Source: Des Moines Register (IA)
Pubdate: Sat, 12 Aug 1998
Author: Carl Olsen


Regarding the reported increase in the use of marijuana by teen-agers
("Marijuana Leads Rise in Drug Use by Teens," August 22): Secretary of
Health and Human Services Donna Shalala says, "The perception in this
country is that marijuana is safe, that it's a soft drug."

Duh.  If it weren't for the fact that millions of people use marijuana
without suffering the harmful effects that Shalala thinks they should
suffer, we might have believed the propaganda our government has been
feeding us for the past 60 years.

The real crisis is that the use of marijuana is truly dangerous to the
unfortunates who find themselves imprisoned as a result of this
disgusting disguise for the persecution of people who don't do whatever
the government tells us to do.

If people should be imprisoned for possession of psychoactive drugs,
everyone who uses alcohol should be locked up.  If people should be
imprisoned for polluting their lungs, everyone who uses tobacco should
be locked up.

It's time to re-evaluate the war on drugs before another generation of
kids sees the drug war for what it is: another phoney excuse for being
cruel to people who are different than the rest of us.

Carl E. Olsen,
1116 E. Seneca Ave., Des Moines.

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Checked-by: Rich O'Grady