amber Arnold / Wisconsin State Journal

Mary and Don Moran, who have been married 44 years, get ready to leave their apartment in Cottage Grove this month to visit an assisted-living facility. Don planned to stay at the facility after Mary had surgery for breast cancer. Caring for Don, who has dementia, is difficult, Mary said. “Before cancer, it was just a little stressful,” she said. “Now it’s scaring me to death.”

Families, policy makers struggle to address dementia and caregiving

Wisconsin State Journal — November 24, 2019

As a phone company lobbyist in Madison and Washington, D.C., and a Russian language specialist in the Air Force, Don Moran had a quick wit and a sharp mind. Now the 85-year-old from Cottage Grove, who has early-stage dementia, struggles to recall words and recognize faces. Sometimes he can’t even remember his name. Wisconsin faces a dementia crisis, officials and advocates say. Statewide, 17% of people are age 65 or older, higher than the national average of 16%. The state’s population continues to age, especially in the rural north, where more than 25% of residents are 65 or older in nine counties. 

Wet fall hinders Wisconsin harvest, sets up potential for spring flooding

Wisconsin State Journal — November 26, 2019

Saturated soils combined with a wetter-than-usual forecast could lead to widespread flooding and another year of delayed planting for Wisconsin farmers still struggling with one of the worst growing seasons in modern history. An abnormally wet spring led to one of the latest starts to the season in modern history, putting farmers about three weeks behind the average start, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We also recommend reading InsideClimate News’ special report on the human toll of climate change across the U.S. Wisconsin is among the top 12 states this decade seeing increased deaths due to severe weather.

Emily Hamer / Wisconsin Watch

Gov. Tony Evers is seen at his first State of the State address in Madison, Wis., at the State Capitol on Jan. 22, 2019.

Tony Evers signs bill to remove voting requirement that has turned away people with disabilities

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — November 22, 2019

Voters with disabilities will no longer be required to state their name and address — a requirement advocates for people with disabilities said was humiliating and even preventing some from casting ballots. Gov. Tony Evers signed into law a bill that removes the requirement for people who are unable to say their name and address because of a disability. Instead, poll workers will rely on the voter’s identification card and allow another person accompanying the voter to say the voter’s name and address.

A snapshot from Wisconsin highlights Democrats’ challenges on impeachment

The Washington Post — November 23, 2019

It is one poll in one state and therefore not a definitive reading of public opinion. But the latest survey from Marquette University’s law school of attitudes in Wisconsin highlights one of the challenges Democrats face as they move steadily toward impeaching President Trump. The survey was released as the House Intelligence Committee was taking public testimony from current and former administration officials.

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