Pubdate: Wed, 23 May 2001
Source: State Journal-Register (IL)
Copyright: 2001 The State Journal-Register
Author: Larry A. Stevens


Dear Editor,

Chris Britt usually can be counted on to stick up for the little guy in his 
editorial cartoons. However, his recent caricature of a medical cannabis 
activist as some sort of unkempt, intoxicated oaf reveals a hard spot in an 
otherwise soft heart. It's argumentum ad hominem at its worst directed 
against sincere and courageous reformers.

If you compare Britt's caricature to a photograph of an actual medical 
cannabis activist that appeared on the front page of the SJ-R just the day 
before, you can see how wildly inaccurate and unfair the caricature really is.

When people are suffering -- not just from diseases like AIDS or epilepsy, 
but also from myth-based drug laws that deny them the best care -- does it 
really matter what anybody looks like or how they dress or even what their 
particular drug of choice is?

Britt's stereotyping illustrates the malevolence behind the Controlled 
Substances Act. In scheduling an arbitrary assortment of drugs for 
prohibition, Congress has actually scheduled different sorts of people -- 
based on culture and appetite -- for unequal protection under the law. Even 
if considered perfectly constitutional, it's nevertheless a foolish, 
destructive, and hypocritical policy that has turned the "Land of the Free" 
into the land of the most incarcerated people on Earth.

I suggest we replace the stereotyping and witch-hunting with compassion and 
science and see if we don't all fare better for it.

Larry A. Stevens
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