Congressional candidate Kaleka: Medical marijuana works

CREATED Mar 23, 2014

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FRANKLIN – A candidate for Congress claims using pot helped him through a traumatic experience.

Amardeep Kaleka knows talking about marijuana use is bit taboo, especially in Wisconsin.

He’s hopeful, however, his experiences with the drug can start a conversation.

Not long after his father, Satwant Singh Kaleka, was murdered in the 2012 Sikh Temple shooting, Kaleka claims he couldn't eat or sleep. The grief was overwhelming.

Kaleka’s therapist in California, where Kaleka lived at the time, wrote him a prescription for medical marijuana. Marijuana is legal for medicinal use in California.

"Just like when kids used to take medicine through a lollipop, that's how it was," Kaleka explained.

Kaleka tells TODAY’S TMJ4 me he stopped using pot before he started running for Congress in Wisconsin. The Democrat is hoping to unseat incumbent Rep. Paul Ryan.

As a lawmaker, Kaleka says he would push to decriminalize marijuana. It’s a way, he claims, to ease the burden on the justice system.

"It would save so much money in terms of what we use in the state, our tax revenues federally, and at that point we can go from that to studying it and making it medicinal,” Kaleka said.

“I do not want to open it up for recreational use yet, anywhere," he continued.

Already, states like Washington and Colorado are doing just that. Wisconsin is not in the mix. Not yet.

For now, Kaleka is focusing on his Congressional campaign—not on treatment,

Cody Holyoke asked the candidate if he would consider using marijuana again.

“I think now, probably not. I would not use it again going forward because I don't think I need it,” Kaleka answered.

“But if something was to happen that was tragic or traumatic and it brings back all these floods or memories you can't go to sleep with, or you just start crying all of a sudden because you're just in the shower, I don't know. I wouldn't rule it out,” he continued.

Kaleka's Democratic challenger in the primary, Rob Zerban, also believes in decriminalizing marijuana. His campaign released the following statement from Zerban:

"I'm open to examining the laws around marijuana. I support decriminalization, so we're not sending people to prison for possessing small amounts.”

"I also believe we should let the legalization in Colorado and Washington state fully play out so we can see what the impact is on public health, crime, and the economy. The early signs in Colorado are encouraging and it is a debate I welcome."

Republican Congressman Paul Ryan's campaign didn't comment on the topic.