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(Re: “Decriminalizing marijuana won’t help society,” cover story, April 16.) In “Legalize it?” John J. Coleman made some misleading arguments against legalization of marijuana. He implied that the Supreme Court struck down the Marihuana Tax Act because it generated little tax revenue. Actually, the Supreme Court was forced to declare the tax act unconstitutional because it violated the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination (Leary v. United States, 395 US 6, 1969). Yes, that was Dr. Timothy Leary.
Coleman went on to say that chemists will soon be able to “synthesize the truly beneficial molecules and concentrate them in higher dosage strengths.” First of all, why would anyone want to synthesize something that already exists in nature? And second, why would anyone choose to consume a synthetic lab chemical when they could get more benefit from a naturally occurring plant?
I do agree with Dr. Coleman, however, on the fact that marijuana would not generate much tax revenue. A marijuana grower who
has been risking felony drug charges for many years is not going to voluntarily start paying taxes just because the government lowers the risk to tax evasion.
John J. Coleman is correct that “Decriminalizing Marijuana Won’t Help Society,” but not for the reason he thinks. Decriminalization keeps control of marijuana in the hands of outlaws and prevents the regulation that would lower teen use. So long as growing and selling marijuana is illegal, there can be no civil control of the cannabis market. The notion that marijuana prohibition is stopping anyone who wants pot from getting it is a bigger delusion than any drug-induced hallucination.
Legalizing marijuana for adult use will end the “drug crime” associated with cannabis and save the country more than $14 billion in reduced enforcement, court and incarceration expenses and increased tax revenues.
After more than 70 straight years of reefer madness failure it’s time to end the lunatic war against pot.
Ralph Givens/Daly City, Calif.
“Marijuana is a potent neuro-toxin that if used excessively may lead to severe and lasting psychosis.” Did Dr. Coleman just watch Reefer Madness? I’m not sure what Mr. Coleman’s doctorate is in, but he appears to be ignorant of the true nature of marijuana or the concept of therapeutic ratio. Marijuana has one of the safest therapeutic ratios of any substance, while alcohol has one of the worst. Mr. Coleman would be hard pressed to find any legitimate physician or pharmacologist that agrees that marijuana is a “potent neuro-toxin.” Alcohol is much more harmful for the individual and society in general — ask any front-line ER doc, social worker or practicing psychologist. For his argument to be consistent, we should go ahead with both alcohol and nicotine, as well.
Kevin Clark/via Internet
(Re: “Rethinking drinking,” cover story, April 16.) At CU we play our football games on Folsom Field.
Aaron Furey/via Internet
(Re: “Legalize It? Yes or No?,” cover story, April 16.) John J. Coleman makes the common mistake of assuming that punitive marijuana laws actually reduce use. The University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Study reports that lifetime use of marijuana is higher in the United States than any European country, yet America is one of the few Western countries that still criminalizes citizens who prefer marijuana to martinis. Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. The short-term health effects of marijuana are inconsequential compared to the long-term effects of criminal records.
Unfortunately, marijuana represents the counterculture to many Americans. In subsidizing the prejudices of culture warriors, government is subsidizing organized crime. The drug war’s distortion of immutable laws of supply and demand causes big money to grow on little trees. The only clear winners in the war on marijuana are drug cartels and shameless tough-on-drugs politicians who’ve built careers confusing drug prohibition’s collateral damage with a relatively harmless plant. The big losers in this battle are the taxpayers who have been deluded into believing big government is the appropriate response to non-traditional consensual vices.
Robert Sharpe, MPA/Washington, DC
Don’t punish medical marijuana users
Rocky Mountain Caregivers Cooperative is encouraging concerned citizens to call the Boulder District Attorney to protest the prosecution of medical cannabis patient Jason Lauve.
Jason was severely injured when a snowboarder hit him from behind while Jason was waiting in a lift line at Eldora Ski Area. The accident left Jason permanently disabled and in severe chronic pain. Fortunately, cannabis helps control his pain. Jason found it was a safer, healthier and less expensive alternative to strong and addictive narcotics and nerve blockers. On his physician’s advice, Jason obtained his Medical Marijuana Registry card in February 2005. He was in 100 percent compliance with all the laws and regulations required to use medicinal cannabis in Colorado.
However, in June 2008, Jason was arrested and charged with felony possession of marijuana by the Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett. Why is DA Garnett so intent on pursuing felony charges against Jason, a legal patient with no previous criminal record?
Jason did nothing wrong and has followed the letter of the law at every step. Public officials like the Boulder DA need to educate themselves on how Colorado’s Medical Marijuana law is supposed to protect patients from prosecution. Until they do, it’s up to concerned citizens to put pressure on their elected officials to uphold the Constitution and stop arresting sick people. Please contact Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett and ask him to drop all charges against Jason Lauve and stop prosecuting patients.
Timothy Tipton/via Internet
With the 10th anniversary of the tragedy at Columbine High School upon us, perhaps it’s time we all took stock of everything that has been occurring during the past 10 years.
We’ve seen three presidents, massive shifts in the confidence we have in our elected and appointed officials, growing budgets for law enforcement and technologies improved for security, correctional facilities and schools.
Has it helped? Unfortunately, no.
We have Colorado license plates with “Respect Life” emblazoned on them, and I would like to think that they honor the lives sadly lost on that tragic day on 4/20/1999. But I can say that the reasoning behind displaying many of them has nothing to do with Columbine High.
Some people I’ve spoken to say that they know the original thought behind their introduction, but many others are showing that they want stricter gun control and to halt the sale of military-style weaponry and illegal purchase of same, and still others say they want to protest the senseless destruction of precious, viable life in wars of dubious motives, and still others want them because they show Colorado’s state flower and are pretty. And, as we all saw at Platte Valley, having armed personnel in schools is no guarantee of safety, either.
We must never forget that only Klebold and Harris could say for sure why they did what they did, but they are dead and gone. We can teach our children that violence is a lousy way to express yourself and that schools are a place to cherish the educational experience, but most of all, we need to learn from our tragedies and take necessary steps to ensure that they will never be repeated.
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