Pubdate: Wed, 28 Feb 2001
Source: SF Weekly (CA)
Copyright: 2001 New Times Inc
Contact:  185 Berry, Lobby 4, Suite 3800, San Francisco, CA 94107
Authors: Van E. Estes III, Michael Krawitz, J.M. Kowalski, Ph.D., Chuck 
Dalehouse, Scott McCrea, Tom O'Connell, M.D.
Referenced: Columns


We Took Journalism, But We Didn't Inhale:

Matt Smith's Feb. 14 message to medical pot users ("Smoke and Smearers") 
was as far removed from the spirit of St. Valentine as could be. It must 
have been severe indigestion indeed that prompted the nasty spew he 
directed at what he calls "the doobied classes," against whom he 
(unnecessarily) admits to having a prejudice.

Smith has two apparent goals: One is to defend the honor, integrity, and 
employment of embattled Marin DA Paula Kamena, who is facing a recall 
election in May. He presents Kamena as a prosecutorial St. Joan, simply 
intent on protecting Marin citizens against the evils of medical pot, which 
Smith assures us is "a bale of hokum meant to give drug profiteers broader 

He also wants to heap scorn on medical marijuana proponents: dangerous 
people, whose mere exercise of constitutional rights menaces "the 
fundaments of egalitarianism and democracy."

Stripped of Smith's pompous rhetoric, the nexus of his and Kamena's error 
is that the law they disagree with was passed overwhelmingly in 1996; 
loosely written or not, it's on the books. It -- not federal law -- is the 
one Kamena is sworn and obligated by California to uphold, like it or not.

Smith has left out most of the facts in this case and distorted those he's 
included. Whatever his over-the-top essay represents, it's neither accurate 
reporting nor reasonable opinion; and it sure as hell isn't journalism.

In fact, it's exactly what his headline accused Kamena's opponents of 
conducting: It's a smear.

Tom O'Connell, M.D., San Mateo

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Tendentious? Effluvia? Excoriating? Try Putting Down The Dictionary.:

I have to say that this is the most tendentious pile of badly executed, 
ill-begotten, sophistic flotsam I have read in a long, long, long time 
(excepting, of course, the editorial page of the New York Times).

Do they actually pay you for such coprography? Unbelievable. Since you 
write for a commie rag, I have a feeling you are one of those puerile 
phonies who label themselves "progressive." But that is a pool of effluvia 
I will wade into at another time.

It's funny that you support people who refuse to uphold the law while 
excoriating (I realize that word is too big for you. Look it up. In the 
thick book. The one that says "Dictionary.") people who are working legally 
to accomplish their goals. Lenin and Stalin would be proud of you.

The simple fact is that the war on drugs is destroying liberty at home and 
entire nations abroad. Our police have become militarized, arrogant, and 
completely out of control. They despoil citizens of their property without 
trial. Our freedom is evaporating all around us. Whatever happened to real 
liberals? You rabidly lick your chops over the thought of pot smokers in 
prison. It won't stop there. When they come for you I hope you will 
remember the words of Martin Niemöller: "Then they came for me and ... 
there was no one left to speak up for me."

So, while you wallow in the hate-filled, mean-spirited muck that is your 
soul, I'm gonna light up a fatty of exotic, imported smoking material and 
enjoy myself.

Scott McCrea, Las Vegas, Nev.

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Weed Killers:

Duuuuuuude, your article and viewpoint are so lame. In the sentence "Like 
other practitioners of the Politics of Base Urges -- gun nuts, death 
penalty advocates, etc.," you forgot the category to which you belong: 
journalists who try to sway others with absurdly misguided views. You are 
clearly trying to place pot smokers in the same category as violent, 
gun-wielding thugs (witness your Rambo illustration, bursting from a jungle 
of hemp, or the statement "armed-and-dangerous marijuana entrepreneurs"). 
Trying to scare readers into thinking that those who inhale the "acrid 
smoke" of ganja are destined to commit violent acts on society is stupid. 
Unless you are extremely ignorant, you may have noticed that people under 
the influence of marijuana are the most mellow, laid-back, and nonviolent 
folks you can find.

Have you ever considered demonizing the real drug that leads to the 
overwhelming number of roadway fatalities, violent crimes, and date rape? 
Perchance you have heard of this harmful but perfectly legal substance 
known as ... alcohol.

If what you say about Kamena acting as a fair official, allowing legitimate 
patients to possess medical marijuana, is true, then I agree she should not 
be recalled. However, to make your argument, you portray those who use 
ganja as stupid, lowlife losers bent on ruining society with lies and 
violence. The technique you use is a common trait with weak journalism. You 
have to resort to sensational exaggerations to make a point, instead of 
using facts, logic, and good writing skills to convince readers.

Chuck Dalehouse, Ingleside

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High "Crimes":

Matt Smith's recent diatribe against marijuana users was an unnecessary bit 
of hatred directed against some people whose only "crime" is wanting to use 
a particular psychoactive substance. Characterizing marijuana users as 
teenagers "staring endlessly at a light bulb," or [people who] might often 
be "curled into a paranoid, catatonic ball," is nothing but hate.

If a DA is going after medical marijuana users -- who might be using the 
stuff legally -- then by all means the voters should give the DA the boot. 
Such a DA is only wasting the taxpayers' money, and increasing the 
likelihood for civil rights abuses and lawsuits.

It is tragic that Mr. Smith is too blinded by his hatred and prejudice 
against marijuana users to see the obvious point.

J.M. Kowalski, Ph.D., Vancouver, Wash.

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We Thought It Was Irony Till We Saw "Va.":

I read your story about those marijuana people who want to make that nice 
prosecutor lose her job, and I want to thank you. You are right, those 
marijuana people are bad people who should all die. Those marijuana people 
just want to make children have to take their drugs and then they will be 
bad people like them who should also die.

My father told me that more people voted for marijuana in California than 
voted for the president and they should all die. He said we should nuke 
'em. He said that we should start by bombing San Francisco because that is 
where all the gay people run the marijuana business from. I am glad you are 
in California telling people the truth, but you should make sure you leave 
before the government bombs all the marijuana people.

Michael Krawitz, Ironto, Va.

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Can He Use You As A Reference?:

Simply put, Matt, you are one dumb, arrogant, prejudiced, misinformed m-f 
when it comes to medical marijuana and the potential recall of DAs who 
refuse to abide by Proposition 215. You need a job in Washington where your 
abilities can be put to their best use at the Office of National Drug 
Control Policy.

Van E. Estes III, Hendersonville, N.C.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake