Pubdate: Fri, 09 Jun 2000
Date: 06/09/2000
Source: Mountain Xpress (NC)
Author: Alan Mason

[Joseph] Howard's letter contains several errors in logic, the most
serious of which is the implication that marijuana legalization would
somehow benefit international drug cartels. It is the illegal status
of marijuana and other drugs that benefit the cartels by making their
sale so obscenely profitable, and legalization - accompanied by true
government regulation, like we have for tobacco and alcohol - that
would put the drug cartels out of business.

As for his remark that people who oppose marijuana prohibition sound
like they are "struggling through a stint in the old Soviet Gulag,"
perhaps he could explain how handing out sentences of 20-to-life for
growing a plant for one's own personal or medical use fits our
American system of fair and appropriate punishment.

Many things we do in life are not good for us. Illegal marijuana is
arguably less harmful than legal tobacco or alcohol - or many
prescription drugs, for that matter. The founders of our country said
that the pursuit of happiness was a right, but were wise enough not to
prescribe how we might pursue that happiness. It's time we regained a
little of that wisdom.

Alan Mason,
Aguanga, Calif.

[Editor's note: A letter printed in our May 24 issue by Joseph Howard
- "Skip the pot, get a life" - apparently created a firestorm of
controversy across America, after being posted on Web sites such as
the one run by the Media Awareness Project. Because of the number of
responses, some of the letters below are appearing only online.]