MADISON: Ed Thompson was awarded the first-ever Ben Masel ‘Defender of Liberty’ award by the Wisconsin and Madison chapters of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) at ‘A Cannabis Fair’ in Kendall Wisconsin on Saturday. Dozens of attendees watched as the award was presented by Wisconsin NORML vice president Gary Storck, and Ed spoke for several minutes after accepting it. Jacki Rickert also spoke about her friendship with Ed.

Thompson, a former Tomah Mayor, was the 2002 Libertarian candidate for Wisconsin governor and received over 10% of the vote on a platform that included protecting patients who use medical cannabis. Jacki Rickert, namesake of Wisconsin medical cannabis legislation – The Jacki Rickert Medical Marijuana Act” — served as Thompson’s Buffalo County campaign chair.

Ed Thompson has been battling pancreatic cancer since his diagnosis in 2010 while campaigning against State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) as a pro-medical cannabis Republican. He still nearly prevailed despite having to curtail campaigning due to his treatments. He is the brother of former Wisconsin Governor and US Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson.

Thompson also served with award namesake Ben Masel when Masel was active in the Libertarian Party. Ed’s supper club in Tomah, the Tee Pee, has hosted several Wisconsin NORML state meetings including one in 2010 where Tommy Thompson dropped in to say hello to Ben Masel.

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