Pubdate: Sun, 27 Oct 2002
Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Copyright: 2002 The Orange County Register
Author: Rick L. Root
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


In reference to the congressional call for an inquiry into what U.S. 
officials knew about al-Qaida threats before the Sept. 11 attacks, Audrey 
Wicks rhetorically asks, "What American in his right mind could have had 
such information and not put out an alarm?" [Letters, Oct. 16] - as if it 
were a given that our leaders are incapable of considering average citizens 
to be expendable. The question deserves much more than cursory agreement to 
its implied rhetorical answer - not as an indictment of government 
involvement but as a means to show that government is capable of such 

There are many who claim FDR knew of and allowed the attack on Pearl Harbor 
in order to sway public opinion toward entering World War II. If true, his 
administration had to consider Americans to be expendable in order to 
advance its desired policy. Even more compelling evidence exists that 
suggests LBJ was aware of the gross inaccuracies in his Gulf of Tonkin 
speech, which served to escalate our involvement in Vietnam. Again, if 
true, leadership decided American lives to be expendable in the advancement 
of desired policy.

Of course, there are other examples that might indicate areas of our 
government do indeed consider citizens to be expendable for the advancement 
of policy. But most of us by nature will continue to trust those who lead 
us, and to dismiss contrary claims as loony conspiracy theories, until such 
time as irrefutable proof is laid in our hands.

But for me and millions of other Americans, absolute proof is in our hands. 
That proof: marijuana.

Over the last four decades, marijuana use has become commonplace in 
America. In that time, millions from all walks of life have used it 
recreationally without harm. Its medicinal qualities are recognized and 
taken advantage of by tens of thousands of sick and dying Americans who 
have found a non-toxic means of improving the quality of their lives. Yet 
government and most politicians from both parties continue to refuse the 
facts, both anecdotal and clinical, to promote and protect the prohibition 
against and the Class 1 scheduling of marijuana. They lie to us. Millions 
of Americans know the truth from years and years of first- and second-hand 
experiences with the herb. The lies are told to protect and advance 
policies, programs and business dependent upon its prohibition, which has 
caused great harm to millions of good Americans. People are expendable for 
the sake of desired policy.

Marijuana doesn't kill. No one has ever died from its ingestion. Yet 
government has you believe otherwise. They would have you believe marijuana 
is addictive. Hardly. Marijuana is being used successfully as a means of 
beating addiction to drugs that kill, such as alcohol. But don't take my 
word for it or government's. Simply look around your community. Where are 
the bodies that marijuana supposedly claims? Where are the signs of harm? 
Look in your jails and prisons - there's your harm. The harms of marijuana 
are slight compared to the harms of marijuana prohibition.

Or look at the treatment of a local medical marijuana user. AIDS patient 
Ross Embry of Laguna Beach ["O.C. case a test for medical marijuana," Local 
News, Oct.16] was arrested for cultivating his medicine. Now he is 
suffering, and he will suffer further - not from the use of marijuana but 
from the government lies that prop up its prohibition. Is he expendable for 
the sake of the government's desired policy?

"What American in his right mind could have had such information and not 
put out an alarm?" the letter-writer asked.

Good question, Ms. Wicks. Alarms are sounded yet apathy prevails. Or worse, 
messengers are dismissed because the message is unpopular. The tyranny 
isn't as much that government boldly lies as it is that the majority 
blindly believes.

Rick L. Root

The Westminster resident is operations manager for a machinery manufacturer 
in Santa Ana.
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