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May-21-2009 07:57printcomments

Marijuana and the Wall Street Journal

As more Americans discover the therapeutic and industrial value of the cannabis plant, some hold onto the old propaganda like it was the gospel.

John Walters, former U.S. Drug
John Walters, former U.S. Drug "Czar"
Courtesy: cannabisculture.com

(MOLALLA, Ore.) - Every once in awhile I pick up this esteemed newspaper and around May 5, 2009 I chanced upon Letters to the Editor: IS THE WAR ON DRUGS WORTH THE COLLATERAL DAMAGE.

In it were four letters. They were responding to two OP-ED articles: one by a Yale University Professor of Law, Steven B. Duke, advocating decriminalization of marijuana use and possession, and a totally opposing article by John P. Walters, former U.S. Drug Czar, who should be by now, totally discredited for his totally false statements about marijuana in particular which he strangely equates with Heroin, Meth and Cocaine.

I don’t know why he didn’t include Alcohol and Tobacco which are even more addicting and lethal than the previous three.

If John Walters statements had any factual backing, the 80 million occasional users and the 15 million frequent users of marijuana in the U.S. would be committing all manner of serious crimes like murder and rape or would be dying like flies from this DANGEROUS WEED.

The fact is that marijuana is one of the safest medicines ever found, as stated by DEA Administrative Judge Francis Young September 1988.

Even the Governator seems to recommend decriminalization of marijuana and 13 states have essentially done so by legalizing medical marijuana with patients appearing in droves to get the legalization permits.

One short letter nearly blew me away. I am reproducing it verbatim:

"I resent the myth fostered by the pro-legalization organizations that minimize the dangers of marijuana. Not only is it addictive, but it is also harmful with serious long-term effects. It is a gateway drug all too often as well.

Mankind is cursed with many ills, but giving up on the cures by pretending there is no evil is superficial, cowardly and immoral."

If there weren’t another name at the bottom I would have sworn this trash was written by John Walters.

To clarify my remarks, marijuana is about as addictive as a Starbucks Latte or an aspirin. It is less harmful than caffeine or aspirin and far less than alcohol or tobacco – real but legal killers.

It’s no more a gateway drug than beer or tobacco. Marijuana as Cannabis was once the most prescribed/most used effective medicine in the U.S.

It is presently used effectively for about 50 different disease processes and has never killed anyone. That’s more than anyone can say about any other medicine.

As one writer points out ANY of the aforementioned drugs and any others can be easily obtained if one knows the right street corner. The laws for illegality only make dope dealers rich. I mean millionaires.

As long as there is a scotch whisky, people like John Walters and one author of the posted letters are going to demonize cannabis.


Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Daniel May 25, 2009 6:24 pm (Pacific time)

The US government , WE THE PEOPLE , should be looking out for the welfare of the people . Instead we have big corporations poisoning the air , water , land and food , while the peoples representatives look the other way . This country allows highly carcinogenic substances added to the tobacco and alcohol , kills thousands with over manufactured pharmaceuticals and force mind controlling drugs on our kids if they act up in school . Millions die prematurely from the fat and chemical laden fast foods that curse America . The most popular drink is full of sugar and can clean the rust off nails , or for the diet fans aspartame . This is the place that puts productive non violent people in a cage for years for using a beneficial plant , good God what MADNESS !

Henry Ruark May 22, 2009 8:00 am (Pacific time)

To all: Never forget: Wall St.Journal now owned, controlled, shaped and perverted by Murdoch the Australian "press guru". He bought it several years ago, and fine Edit staff has left rapidly ever since. He's noted around world for using his papers for his own political/cultural preferences which, as you can tell, even carries over to Letters and answers to Op Eds. IF you doubt huge seachange now stultifying Edit Page from its once-respected status, see several weeks-worth in full sequence and prove failings by "see with own eyes, evaluate with own mind". Be prepared to be shocked if you knew old WSJ, where Edit Page stood on its own and made sure it said so, too...

Mike H. May 22, 2009 12:01 am (Pacific time)

Tim, I think getting the change that the majority of us want would be to take smalls steps toward big change. So rather than saying,"Let's promote legalization and decriminalization of marijuana," let's just start with decriminalization of it. I think possession charges should not be so ridiculous. Stepp got sentenced 10 years for it. 10 years is a long time. A term someone should serve for something far more serious than possession of a natural substance. I am no lawyer by any means and all the language in a petition would be all new to me, but I think the first step would be to lessen the punishment for possession or any other small offense regarding marijuana. Taken from http://www.osbar.org/public/legalinfo/1079_MarijuanaLaw.htm "Possession of one ounce or more of marijuana is a Class B felony, punishable by a maximum 10-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine." Try maybe one year or six months. $250,000!?!? They must be trying to catch millionaires in possession. The average American would not be able to pay that off in half their lifetime. Maybe $1,000. I know we are talking about decriminalization here and I am saying that there should still be fines and charges for possession but I think it would be the best way to go about things. Of course, I think if it were to be legalized and decriminalized there should be harsh punishment for misuse of the substance. For example a DUII for weed could mean revocation of your drivers license. People wouldn't risk it. Small changes. You don't chop a tree, you whittle it.

chris May 21, 2009 4:14 pm (Pacific time)

ok well i had a question that started to bother me, and i found out that no one had an answer. What, if any, problems/deaths were caused by cannibus from the begining of time till 1937 when prohibition started? Anyone? Well not to my surprise, no ever died and they never had any problems. As a matter of fact there was a U.S. law that stated you could pay your taxes with hemp. And at the time it was the #1, #2, #3 most perscribed and most effective medicine on the planet. And there was no refer madness, sorry you propagandis liars. WE need to stop calling it marijuana that word has no relevince to the cannibus plant other than it was the Gov'ts propaganda word to get the people to fear the plant, Maria y Juana was a famous ciggarete company out of mexico in the 1930's

rastaman May 21, 2009 2:34 pm (Pacific time)

Free the Herb, it Cures cancer as shown in Spain,Israel and Canada by Rick Simpson at phoenixtears.ca

we the people May 21, 2009 1:06 pm (Pacific time)

lol the gate way theory yea right that was put to an end Yesterday, Congressman Steven Cohen (D-Tenn.) did a fantastic job of arguing against two common and misinformed prohibitionist arguments during a congressional hearing with FBI Director Robert Mueller. You can hear more and see more on this at http://blog.mpp.org/tax-and-regulate/congressman-steve-cohen-on-marijuana-policy/05212009/comment-page-1/#com

Mike H. May 21, 2009 12:31 pm (Pacific time)

Hey Tim, what do you think about starting a petition here, where we can all sign out names? Do you think it would even be worth it? You seem to have contacts in legislature, why not give it a shot? I think 500 signatures would be a breeze.

Tim King: Mike, there have been some recent changes regarding marijuana that I need to write an update on.  I am open to any ideas like the one you suggested; what would you want to see it specifically address?

Daniel May 21, 2009 12:07 pm (Pacific time)

Dr Leveque when you state illegality only makes drug dealers rich , you forgot the $200 per hr pot lawyers , the drug testing manufactures , and the pharmaceutical companies .

Jergen May 21, 2009 12:04 pm (Pacific time)


Responsible Adult May 21, 2009 8:50 am (Pacific time)

Legalize it. Treat it like alcohol plain and simple. I'm so sick of the Gateway Drug Argument. Alcohol is the ULTIMATE GATEWAY DRUG. It's probably 90% of people's first buzz. And if they like it, the want more. None of my successful friends that smoke got into heavy drugs like coke. Once it's legal it will be exciting for the first 3 months. After that, the people who smoke now, will probably smoke the same amount. And the people who won't, simply won't. Not much will change. And if treated like alcohol. Kids will have as much access to it as a 6 pack of beer. So legalize it. And to the folks that say NO and that have never done it, what right do they have to judge it?

Vocal Citizen May 21, 2009 8:25 am (Pacific time)

Brilliant. Exactly. What more can I say???

Aizden May 21, 2009 8:24 am (Pacific time)

Marijuana needs to be legalized to many people are being put into our jails just for simple possession of the drug. I am all for this article. Marijuana is the least dangerous drug there is out there even compared to alcohol and tobacco. LEGALIZE NOW.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.

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