Pubdate: Mon, 22 Nov 1999
Date: 11/22/1999
Source: Nation, The (US)
Author: Kenneth Hymes
Related: All the special issue articles are linked at:

Michael Massing's piece on seeking drug policy reform seems to me yet
another example of The Nation's (and the liberal left's) failure of
nerve. He would levy fines for use of pot but jail terms for
production and sale. This is illogical and gutless.

There is simply no credible basis for criminal sanctions against
marijuana users or growers, particularly in a culture that not only
accepts but, through government policy and subsidy, promotes the
production and use of recreational and pharmaceutical products known
to cause illness and death.

We "fight drugs" with one hand and then force drugs on adults and

Examples are legion of therapies not studied, and therefore
stigmatized, simply because there is no profit in them (e.g., vitamin
and diet therapy for behavior problems in autistic children, versus
the polypharmacopoeia endorsed by the medical community). The social
problems teenage users suffer from are symptoms of their relations
with their families, their schools and the culture at large, not
provable effects of the only organic drug indulged in by Americans. We
have devastated communities and ruined lives in a pointless quest for
some imagined moral purity.

Enough! No more "compromises." I smoke pot, along with at least 50
million other Americans. We need to reject the stigma imposed on us by
regressive forces.

Kenneth Hymes
Charlottesville, Va.