Pubdate: Mon, 26 Jul 2010
Source: Detroit News (MI)
Copyright: 2010 The Detroit News
Author: Tim Beck



As a lifelong advocate for repealing marijuana prohibition, I would 
like to express my gratitude to Judge Bill Schuette, Larry Stelma and 
Byron Konschuh for being so candid with voters about their views on 
this important issue in their Detroit News column "Legalizing 
marijuana remains a bad idea" (July 16).

It is amusing, if disingenuous, for them to assert that I "admitted" 
in a recent television interview that my "goal is to legalize 
marijuana use in Detroit and, eventually, all of Michigan" since I 
have been absolutely clear on this point for many years.

I first advocated for making a medical exception to marijuana 
prohibition for the very reason I named the organization for which I 
was the former chairman, the Detroit Coalition for Compassionate 
Care. Their insinuations notwithstanding, allowing patients access to 
this mild but effective treatment for nausea and chronic pain always 
was "the real purpose" of that effort.

Eventually the people of the entire state agreed -- by a nearly 2-1 
margin. As have voters in a dozen other states.

The difficulties for government and employers in accommodating the 
needs of such patients are also being greatly exaggerated.

The fact that the state has received 8,000 caregiver applications 
hardly justifies the assertion that this is "one of the fastest 
growing industries in Michigan." The prospects for actually making 
this a (much-needed) new industry have in fact been hamstrung largely 
as a result of obstructionists. It is ironic that the authors 
complain of "a nightmare for state and local authorities" when it has 
largely been one of their own making.

Likewise, it is the very "zero tolerance" hysteria of the drug war 
that has created an issue for employers. The new law specifically 
bars both driving and working "under the influence" -- hardly the 
same thing as having any scientifically measurable trace in a person's system.

The careful reader will notice that the ominous statistics cited in 
warning of the dangers of repealing marijuana prohibition -- the 
circumstances surrounding criminal activities, removal of children 
from neglectful parents into foster homes, incidents of domestic 
violence -- are actually associated with "substance abuse" generally.

In point of fact, the overwhelming number of these cases involve 
alcohol. Far fewer involve heroin, cocaine or methamphetamine. Almost 
none involve marijuana.

Tim Beck, chairman,

Coalition for a Safer Detroit, Detroit
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