Pubdate: July 8, 1999
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Times.
Contact:  (213) 237-4712
Author: Jim Rosenfield
Note: This PUB LTE also appeared in  Santa Monica Our 



Your June 24 article about courageous medical marijuana activist Joe
Kidwell includes the question, "Since when is marijuana use a First
Amendment issue?" When millions of Americans have been intimidated into
silence on this issue, marijuana use, the primary target of the drug War,
is highly controversial and certainly political.

We have the right to discuss openly the public policies about our bodies,
our privacy, our minds and our chemistry. In 1996, voters of California
overwhelmingly.approved medical marijuana, yet Kidwell has faced
harassment, prosecution and official intimidation for using, growing and
speaking about it. Kidwell should never have been brought to trial. While
the judge now accepts his right to use marijuana, he is forbidding Kidwell
to grow it, despite the fact that cultivation is specifically permitted
under the law. The judge's forbidding speech about this topic shows that
marijuana is a profoundly political issue.

This is a plain violation of the Constitutional right to free speech in an
area that badly needs discussion, The phenomenally expensive war on drugs
has totally failed to help any drug addicts or to make anyone safer.

The resulting black markets have brought us massive organized crime,
mountains of official corruption and the world's largest prison population.
Murderers walk to make room for potheads. Denying Kidwell's fight to speak
on this topic amounts to clear political repression and it must be stopped
in Santa Monica. 

Jim Rosenfield
Culver City
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake