Pubdate: Tue, 04 Jun 2002
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2002 Hearst Communications Inc.
Author: Robert Sharpe
Section: Letters to Datebook


  Editor -- Kudos to Jon Carroll for highlighting the hypocrisy of a 
federal government that grows (lousy) marijuana for some patients while 
arresting and jailing others ("Ever needed 19 cookies at 2 in the morning?" 
May 20). That the many politicians ridiculed by Carroll likely smoked pot 
makes the hypocrisy all the more glaring. Most Americans outgrow their 
youthful indiscretions involving drugs. An arrest and criminal record, on 
the other hand, can be life-shattering. After admitting to smoking pot (but 
not inhaling), Clinton opened himself up to "soft on drugs" criticism. And 
thousands of Americans have paid the price. More Americans went to prison 
or jail during the Clinton administration than during any past administration.

As an admitted former drinker and alleged illicit drug user, President 
George W. Bush is also politically vulnerable over drugs. While youthful 
indiscretions didn't stop Clinton or Bush from assuming leadership 
positions, an arrest surely would have. The short-term health effects of 
marijuana are inconsequential compared to the long-term effects of a 
criminal record.

ROBERT SHARPE Washington, D.C.
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