Pubdate: Thu, 04 Jul 2002
Source: Reporter, The (Fond du Lac, WI)
Copyright: 2002 Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers
Author: Dave Antonacci
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Thank you for your series on marijuana. I sincerely appreciate such frank 

I do wish to comment on a thing or two and present a viewpoint I didn't see 

The health concerns presented in a couple of the viewpoints are not based 
upon scientific evidence. Statements like "Marijuana contains more 
carcinogens than tobacco" are factual but extremely misleading. The number 
of chemicals classified as carcinogenic in marijuana is not important. What 
is important is whether any of those chemicals are present in high enough 
doses to be considered carcinogenic in people. The answer is "no." There is 
cyanide in tobacco smoke, but no tobacco smoker ever died from cyanide 
poisoning because the amount is far too small.

Missing from the debate is the viewpoint of a freedom lover. Alcohol 
prohibition required a constitutional amendment because the federal 
government simply does not have the authority to prevent a free person from 
possessing or consuming an intoxicant. No other drug, including marijuana, 
has such a constitutional amendment.

Ultimately, what a free person does in his own home, on his own time, is 
his business alone. The principle of freedom lovers everywhere is that 
government should leave us alone, unless we harm someone else. It is hard, 
indeed, to make the case that a pot smoker is harming anyone other than, 
arguably, himself.

I can legally drink gasoline if I choose and, unquestionably, this will 
harm me. But if I consume a far less dangerous substance that makes me feel 
good, it is illegal and we declare a war on the substance and the user.

My position is that drug prohibition causes far more harm to society than 
drug use and should be discarded, but not forgotten. While many might 
object to the legalization (even with strict regulation) of drugs like 
crack cocaine, I cannot fathom the rationale for prohibiting marijuana and 
jailing those who use, grow and sell it.

Dave Antonacci, Watertown
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