Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · The end of reefer...
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The end of reefer madness

Robert Downes - August 4th, 2008
Do you believe in having the freedom to do as you choose with your own body? Or should government make those decisions for you?
That’s the fundamental question in many great controversies of our time regarding smoking, prostitution, abortion, stem cell research, marijuana, wearing a motorcycle helmet, the right to die with dignity, the use of steroids, and drug use to name a few.
At least half the time, we (ie. society) decide to limit ourselves. If you want to make money by inviting strangers to enjoy your body, too bad -- it’s against the law. If you want to hit the ball farther than anyone else on the team by taking steroids, tough luck -- it’s illegal.
But if you want to smoke cigarettes or have an abortion, you are still free to do so. For the time being, that is.
So it‘s all quite arbitrary as to what you can legally do with your own body in our supposedly “free“ country.
That’s why this November’s vote on the Michigan Medical Marijuana Initiative seems momentous: we don’t often decide to legalize anything -- the trend is usually in the other direction.
In March, members of the Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care turned in over 300,000 signatures from state voters, securing a place on the ballot for the Michigan Marijuana Act. The act would amend state law “to allow authorized patients to use cannabis therapeutically under a doctor’s supervision.”
If Michigan voters grant their approval, ours would be the 13th state to approve the use of medical marijuana since 1996, according to NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).
Medical marijuana eases the pain and symptoms of glaucoma, MS, and chemotherapy. Should these people be forced to suffer excruciating pain or be forced to pay for prescription drugs costing thousands of dollars when inexpensive, effective marijuana is available? Vote your conscience on this one, and think of that member of your own family whose pain could have been eased.
Ah, but critics claim that in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, there are always a few Sneaky Petes who bend the rules so that they too can smoke pot.
Fortunately, two forward-thinking congressmen have a prescription for nipping this in the bud (no pun intended). Their idea is to simply quit harassing the American people over small amounts of marijuana and let us be free to use it.
What a concept! Freedom. Who could imagine?
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass) and co-sponsor Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) have offered a resolution to decriminalize the personal use of marijuana. They have proposed ending federal penalties for Americans who possess fewer than 100 grams of marijuana, or a little less than a quarter ounce.
“The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government’s business,” Frank said last week in a Capitol Hill press conference. “I don’t think it is the government’s business to tell you how to spend your leisure time.”
Rep. Frank, who doesn’t smoke marijuana, points out that billions have been spent in law enforcement to try to stop something that Americans routinely thumb their noses at -- just as they did the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s. NORML claims there are tens of millions of pot smokers in the U.S., and that there have been 20 million marijuana-related arrests since 1965. In fact, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 38 seconds in our country.
The arrests are a bonanza for law enforcement, courts and lawyers, but a real heartache for parents who’ve had to pay the legal bills for their teens, or have seen their kids sent to the county jail.
Under Frank’s proposal, it would still be illegal to deal marijuana or possess more than a quarter ounce. Obviously, this would require a bit of fait accompli from the government, winking at distribution.
Thus, the main problem with decriminalizing marijuana would, ironically, be a lack of government regulation.
Without government regulation of trade, organized crime would still be involved in marijuana‘s distribution. Then too, there is the question of potency: in Amsterdam, where marijuana is legal, some strains are so potent from being refined through the years that smokers have suffered psychotic reactions.
If marijuana is going to be decriminalized, then we should also consider having it regulated and taxed, to the benefit of Michigan farmers and our state treasury.
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