Pubdate: Wed, 17 Feb 1999
Date: 02/17/1999
Source: Little Rock Free Press (AR)
Author: Christopher Jon Largen

I am writing to you from the "underground", as one of millions who are
disenfranchised by the current sociopolitical climate in the United
States. Although I am not behind bars, I am a political prisoner in my
own country, as my private behavior is dictated by laws which I did
not participate in creating, and I am governed by officials who were
elected in a political process fueled by money and handshakes. My
direct democracy is limited to voting on irrelevant local ordinance
propositions, and my ideas are not reflected in most corporate-owned
media sources.

I am grateful for the First Amendment rights I have, and I am morally
compelled to exercise them, struggling against apathy, cynicism, and

Federal legislators recently decided to subvert democracy by refusing
to tally the election results on Initiative 59, after nearly 70% of
Washington D.C. voters decided to allow medical marijuana in their

By appealing to an constitutionally specious law which forbids them to
spend any money on relaxing marijuana policy, our legislators are
playing politics while cancer, AIDS, glaucoma, and spinal cord injury
patients are suffering.

They refer to legalistic obligations, but the past decades have
demonstrated that they are willing to break the law when it serves
their economic and political interests.

If "conservative" Republicans want to "get government off our backs",
they could start by hopping off the back of the quadriplegic spinal
cord injury patient I provided personal care to. I personally
witnessed the benefits of medical marijuana on this Vietnam veteran.

He experienced painful spasms from retracted tendons and atrophied
muscles, but after using marijuana the spasms completely subsided for
the remainder of his physical therapy.

It does not serve the cause of justice to deny relief to the sick, or
to deny voters the right to democratic due process.

When will our government prioritize compassion and democracy over
paternalistic control and arbitrary morality?

It seems unreasonable that we throw people in prison, strip them of
their right to vote, confiscate their property, destroy their
families, allow patients to suffer, and subvert democracy, all because
we cannot tolerate a natural herb which has no fatal side effects, was
used medically for thousands of years, and is less harmful and
addictive than tobacco and alcohol.

Our descendents may one day mock our folly.

Christopher Jon Largen
Denton, TX