Sending Good Thoughts to Activist Ben Masel

Wisconsin marijuana activist Ben Masel is well known to readers of TalkLeft. He's been a frequent commenter here for many years.

I'm so sad to read this interview with Ben today, in the Wisconsin State Journal. Ben has terminal, stage IV lung cancer, that has "metastasized past a cure." Ben says the treatment plan has gone from "cure" to "contain."

Ben is undergoing radiation, and will start chemotherapy in May. He still plans on being in Denver in April for a NORML conference. I look forward to finally meeting him in person.

Our best thoughts go out to Ben. Feel free to leave him yours in comments.

< March Madness | DOJ Not Backing Off Medical Marijuana Dispensaries >
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    Best wishes (5.00 / 9) (#1)
    by jbindc on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 05:43:34 PM EST
    Keep up the good fight, Ben!

    All my very best to Ben (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by shoephone on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 05:48:39 PM EST
    who always seemed so tireless to me. This news makes me very sad.

    F*ck! (5.00 / 7) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 05:51:02 PM EST
    This is terrible news.

    I don't know what to say.

    Does he need financial help for treatment?

    Anyone know how to contact him?


    Ben's mailing address is in andgarden's (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 07:05:30 PM EST
    link below.

    Ben... (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Ray Radlein on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 09:01:27 PM EST
    ...has been posting pretty regularly on Twitter about the whole Wisconsin donnybrook recently. I know he follows me there; I can DM him for you if you'd like.

    Thanks Ray (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 09:28:23 PM EST
    Finances not a problem thus far... (5.00 / 12) (#31)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 11:08:28 PM EST
    Both the UW Hospital and TOMO seem willing to write it off.

    I would still like to see your (not quite promised) analysis of potential grandfathering on medicinal cannabis vis a vis FDA, should Controlled Substances Act no longer preclude.


    I'll give it a shot (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 12:41:37 AM EST
    Ah, Ben (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by sj on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 11:05:56 AM EST
    I'm really distressed to hear this.  Yours was one of first voices I identified as distinct when I first started going to Kos a few years ago. (Even before I noticed you, BTD.)

    My Kos UID is 1231 so I've been following your activities for a long time.  We need more people with your commitment, integrity and focus.  Peace to you.


    Wow (5.00 / 11) (#6)
    by andgarden on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 06:01:40 PM EST
    Ben has been so active in the last few weeks in telling us about Wisconsin. I thought he was getting ready to sue the $h*t out of Gov. Walker. I still haven't sent him his $1 2016 campaign donation!

    I have a feeling that he's going to keep doing what he does until he can't anymore. And I hope that's a long time.

    Here's what he's up to (5.00 / 4) (#7)
    by andgarden on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 06:04:08 PM EST
    Here's more info on his fight for Wisconsin (5.00 / 7) (#21)
    by Towanda on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 09:02:25 PM EST
    from the same site (madison.com) as Jeralyn's link -- as Masel made news in more than one story today.  (Go to the link if you wish to wade through the usual unmoderated spew that too many media allow, to then find the few worthwhile comments that actually contribute to knowledge.)

    Activist Masel files suit over permits for Capitol demonstrations

    Madison marijuana activist Ben Masel filed a lawsuit Wednesday calling into question the need for permits to hold demonstrations at the state Capitol.

    The lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court, seeks to bar the state Department of Administration and Capitol Police from enforcing what DOA claims to be long-standing policies and procedures for holding events, such as the weeks of demonstrations against Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill, at state buildings.

    "They weren't enforced up until recently on the Capitol grounds," said Masel's lawyer, Jeff Scott Olson. "For a long time it's been the settled situation based on prior court decisions that you did not need a permit to engage in expressive activity at the Capitol grounds."

    State Department of Justice spokesman Bill Cosh said the department has not seen the lawsuit and cannot comment.

    The lawsuit does not specifically mention the recent demonstrations at the Capitol, but states that it was brought by Masel because he "wishes to engage in expressive activities" on the Capitol grounds, sometimes alone and sometimes as part of large groups, such as the annual Marijuana Harvest Festival that he organizes each year.

    The suit alleges that the permit policies and procedures violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and corresponding sections of the state constitution because they create a prior restraint on free speech and impose unreasonable restrictions on the time, place and manner of expressive activity on the Capitol grounds.

    The lawsuit also alleges that the policies and procedures are vague and overbroad, give DOA "unbridled discretion" as to which permits will be granted, fail to provide judicial review of denied permits and require permit holders to pay for state personnel, including "extra police officers," among other constitutional claims.

    New rule: can't die until (5.00 / 13) (#30)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 11:02:18 PM EST
    Department of Administration Secretary Mike Heubsch pays up.

    Since I already have an 18 year old permanent injunction regarding the rights to assemble and amplify, there's a decent chance he'll have to pay damages and fees out of pocket.


    Go get 'em, Ben! (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Peter G on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 11:59:09 PM EST
    I don't see where immunity could apply to the violation of an existing injunction.

    Do you think that the court tomorrow (none / 0) (#33)
    by Towanda on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 11:15:42 PM EST
    in the Open Meetings Law case will put in place a temporary injunction, forestalling Walker's anti-collective bargaining law from being published and going into effect next week, since the judge in the case has said that she will be on vacation next week so will not have a ruling until afterward?

    I wonder whether the DA even will get through all of his almost two dozen witnesses tomorrow, and there will be more witnesses for the other side.


    My hunch... (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 11:49:33 PM EST
    There'll be a fine for the Open meetings law violation, but no injunction.

    But today? With a final ruling not today? (none / 0) (#41)
    by Towanda on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 09:04:01 AM EST
    That's the question -- will the judge let the law go into effect while the case is pending, because of her vacation?  

    Ah, well, I will monitor the media on this today.


    Indeed. (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by lilburro on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 07:30:56 PM EST
    Ben is a hero.  Our thoughts are with you...keep up the fight Ben!

    Running for Senate in 2012, not 2016. (5.00 / 4) (#29)
    by Ben Masel on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 10:59:05 PM EST
    Oops, sorry Ben (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by andgarden on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 11:13:13 PM EST
    Just tell me where to send the check. ;-)

    Why one or the other? (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by Towanda on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 11:16:45 PM EST
    Let's look forward to seeing you run in 2012 AND 2016.

    Sending good thoughts your (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 07:06:10 PM EST
    way, Ben.  

    Ben's a great guy ... (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 07:08:35 PM EST
    here's to him confounding the experts, and beating the odds!

    It can happen.

    As hard as you have fought for the (5.00 / 6) (#11)
    by Anne on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 07:30:32 PM EST
    principles and causes and people you so believe in, please know that we are all fighting for you now, Ben...

    Stay strong and please let us know if there's anything we can do.

    Ben (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 08:05:48 PM EST
    if you're reading this, best of luck to you with that horrible disease. I will be thinking about you.

    Shocking (5.00 / 6) (#15)
    by Jane in CA on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 08:11:50 PM EST
    I am so sorry you're going through this, Ben.  Here's hoping that, like Andgarden, I'll be on the hook for sending you that $1 dollar donation come 2016.

    Thoughts for Ben (5.00 / 7) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 08:30:15 PM EST
    I apologize for whatever I did to you.

    This comment is so uncalled for (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Edger on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 08:34:09 PM EST
    it's barely worth responding to,except that I have one question. Are you trying to debase yourself, or is it that you just can't help it?

    I deleted that comment (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 09:36:31 PM EST
    It was well beyond the pale and the commenter is warned not to repeat it or anything like it or he'll be banned.

    Thank you. (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by nycstray on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 12:59:21 AM EST
    Thanks, Jeralyn (none / 0) (#27)
    by Edger on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 09:49:12 PM EST
    My apologies to you, btw. I let anger get the better of me. I shouldn't have responded to it.

    Best wishes, Ben.... (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by Edger on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 08:37:32 PM EST
    You're a good man.

    God bless you Ben... (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by desertswine on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 08:43:44 PM EST
    Keep fighting pal.

    Ben's an example (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by waldenpond on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 09:38:23 PM EST
    I admire the work Ben does and the commitment he shows.... I can't think of another way to show appreciation than getting off my backside...  I'll be attending my CA regions worker protest this weekend.

    I've always admired those amoungst us (5.00 / 4) (#26)
    by Harry Saxon on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 09:39:55 PM EST
    who fight the good fight, and you're one of them, Ben.

    Ben's the real thing (5.00 / 5) (#28)
    by ruffian on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 10:02:13 PM EST
    He is needed so much.

    All the best to him and I do hope he lets us know how we can help.

    Geez, Ben, this is pretty cr@ppy news. (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by caseyOR on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 03:20:37 AM EST
    I've learned a lot from reading you. I'm hoping to learn a lot more.

    Whatever we can do, please let us know.

    I'm shocked because he is always (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 07:24:14 AM EST
    with it, and goes to the frontlines too.  Too many internet activists don't do that but writing on the internet is seldom enough to affect real changes.  He is dedicated to priniciple first, fights for what he believes in, and maintains an amazing sense of humor too all at once.  I really love him and his voice.

    Here's hoping you contain the (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by MO Blue on Fri Mar 18, 2011 at 05:48:04 PM EST
    cancer for many, many years to come. We need you now more than ever. You have always been an inspiration to those who are not willing to settle for the worst or the least that a politician can do.  

    Civil Rights Activiist! Goddammit!! (none / 0) (#22)
    by Rojas on Thu Mar 17, 2011 at 09:12:06 PM EST
    Get your facts straight.
    Damn few like Ben, too damn few.