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Wisconsin’s Great Pot Advocate Dying of Lung Cancer

At one time or another, anyone on the left or right, has battled with Ben Masel on something.  It’s been both cordial and…well, interesting.

That being said, this is sad news nonetheless.

Ben Masel, the longtime face of the movement to legalize marijuana in Madison, is dying of lung cancer.

Doctors can’t say whether there’s a direct connection between Masel’s cancer and his marijuana use, since he also smoked tobacco for 40 years. But unlike his cigarette use, which was light but long term, Masel acknowledges his marijuana smoking has been heavy “by anybody’s standards.”

Dr. Michael Fiore, director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention, said it’s impossible to determine what caused Masel’s lung cancer.

What is known is that the longer a person smokes, and the more cigarettes he or she smokes, the greater the risk of lung cancer, Fiore said. “In terms of marijuana and lung cancer the jury is still out, but the answer is that it is probably a cause of lung cancer.”

Masel, 56, was diagnosed with lung cancer in January and learned two weeks ago the cancer was stage IV, meaning it has spread beyond his lungs. Medical scans showed that the cancer has metastasized past a cure, he said.

At that point, his treatment strategy went from “cure to contain,” he said this week from his home away from home, EVP Coffee on East Washington Avenue.

During the Senate race, Masel was so confident of a Feingold win of 100,000 votes,  he offered via Twitter a bet on August 24th.  Even money odds, $50 minimum bet / $500 maximum bet.

We on the Johnson campaign were privately barred from taking him up on it.

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