Pubdate: December 13, 1999
Source: Anchorage Daily News (AK)
Copyright: 1999 The Anchorage Daily News
Author: Charles Rollins Jr


In the Nov. 26 Daily News story "Battling from the fringe," an Alaska state
legislator said he was dismayed because we are again facing the issue of
decriminalizing cannabis. Many of his fellow Alaskans have been dismayed
because Alaska state legislators often bring up the same issues again and

Key issues of "decriminalization" should be: Does it have safeguards
against children and other unauthorized people getting possession of
cannabis, and, as important, does it protect the privacy rights of Alaskans
as cited in the court case Ravin and reaffirmed in McNeil?

Why are these issues important? Medicinal cannabis patient William Foster
of Oklahoma was sentenced to 93 years in prison for growing cannabis for
medicinal use. Though this sentence was reduced to 20, for a patient to be
imprisoned at all for using proven medicine is excessive.

Renee Boje only did artwork for cancer patient Todd McCormick's book on
medicinal cannabis. She was arrested in Los Angeles in July 1997 on
conspiracy and other charges. Charges were dropped. When  Renee learned
they would be reinstated, she fled to Canada. The U.S. government is now
trying to extradite Renee to stand trial in America.

Kathy Tadlock, a patient in Idaho, was convicted and sentenced to five
years in prison. The judge disallowed a medical necessity defense. Didn't
the judge trust the jury judgment?

Despite the media-concocted image about people in the movement, I have
never been arrested and I come from a "law enforcement family." Thinking of
the total human cost, I feel there must be a better way.

- - Charles Rollins Jr.
 North Pole
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