Pubdate: Thu, 30 Mar 2006
Source: New Paltz Times (NY)
Copyright: 2006 Ulster Publishing, Inc.
Author: Robert Robinson
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


This letter is in response to the middle school student in Highland 
accused of selling marijuana and the New Paltz teacher accused of 
getting her student to buy marijuana for her.  These are two stark 
examples of how in an illegal marketplace, kids can have better 
access to drugs than adults.

Not to excuse the teacher's negligent actions, but it is sad to see 
someone in so much pain and fear be driven to such desperate measures 
for medicine.  She reports she did it out of desperation because she 
was in so much pain from an immune disorder.  Marijuana is a safe and 
effective medicine for many patients, including its use in pain management.

It is also sad to know that it is easier for a 13- and 14-year-old ( 
our children ) to get marijuana than an adult.  Every time a 
politician tries to justify the war on drugs, they claim it is about 
protecting the children, and "sending the right message." But it is 
impossible to keep un-regulated ( illegal ) drugs out of the hands of 
kids.  These are just two local examples.

Ulster County District Attorney Don Williams was asked if the case 
should be dismissed in the interest of justice.  His reply was: "That 
would be inappropriate.  That would most definitely send entirely the 
wrong message."

But an illegal drug marketplace does not ask for ID, listen to 
messages nor have any safety measures in place.  What message does 
all of this send? Will her medical need even be considered in her defense?

Enough is enough.  If we really want to protect our children and be a 
truly free and compassionate society, we need to allow for medical 
marijuana immediately then re-examine our current marijuana policies. 
Lets not say we can't because of the children, let's do it for the 
children.  We owe it to them!

Robert Robinson

Executive Director, NY NORML ( The New York State Chapter of The
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws )

New Paltz
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