Pubdate: Mon, 12 Aug 2002
Source: Reno Gazette-Journal (NV)
Copyright: 2002 Reno Gazette-Journal
Author: Terry L. Taylor-Fernandez, Aaron Clemenes, Evan Munn, Kathy
Rixner, Betty Kruk


Even users agree with scientific evidence that pot alters mathematical 
reasoning, slows motor functions and limits memorization skills. Of course, 
we don't want accountants, chauffeurs and brain surgeons under the 
influence while performing their duties.

On the other hand, users have strong arguments supporting decriminalization 
of small amounts of marijuana. For artists, pot silences the voices of 
society and the internal critics who would limit their creative nature. The 
colors on a painter's palette are bolder and brighter, a designer fashions 
adornments from a fresh, new perspective. A musician scores a song that 
directs the energy of an enlightened generation.

For athletes, pot heightens the awareness of kinesthetic movement patterns. 
This may explain the amount of smoke brewing in many ski resort parking lots.

Finally, for medicinal users, pot stimulates the appetite of desperate 
cancer patients, who find it difficult to swallow a teaspoon of green 
Jell-O. It also improves the sleep of the terminally ill, concerned about 
bills, pills, and loved ones left behind.

A single puff can lead to enhanced joy and fulfillment. A single puff can 
lead to jail, fines or a costly accident. Our pot smokers need education, 
tolerance, and legalization, not judgment, prohibition and criminalization.

Terry L. Taylor-Fernandez, Reno

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Federal Drug Czar Asa Hutchinson warns us that if we amend our State 
Constitution, we "conflict with federal law" ("Nevada voters evenly split 
on pot issue," Aug. 5). Hutchinson displays great arrogance and ignorance. 
Nevada operates its own police force and courts. Although federal agents 
would remain free to jail marijuana possessors - just as they can close 
roads or possess cattle - Nevada citizens are free to decide whether we 
want our state to subsidize room and board for pot smokers at our 
correctional facilities to the tune of $15,000 a year.

According to FBI statistics, marijuana arrests continue to climb 
nationwide, from fewer than 300,000 in 1991 to almost 750,000 in 2000. 
Marijuana is the seventh most common offense for police arrests. In 1997, 
there were 695,201 marijuana arrests (87 percent for mere possession) with 
717,720 arrests for murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault combined. 
If you want your state tax dollars to go towards jailing violent criminals 
rather than attempting to prevent adults from possessing marijuana, vote 
yes on the upcoming ballot question.

Aaron Clemenes, Carson City

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I am writing in regards to the Aug. 5 article on the marijuana initiative, 
which I see three major problems with: the poll, the quote and the other 
information about the initiative. First, the poll surveyed regular voters, 
not the rest of us, especially the usual non- voter who is motivated by 
this issue. Second, this ridiculously inane quote, "All these people leave 
California to get away from that kind of stuff, and then they get here, 
they want to bring all that stuff with them," from district attorney Dick 
Gammick. That has to be the most oxymoronic comment ever made by an elected 
official. Third, all the facts of this measure need to be in the front of 
the article every time not buried in it. They should be all bold and 
bulleted not just "Legalize marijuana." That just biased readers because 
they don't get the whole initiative. They just get what you think they 
should. Shame on biased reporting.

Evan Munn, Reno

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I would just like to answer Joe Murphy's (Letters Aug. 6) questions that he 
pondered. Zero mini marts are robbed in order for someone to get marijuana. 
Zero prostitutes are on the street strung out on marijuana, and zero people 
are taking up hospital beds because they smoke marijuana. Marijuana is a 
relaxant, a plant that grows from the Earth, God gave us the seed. It does 
not cause one to hallucinate! There are so many things that are made from 
the hemp plant, man! Also, to Amy Youngblood (Letters Aug. 6), how could 
you compare marijuana to alcohol? There is no comparison. Alcohol should be 
illegal; how many people are killed because of drunk drivers? Thousands, 
probably. How many people are killed because someone smoked before they 
drove? I don't know, but there's no comparing the evils of alcohol to the 
relaxing feeling one gets from marijuana.

Kathy Rixner, Reno

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Sadly, the Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs have endorsed the 
initiative to legalize three ounces of marijuana, which will be on the 
November ballot. Andy Anderson, former president of the Association union 
said, "I was a Metro Police officer for 28 years and I spent a lot of time 
booking people on marijuana charges that never went to court."

I say to Mr. Anderson, you did your job, which is what we expect of our law 
enforcement. Taking the suspect to court was someone else's responsibility.

Just because a murder suspect never gets to court because some clever 
attorney is able to prostitute the legal system, do you want to stop 
arresting murder suspects and legalize murder?

If the initiative is approved by the voters, are you willing to take on the 
additional burden of heavier drug use caused by marijuana being the first 
stepping stone?

Shame on the NCOP.

Betty Kruk, Carson City
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