Friday, December 9th, 2016

Masel losing battle to lung cancer

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Sad news from the wacky world of Madison politics. Legalized marijuana advocate and general leftwing political gadfly Ben Masel is losing a battle with 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.

He’d just had his fifth of 25 radiation treatments and will have a 10-day break before he begins chemotherapy. During that time he intends to travel to Denver for the national conference of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).

I am not going to get into the whole legalization debate as I have mixed feelings on the subject. I also don’t have much interest in the subject since I am very unlikely to run afoul of the laws banning marijuana use.

Masel is something of an optimist, even willing to wager money last autumn on a Feingold win, so this is not a premature obituary. (For the record, I won $20.) I will never understand the desire of someone to be “high” so frequently to the point where he would actually become an advocate for his favorite drug and make it his life’s work. On the other hand, it is Madison, and Masel does add to the ambiance of the place.

Let us pray for a miraculous recovery or a peaceful passing, even if Masel says, “If I’m going to be deceased today, I can’t think of a better place than in the rotunda.”

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