Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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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