Pubdate: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (AK)
Copyright: 2004 Fairbanks Publishing Company, Inc.
Author: Danny Dominick
Cited: Proposition 2 ( )
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Ballot Initiatives)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Opinion)


To the editor:

It seems rather sad to me that the measure to decriminalize marijuana
has once again been voted down by the residents of Alaska. It appears
that the degree of failure that this ballot measure has experienced is
mostly a result of two large factors: the inability of most Alaskans
to consider the facts of the issue, and an intrinsically
uncompromising and paranoid American frame of mind.

When I was 20 years old, I moved to the Netherlands. I lived there
from 1999 through 2001. Admittedly, I was quite shocked in the
beginning of my stay in that country at the degree of liberalism and
openness with which the Dutch live. However, even at a relatively
young age I quickly realized that my feelings and thoughts about
issues such as marijuana use were molded entirely by the uptight,
conservative American society I was raised in.

Throughout my stay in Holland I was increasingly surprised at the
number of people I met who had never smoked marijuana. I often felt
compelled to ask these people "why not?" The most common response:
"Smoking marijuana is just no big deal."

Individual experiences vary, and counterarguments to the claim that
marijuana doesn't have to be a big deal are often swift and sharp, but
the facts speak for themselves:

In Holland fewer than 30 percent of people try marijuana before the
age of 18, whereas in America more than 60 percent of us do.

Cigarette smoke has been repeatedly proven more dangerous than
marijuana smoke, yet we regulate and control the substance that is
responsible for over 400,000 American deaths each year.

Thousands of law enforcement man-hours and hundreds of thousands of
valuable taxpayer dollars are spent every year on petty violations
involving marijuana use by otherwise productive and law-abiding citizens.

Maybe someday we'll unite to end this pointless war against marijuana,
but I guess that depends on how long we carry on with our ignorant,
closed-minded American mentality.

Danny Dominick

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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin