THE REGISTER'S READERS SAY
Marijuana fears are exaggerated
Regarding the Nov. 26 Further
Reflections by Altoona Police Chief John L. Gray ("The Medical Marijuana
Deception"), I would like to correct some errors.
Chief Gray is mistaken about the location of the recent vote on medical marijuana. The vote was not in the state of New York, it was in the state of Washington. Also, it was not really a vote on medical marijuana. The Washington initiative also included the medical use of substances such as LSD and PCP.
The Washington initiative was clearly too radical for the voters. The inclusion of substances such as LSD and PCP in the Washington initiative clearly destroyed any chance of passage the initiative might have had. Even though the initiative was crippled by the inclusion of other illegal substances, it still got over 40 percent of the votes cast.
Gray is also in error when he accuses proponents of medical marijuana of wanting to legalize illegal drugs for entertainment purposes. The voters in Washington just proved that they can make a distinction between medical use of marijuana and other illegal substances. If medical marijuana is a smoke screen for a scheme to sell angel dust and methamphetamine to kids, then why aren't we hearing arguments that medical use of cocaine and morphine is a smoke screen for selling crack and heroin to kids?
The sad fact is that distortions such as those made by Gray deprive medical patients of what an administrative law judge for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in 1988 called, "one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." More recently, medical marijuana was endorsed as a medicine by the New England Journal of Medicine (Jan. 30, 1997).
If anyone is responsible for creating a decrease in the perception of risk, it is the opponents of medical marijuana who have exaggerated the risks. Credibility is an important tool in the fight against drug abuse.
Perhaps the most revealing thing about Chief Gray's letter is his praise of the intelligence that went to crafting Iowa's drug law. Iowa's drug law has classified marijuana as a medicine since 1979. If Chief Gray really means it when he says that police officials are ready and willing to fullfil their sworn duty to uphold the law, then he needs to take a moment to read the law and find out what it says.
-- Carl E. Olsen
1116 E. Seneca Ave., Des Moines.
As I read the
Nov. 26 Further Reflections ("The Medical Marijuana Deception") by Altoona
Police Chief John Gray, I couldn't help but think of Chicken Little.
Doctors should be able to prescribe the most effective medicine. They can prescribe morphine and cocaine, and I don't believe that makes it any more acceptable for illicit use in anyone's mind.
It is glaringly apparent that Gray does not suffer from chronic or life threatening disease. He should walk a mile in our braces, wheelchairs and sick beds before he makes that leap from medicine to legalization and children.
Legislatures in 34 states have recognized marijuana's medical value. It is the feds who are out of touch with the people.
Chief Gray and others seem to think that the voting public is being duped, that they aren't smart enough to know what they are voting for. The California proposition received more votes than Clinton did.
Despite legislators' good intentions, they occasionally pass bad laws. Slavery, segregation, women's right to vote and Prohibition are classic examples.
-- Ladd Huffman,
Box 102, Calumet.
by Altoona Police Chief John Gray was socratic slieght-of-hand at its most manipulative.
Every one of these slippery slope questions posed by Chief Gray was written by the
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in the federal government-funded pamphlet, "How
to Hold Your Own in a Drug Legalization Debate." This pamphlet was written at
the Quantico Marine base using vast amounts of our tax dollars. Why must we fund
this blatantly political activity with our hard-earned tax dollars?
Though I do not doubt Chief Gray's sincerity; I question his real motivation. If he is going to plagiarize the DEA's self-serving propaganda, the least he can do is cite his source.
-- D. Paul Stanford,
3316 S. E. Stephens,
The Des Moines Register
Monday, December 8, 1997, Page 8A