Pubdate: Fri, 09 Jun 2000
Date: 06/09/2000
Source: Mountain Xpress (NC)
Author: Kevin Nelson

It was fascinating to read Joseph Howard's diatribe against all things
marijuana [letters, May 24, "Skip the pot, get a life"]. In typical
fashion, befitting many finger-wagging baby boomers, Mr. Howard smoked
his share in the 1970s - "back when everyone was doing it" - and now
delivers his condescending sermon upon the current crowd of cannabis
freedom fighters.

Mr. Howard asks: Why fight for marijuana legalization when there are
so many other urgent concerns in the world today?

For starters, America currently has the largest prison system in the
history of the world. Twelve million Americans have been arrested [on]
marijuana [charges] since 1970. Would you be better off today, Mr.
Howard, if you had been among these hapless individuals - who may have
lost their jobs, driver's licenses, college loans, or custody of their
children? There are numerous laws that single out and punish marijuana
smokers, uniquely, with no corollary statutes addressing violent
crimes - i.e., California's "Smoke a Joint, Lose Your License".

As for concern that purchasing marijuana supports drug cartels in
foreign countries: Let people grow their own. Gee, why didn't I think
of that? Oh wait, I did. It must be that marijuana clouding my
reasoning abilities again.

Mr. Howard, how would you feel if drug agents kicked in your door in
the middle of the night and blew away your loved one while looking for
pot plants?

Whoopsy daisy, wrong address!

It happens frequently.

Your chief concern seems to be that marijuana is not a "safe and
harmless drug." My chief concern is that marijuana prohibition is a
counterproductive fraud, start to finish.

It was born of racism, it is sustained by denial, and it brings more
harm and violence into the world than legalizing marijuana ever could.

If you ever get to feeling terribly guilty for your past indiscretions
with marijuana, Mr. Howard, you are always welcome to turn yourself in
and serve a few years in prison, in solidarity with the "law."

Kevin Nelson
Bow, Wash.

[Editor's note: A letter printed in our May 24 issue by Joseph Howard
- "Skip the pot, get a life" - apparently created a firestorm of
controversy across America, after being posted on Web sites such as
the one run by the Media Awareness Project. Because of the number of
responses, some of the letters below are appearing only online.]