Pubdate: Fri, 17 May 2002
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2002 Newsday Inc.
Author: Kevin Nelson
Note: Headline created by Newshawk


John Walters penned an op-ed piece so patently misleading it could
only be the work of a national drug czar [" 'Harmless' Marijuana?
Don't Bet Your Life on It," Viewpoints, May 3]. Some highlights:

Leading off with the admission "After years of giggling at quaintly
outdated marijuana scare stories," Walters then launches into a set of
"new" marijuana scare stories.

Walters cautions that "marijuana is far from harmless." This is known
as a "straw-man argument," or one that is set up to be easily knocked
down. Who is saying that marijuana is harmless? Living in a free
society means managing acceptable risks. That said, marijuana has the
most benign record of any drug under the sun. Aspirin and caffeine
kill far more people every year than marijuana ever has.

Regarding medical use of the plant, Walters warns: "By opening up
legal loopholes, existing medical marijuana laws have caused police
and prosecutors to stay away from marijuana prosecutions." Tell that
to the family of author Peter McWilliams, killed by the vicious
federal drug war bureaucracy, who denied him his one effective
anti-nausea medicine.

Marijuana prohibition has been responsible for countless deaths as
well as the arrest of 13 million Americans since 1970. Is that
harmless? This repressive, brutal, counterproductive policy is as
fraudulent now as it ever was. John Walters is merely the latest
apologist for it.

Bow, Wash.
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