Pubdate: Tue, 09 Jul 2002
Source: Daily Californian, The (CA Edu)
Copyright: 2002 The Daily Californian
Author: Sean Porter, B. Moore, and Patricia Schwarz


I am totally mortified at Salar Jahedi's column on people who take illegal 
drugs ("A Drug-Free Berkeley," July 5).

I don't know where to begin, except to say that if Salar thinks marijuana 
smokers are dragging this country down, he should think again. I have been 
to Holland, where the Planet of the Ape drug policies we have are 
repudiated. Holland has decriminalized marijuana and has made it safe to 
procure (unlike in the U.S. where you buy from sleazy people). Holland also 
has one of the highest gross national products in the world. Their 
unemployment rate is lower than the unemployment rate in the U.S. Teen drug 
use in Holland is only a fraction of the that of the U.S. They also don't 
have drive-by gangster style shootings like we do. I could go on.

What I do in the privacy of my home is none of anyone's damn business. 
That's what is suppose to make America great, not fanatical crusading drug 
warriors with an ax to grind.

Finally, the drug warriors seem to also think that alcohol is a good drug. 
You watch the superbowl with commercials promoting Budweiser and then other 
commercials linking marijuana smokers to Osama bin Laden. The hypocrisy is 
out there for the world to see.

If we are going to prohibit substances, let's prohibit alcohol. It has 
caused more death and destruction that any other drug combined. Besides, I 
despise alcoholics. But the drug warriors coddle them and feel sorry for 
them, while marijuana smokers face the brutality of the American criminal 
justice system.

If Salar and his controlling drug warrior friends want harsh drug laws, 
please move to Singapore or Malaysia. But please, don't trash American 
freedoms with your drug warrior hysteria. Just leave me the hell alone.

Sean Porter

New Orleans, Louisiana
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In his most recent column, Salar Jahedi states, "The government is by no 
means obligated to support the habits of law-breaking individuals. In fact, 
an individual who knows that his financial aid will be cut off if he is 
caught smoking and decides to smoke anyway is not the most studious of 
students. Either that, or he is ready to provide for his own education."

Not true. Students who smoke in spite of the law are doing what they 
believe they have the right to do. Why should the government be able to 
attack harmless pot smokers who actually want to attend college while 
rapists and murderers can still get financial aid? Shouldn't we want kids 
these days to want to go to college?

The problem in this country these days is education. We pay our teachers 
low salaries. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush just signed a new budget for education 
that gives himself a nice little raise but cuts back credits students take 
in high school. This doesn't make sense to me.

I say the first priority of the government should be education. And when we 
go off and punish students that actually want to learn, it upsets me 
horribly. These kids actually want to go to college. They're not sitting at 
mom and dad's house smoking all day while accomplishing nothing. They're in 
school. Let them do what they want within reason as long as they're 
learning. The best way to shape a great country is good education, and we 
are moving in the wrong direction.

We need to start realizing cannabis is a part of our culture and people 
will toke up no matter what. Spending billions of taxpayers' dollars to 
keep pot smokers behind bars is ridiculous, and it needs to stop.

Our country and schools need to focus on more important things; weed is not 
one of them.

B. Moore

Gainesville, Florida
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I support firmly Salar Jahedi's position on a drug-free Berkeley ("A 
Drug-Free Berkeley," July 5). After all, Benito Mussolini made the trains 
run on time in Italy and he didn't accomplish that by letting people do 
whatever they wanted. Fascists have always gotten a bad rap by the liberal 
media. State authority means more than life itself and anyone who dares to 
go against the authority of the American state deserves to be forced into 
permanent illiteracy and sentenced to a lifetime of menial servitude.

So let's tear up the Bill of Rights, put on some nice clean brown shirts, 
and go out and beat up some potheads.

Patricia Schwarz

Pasadena, Calif.
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