Pubdate: Sat, 01 Jun 2002
Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)
Copyright: 2002 Chicago Tribune Company
Author: Stephen Heath, Kirk Muse, Dave Michon, Peter Ohrmund


Clearwater, Fla. -- This is considering "Pushing drug myths with our taxes" 
(Commentary, May 22). Drug czar John Walters has the unenviable job of 
propping up the flawed foundation for federal drug policy and realizes the 
urgent need to attack the responsible use of marijuana by 20 million-plus 

The tax dollars being sucked up by the drug war machine add up to more than 
$40 billion annually and more than half of it is focused on marijuana 
prohibition. More Americans were arrested for marijuana possession in 2000 
than for all violent crime combined. It is truly a law enforcement gravy train.

Clarence Page accurately notes the hyperbole Walters adds to the discussion 
of medical marijuana. Most Americans know of the Drug Enforcement 
Administration raids on the legal (under state law) medical marijuana 
dispensaries in California during the past nine months.

The key prop to government prohibition of marijuana is misrepresenting the 
facts about the side effects of use. Until the passage of medical marijuana 
laws in eight states during the past six years, the feds were able to do 
this primarily by barring any and all research efforts. Allowing legitimate 
medical records and histories for such a large patient pool will 
effectively refute the remaining reefer madness that to date has kept 
Walters and his fellow marijuana warriors in business.

Thanks to Page and the Tribune for providing honest coverage of an issue 
that our government officials continue to lie about.

Stephen Heath



Mesa, Ariz. -- Thank you for publishing Clarence Page's outstanding column. 
I agree with John P. Walters' assertion that many of those who support the 
legalization of marijuana for medical purposes have an agenda beyond just 
the legalization of marijuana for medicine.

I am proud to count myself as having such an agenda.

Those who opposed slavery had an agenda, as did those who opposed the mass 
murder of Jews and other minorities in Germany. And those who opposed 
racial segregation obviously had an agenda.

Those who opposed alcohol prohibition because it was counterproductive and 
caused much more harm than it prevented obviously had an agenda.

And, yes, we who oppose recreational drug prohibition because it is 
counterproductive and is causing much more harm than it prevents proudly 
have an agenda.

Kirk Muse



Eau Claire, Wis. -- The Clarence Page piece on the drug czar's recent 
comments was some of the straightest shooting I've ever read about drugs.

Thank you, Page and Tribune, for printing the truth.

Only in the confounded war on drugs could a title so antithetical to 
freedom like "czar" creep into the lexicon of what was once the land of the 
free. This despotic title betrays what the drug war is really all about: 
personal political power, huge budgets brimming with pork, and the 
bureaucratic careerism of party hacks who know nothing of drugs but the 
myopic bromides of decades ago.

Dave Michon



Lakeland, Fla. -- I have often wondered why reporters allow our politicians 
to lie and distort facts when it comes to marijuana or the war on drugs. 
Thank you for pointing out a few facts in your article that John Walters 
seems to miss.

Peter Ohrmund
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