Pubdate: Thu, 01 Nov 2001
Source: Salt Lake City Weekly (UT)
Copyright: 2001 Copperfield Publishing
Author: Mark Lehrer


I am glad to see the tone of discussion around marijuana becoming more 
reasonable ["Pot Shots," Oct. 18, City Weekly]. I don't necessarily think 
pot is good for anyone, and I agree that the government should try to 
reduce drug use. However, I don't think arrests and jail are a good idea; 
they have a much worse effect on someone's life than the drug does in the 
first place. There are a few comments I would like to make about the article:

The stereotypes in the article are appallingly bad. I don't mean to be 
insulting here, but to use three high school dropouts as your group of pot 
smokers is the government's propaganda machine's wet dream. Most people I 
have talked to about this issue didn't start until they were in college. 
How about including some businessmen and professionals in your next 
article? How about some information on Sir Paul McCartney's, Al Gore's and 
Carl Sagan's use of marijuana? There simply is no such thing as a "typical" 
marijuana user...please don't reinforce the ridiculous stereotypes.

Please do more to expose the government's propaganda campaign. They haven't 
incorporated any new, unbiased scientific study since marijuana was made 
illegal in the '30s.

Because of marijuana's schedule I status, the government must approve all 
scientific studies. The only studies they allow must agree ahead of time to 
have a negative result. Several high-profile studies over the years, an 
early one by New York Mayor LaGuardia, by the Nixon administration and most 
recently by the World Health Organization, have been completely ignored by 
our government because they recommended decriminalization of marijuana.

There are many disturbing examples of the government's anti-marijuana 
propaganda campaign. First, our government will claim that marijuana causes 
brain damage. The study that "proves" this was done by giving a monkey 63 
joints in five minutes. The brain damage was caused by suffocation, not 
THC. Second, the government funded a study by the Medical College of 
Virginia, expecting to find immunicological problems from cannabis smoke. 
When it was found to reduce the size of cancerous tumors in mice, the 
government canceled the study; and has refused to fund any further 
research. Third, our government has spent millions to genetically engineer 
a fungus to kill marijuana, regardless of the potential environmental 
consequences; for example, what if it mutated and started killing corn plants?

Thanks for the thought-provoking article.

- -Mark Lehrer, Salt Lake City
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