Pubdate: Wed 07/28 1999
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 1999 St. Petersburg Times
Author: Robert Reppy, Clearwater


Typical. Jeb Bush's drug czar, Jim McDonough, wants to unleash a
killer fungus on the state of Florida, all in the name of eliminating
some marijuana weeds.

Excuse us for being dense, but where is the urgent need that justifies
the risk of this possible eco-catastrophe?

Has there been a sudden rash of pot-crazed loonies causing mayhem and
destruction? Has there been even one murder in the state attributed to
marijuana? No.

There has, in fact, been a steady erosion of the government's case
justifying incarceration and criminalization of pot users, as medical
evidence for addiction (none) or harm (flimsy) mounts up rather more
on the beneficial side than the opposite.

Further, future public attitudes may well change to regard this weed
as a useful industrial crop, perhaps genetically stripped of its mild
hallucinogenic properties. As a source for paper many times more
efficient than wood, it could save millions of acres of forest every
year. After all, it was once so important economically as a crop that
the father of our country, George Washington, exhorted all patriotic
Americans to plant some on their property. He did.

The point is, Jeb Bush's drug czar is planning on using an ecological
H-bomb to deal with a mosquito-sized social problem. It's not
surprising for a Republican appointee to show zero environmental
awareness; after all, he's working for a governor whose
extra-political career is that of a real estate developer -- just
about the nadir of environmentally friendly professions.

The public should be howling for this man's dismissal for even
contemplating such a thing. I urge your readers to fire off some e-
mail to the governor to such effect today!

Robert Reppy

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