Pubdate: Wed, 28 Dec 2011 Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald (Hilo, HI) Copyright: 2011 Hawaii Tribune Herald Contact: http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/share/letters/ Website: http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/185 Author: Andrea Tischler FORESTS VS MARIJUANA It is truly criminal that unscrupulous drug gangs cultivate marijuana in national forests with complete disregard for the environment ("Forests vs. marijuana," Tribune-Herald, Dec. 27). This is solely because the high price of illegal cannabis makes this activity worth the risk. And so, the U.S. Forest Service will continue with eradication and cleanup efforts and will begin advocating for re-legalizing cannabis as a disincentive to grow pot on public lands. BINGO! Now why hasn't that brilliant idea been forwarded sooner? When pot becomes legal and with no fear of seizure and arrest, private land owners, not drug gangs, will be the ones entrusted to grow cannabis for patients and consumers. The farmers will be licensed and good land stewards, as they want to continue cultivating for years to come. Further, the huge benefit will be that in addition to the savings derived from far fewer arrests and a dwindling prison population, the product will be regulated and taxed the way wine and tobacco are now treated, generating billions from legal sales. This will boost the economy and reduce the deficit. In these difficult times, this is a big win-win. I do take one exception to the author of "Their View." To confiscate cannabis on public lands and sell it to medical patients is a bad idea because the product could be loaded with chemical pesticides, herbicides and who knows what. Patients require organically grown medicinal grade cannabis, only. Seized pot on public lands should continue to be destroyed. Nevertheless, re-legalizing cannabis will put an end to drug gangs destroying public lands for profit. We want to ensure that our national forests are preserved for future generations of Americans to use and enjoy. And, that's a good thing. Andrea Tischler Hilo - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.