Source: Willamette Week (OR)
Pubdate: 26 Aug 1998
Note: Willamette Week welcomes letters to the editor via mail, e-mail or
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Newshawk note: The article that the two ensuing letters to the editor
respond to, about the medical marijuana initiative facing Oregon voters in
November, made the rounds of the lists a couple weeks ago, but if you need
to see it again, it's posted at


It's the dog days of summer, the doldrums, and of course, time for
Willamette Week to put a pot leaf on the cover ["Dope with Dignity," Aug.
12, 1998]. Always an eye-catcher, that.

The story behind the leaf is a rather limited, yet sincere analysis of
Ballot Measure 67, otherwise known as "The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act"
(OMMA). The Antiprohibition League supports M67 and urges everyone to vote
yes on it.

In fact, we and other groups have already registered and informed thousands
of voters not only about M67, but also about our opposition to Measure 57
(marijuana recrim) and Measure 61 (property crimes mandatory minimums). Our
collective goal is to register 100,000 antiprohibition voters in time for
this November's election. The League's contribution to this effort, limited
as it may be, is all volunteer as usual.

Please remember this last point when M67 detractors try to tell you it has
no grass-roots support. Defeating M57 and M61 and passing M67 are important
League priorities right now, yet they should be kept in perspective to the
bigger drug-policy disaster. Our government--at all levels--is waging an
insane and duplicitous "war" which cost us over $17 billion a year at the
federal level alone. Yet, according to Richard L. Harris, director of
Hooper Detox, which is the largest public treatment provider in town, we
don't even have enough slots in Portland to handle 10 percent of the
heroin-addict population seeking help at any given time. Some of them, as
we recently saw, reach the end of their rope...around their necks hanging
from a bridge.

But most hardcore addicts (a minority of all users) just go on committing
petty crimes, going in and out of jail, buying and selling dope to an ever
younger clientele. All at the expense of our collective security and
freedom today, while ensuring yet another generation will propagate
America's "drug problem" well into the next millennium. Ironic that the
only groups who benefit are the drug cops and the drug cartels.

I suggest that is more by design than accident.

Floyd Ferris Landrath
Director, American Antiprohibition League



I cannot recall being angrier during the eight years I've been battling
cancer than I was when I read Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Noelle's quote
in your article on the efforts to legalize marijuana for medical use ["Dope
with Dignity," WW, Aug. 12, 1998]: "If I'm a cancer patient and I convinced
myself a bourbon and cigar would make me feel better, it would."

What a callous, horrible thing to say. The man is clearly an idiot, but
that is no excuse to be completely without compassion for the millions of
people who suffer from the many forms of this terrible disease. No, Sheriff
Dan, bourbon and cigar smoke only help if you're a politician with your
head up your ass. Many of the drugs I'm given to deal with the pain and
nausea of this disease and its treatments are far more addictive and
potentially dangerous than marijuana. If safe and legal pot was made
available, I, and many others, would be grateful for the option.

Steve Sandoz
Southwest Upper Drive

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Checked-by: Mike Gogulski