Pubdate: Tue, 06 Mar 2001
Source: Frederick News Post (MD)
Copyright: 2001 Great Southern Printing and Manufacturing Company
Address: 200 East Patrick Street, PO Box 578, Frederick, MD 21705-0578
Fax: 301-662-8299
Author: Michael Barnes


There have been two letters on recent Frederick News-Post Letters to
the Editor pages that I feel need to be addressed, lest the public be
mislead by what amounts to anti-drug propaganda.

The first letter that should be addressed is from Christopher Petrella
(Feb. 24, "No marijuana for sick people") from Frederick. He voices
his displeasure with Delegate Louise Snodgrass' support of the medical
marijuana bill before the House of Delegates' Judiciary Committee. He
then launches into a stream of rhetoric and character assassination
that makes him look not like the "strong Republican" he claims to be,
but more of a Clintonista. Any Republican that is opposed to this bill
is indeed thinking not like a small-government conservative, but a
big-government liberal. His letter is full of attacks and barbs, yet
he doesn't pose any real insight as to why he is opposed to the bill.
He does have a few good questions toward the end, such as who will
regulate it, who will grow it and so on.

Again, for a Republican (Republicans essentially believe in smaller
government, but I am finding that out to be further and further from
the truth), his questions invoke the ever expanding role of government.

The other letter that needs to be addressed is a little more serious
in tone, yet at the same time it too is misinformed. The letter I am
referring to was published Feb. 26 ("Pot not that bad?") by Cassie
Hartzell. I fully empathize with Ms. Hartzell's plight and the
problems that her friends may have had with their addictions. Her
description of her friends' problems are indeed sad, but in no way
should be attributed to marijuana use.

However her statement that marijuana is a gateway drug, unfortunately,
does not hold water. In fact, the gateway theory has been debunked and
discredited. The gateway theory is simply a statistic manipulated for
the benefit of those who are in favor of larger government involvement
in personal lives. Put in layman's terms the gateway theory (or
Stepping Stone theory) states that those who use marijuana go on to
abuse harder and harder drugs. While it can be said that most people
who have used cocaine have used marijuana, the inverse is the exact
opposite: most marijuana users have never tried cocaine. Also her
statement begins with "started out drinking" -- maybe that could have
been his gateway?

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