Pubdate: Fri, 19 Dec 2008
Source: Traverse City Record-Eagle (MI)
Copyright: 2008 The Traverse City Record-Eagle
Author: Samantha Charnes


I am writing to urge people to support the decriminalization of
marijuana. Arrests for marijuana have set an all-time record for the
past four years, despite the fact that public opinion of marijuana use
grows increasingly tolerant. It's ridiculous to spend so much time and
money prosecuting people for smoking marijuana when those resources
could be used to prosecute dangerous criminals.

Marijuana "offenders" are often punished very harshly -- existing laws
deny more than 500 benefits to those convicted of marijuana offenses,
including denial of small-business loans and professional licenses. In
at least 20 states, "smoke a joint, lose your license" statutes
suspend a person's driving license after conviction for any marijuana
crime, regardless of whether the person was driving when busted; being
caught with marijuana in your own home can lead to a harsher
punishment than being arrested for driving drunk.

There is something wrong with this picture, and I urge you to write to
your local representative to advocate for the decriminalization of

And just in case you're wondering, I don't smoke pot -- I just think
we should be spending our time and our tax dollars going after real

Samantha Charnes

Traverse City
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