WHY LETTER TO THE EDITOR WRITING IS IMPORTANT
DrugSense FOCUS Alert #453 - Saturday, September 18th, 2010
This November voters will decide state wide initiatives of importance to the drug policy reform community.
Newspaper clippings about California's Proposition 19 are MAP posted at http://www.mapinc.org/find?272
Clippings about Arizona's Proposition 203 are at http://www.mapinc.org/find?273 and Oregon's Measure 74 at http://www.mapinc.org/find?276
Your letters in response to the newspaper articles and opinions are an important part of educating the voters.
Good advice about prioritizing your letter writing targets is provided by Robert Sharpe, who has had 2,358 letters published, http://www.mapinc.org/resource/tips.htm
Facts you may find of value are at http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/node/53 and http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/node/54
Below is a small selection of letters by folks like you published to date. In a close election your letters could make the difference.
"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
SEVERAL REASONS TO SUPPORT PROP. 19
Recent polls show only a narrow lead for Proposition 19, the initiative that would legalize personal use and possession of modest amounts of marijuana for people over 21. I am not a marijuana user, but this puzzles me, since there are a host of reasons for supporting it.
The legal sale and use of marijuana will: 1) generate California tax revenue instead of revenue for foreign drug organizations; 2 ) shift production and distribution from unscrupulous criminals to law-abiding businesses; 3 ) limit sales to minors because, like alcohol, sales can be monitored and rules enforced; 4 ) reduce crime because business disputes can be addressed with courts, not guns; 5 ) increase the product safety of a widely used substance that is currently unregulated; and 6 ) alleviate prison overcrowding and redirect law enforcement resources to dangerous crimes.
Donald G. Pellinen
VOTE 'YES' ON PROPOSITION 19
I just want to comment on Sheriff Royal's reply to publisher Jeff Ackerman's column on the so-called "post busts." Yes, illegal acts are being committed, as the Sheriff points out. But, one must ask oneself, "why"? For the simple reason that profits generated by illegal marijuana by the murderous thugs in Mexican drug cartels are absolutely obscene, not to mention the horrible costs of human suffering, here and in Mexico. Law enforcement folks around our state who rail against making marijuana legal are, by and large, missing the point. Let's put these murderers out of business once and for all. Take away their profits ... Vote "YES" on Proposition 19.
THE POT PROBLEM
No one wants to keep marijuana illegal more than the drug lords.
Legalizing and taxing marijuana could put the cartels and the gangs out of the marijuana business - if Proposition 19 passes and the counties wisely use the regulatory powers it is designed to give them.
Legalization would take away the huge economic incentive for the terrorism, corruption and killing. It would relieve our law enforcement officers of the burden of busting people for marijuana possession so they can concentrate resources on real crimes. Finally, legalization and taxation would channel the revenue from marijuana taxes into essential public services and help balance California's budget.
ALL OVER AGAIN
After reading about crime after crime in the Times-Standard, I would like to weigh in on a proposal about the pending Proposition 19 marijuana legalization initiative.
Recently, this paper handed the bully pulpit to some who are against legalization. I am a simple man who uses this medicinal herb for an eye condition, and the aforementioned opinions do not take into consideration the people who need an alternative means of relief.
After prohibition, the government legalized and taxed liquor and took the profits out of the industry. Well, duh. Yogi Berra Sr. said it pretty well when he said, "It's deja vu all over again."
LEGALIZE POT, HURT CARTELS
Re "We're part of Mexico's drug war" (Marcos Breton, Sept. 1): Marcos Breton is right that we are part of Mexico's drug war. However, when he says that legalizing marijuana in California would be an insult to Mexico, he seriously misses the mark.
What do Mexican officials on the front line of that drug war say? In December, the Wall Street Journal quoted "a senior Mexican official who has spent more than two decades helping fight the government's war on drugs" as saying, "Economically, there is no argument or solution other than legalization, at least of marijuana."
He is not alone. the Journal reported: "Growing numbers of Mexican and U.S. officials say at least privately that the biggest step in hurting the business operations of Mexican cartels would be simply to legalize their main product: marijuana. ("Saving Mexico," Wall Street Journal, Dec. 26, 2009.)
Will legalizing marijuana in California eliminate the cartels overnight? Undoubtedly not. Will it seriously hurt them if we cut their income in half? Clearly, the answer is yes. This November, let's seriously hurt the cartels. Vote yes on Proposition 19.
Steve Meinrath, Sacramento
WAR ON DRUGS IS A LOSING BATTLE
Lots of speculation in the papers on the value of California's marijuana crop and the amount of taxes that will be collected if Proposition 19 passes. Nobody knows that answer and you can't even make an "educated" guess.
As of today, the illegally grown or imported marijuana goes for $300 an ounce. The legal medicinal marijuana has a known price too. The illegal homegrown is as free as growing flowers or tomatoes.
Will the illegal growers/importers even stay in the business if the price drops to $30 an ounce, or whatever the legal medicinal price is? I seriously doubt it.
Will the illegal homegrown producers, even if for only their own use, pay the tax on their crop?
Remember two things:
1) We have not been able to make a dent in the amount of illegal marijuana available with our war on drugs.
2) Al Capone did not go to prison for murder or violation of the Volstead Act. He went to prison for tax evasion.
Face it, folks, if you want to control marijuana, you will only do so through the tax code. Crime pays.
Fred Boest, Red Bluff
PROHIBITION MAKES OUTLAWS
Re "Legalize it?" by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, August 5):
The time to legalize marijuana is coming, whether some people like or not. Those who oppose it will bring out every boogeyman that you can think of. There will never be a proposed law they like.
We need to pass Proposition 19. If there are problems, we can fix it. That is no different than most things in life. Trial and error is the way we learn.
The present system of prohibition makes outlaws out of our children and friends. Prohibition fuels a significant portion of drug violence, especially in Mexico. The current laws add to our prison population.
We need to change it now. If we wait for the perfect law, it will never happen. All the dire consequences that are proposed are with us now, with prohibition. Pass Prop. 19 this year!
MARIJUANA LIKE ALCOHOL
For some reason, marijuana has wrongly been treated in law as if it were an addictive narcotic such as heroin or cocaine.
However, marijuana differs from such drugs in that it does not produce physical addiction. Therefore, it would make sense for the law to be consistent, regard it in the same vein as alcohol and legalize it, with due provision for the same kind of controls that are imposed on the production and consumption of alcohol.
Doing so would destroy the black market that makes trafficking in marijuana so obscenely lucrative. Obviously, my vote will be "yes" on Proposition 19 in November.
Raymond C. Backes
Prepared by: Richard Lake, Focus Alert Specialist www.mapinc.org
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