Pubdate: Wed, 31 Jul 2002
Source: Reno Gazette-Journal (NV)
Copyright: 2002 Reno Gazette-Journal
Authors: Tom Seiler, William E. Hall, Christopher Bellecy, and Ann Larson


Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick has stated that the current 
initiative to legalize marijuana is just the beginning of an effort to 
legalize all drugs. Where does he get this inside information? I have been 
involved in the medical marijuana movement for a long time and I can't ever 
remember anyone saying anything about legalizing anything other than 
marijuana. In 1996, California passed Proposition 215 the first medical 
marijuana bill in this country. The opponents like Barry McCaffery and Dan 
Lungren used the same argument, that this was just the beginning of an 
effort to legalize all drugs.

Well, Proposition 215 passed six years ago and since that time there has 
not been one bill or one proposition or one piece of legislation to 
legalize any other drug proposed in California or anywhere else in this 
world. It just is not happening, but yet Mr. Gammick claims that legalizing 
all drugs is the real goal. I wish he would tell us where he gets this 

Tom Seiler

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"Officials slam marijuana ballot question," July 21 RGJ: Just as marijuana 
has been erroneously branded a "gateway" drug for decades (the real 
"gateway" drugs are alcohol and tobacco), marijuana decriminalization is 
now being touted by drug war addicted law enforcement officials as the 
"gateway" to a comprehensive legalization of all illicit drugs. With more 
than 62,000 arrests every month, marijuana is the backbone of the drug war 
skeleton. Never in American history, and seldom in world history, has there 
been such massive persecution and prosecution. Lose the marijuana bogeyman 
and the drug war deflates overnight.

It is supremely ironic and a thing of beauty that Nevada, once the most 
marijuana intolerant of states, is now poised on the threshold of a cutting 
edge tolerance that will inevitably be imitated by all the other states. 
One of histories most futile, costly and ridiculous prohibitions is finally 
coming to an end in Nevada.

William E. Hall

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Now that our esteemed federal officials have had their say about the 
initiative to decriminalize cannabis, I'd like to offer another view. The 
feds are concerned about Nevada turning into another Amsterdam. As someone 
who has actually visited that fair city, I can truthfully say that I felt 
safer walking the streets of Amsterdam at 1 a.m. looking for a hotel room 
than I feel walking the streets of my hometown at dusk. But that's 
subjective, so let's look at some facts. Dutch teenagers smoke cannabis at 
about half the rate of U.S. teens. The Dutch have fewer drug-related 
deaths. Crack and methamphetamine are virtually nonexistent, and there are 
no drug gangs killing innocents in drive-by shootings.

The Dutch model shows that separating cannabis from the so-called "hard" 
drugs discourages the use of those drugs. The state initiative conflicts 
with federal law, but that's the point. We have to send a message to our 
representatives in Washington that we're tired of the police state and we 
want to look at other ways of dealing with the issue.

Christopher Bellecy

Carson City
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Naturally, District Attorney Richard Gammick would oppose legalizing three 
ounces or less of marijuana. He comes from law enforcement, and any 
diminishment of policing power troubles such people. The United States 
spends billions of dollars each year on drug interdiction, while the 
problems of drug experimentation, use and addiction worsen, and only a tiny 
portion of the money goes toward treatment for those who want to stop 
using. Marijuana is far less addictive than the very- legal Budweiser most 
law enforcement officers have now in their refrigerators. Wasting Nevada's 
scarce money on arresting, booking and jailing harmless marijuana users is 
a travesty, and if most criminals incur a marijuana charge only after 
they're picked up for something else, then that just means more money to 
fully prosecute the other crime. Remember folks, Prohibition didn't work.

Ann Larson

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