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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 23, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Marijuana: Is it time to legalize it?

In Washington, take advantage of high-quality marijuana

In response to the guest column “State should decriminalize marijuana” [Opinion, Aug. 21], don’t mess around, legalization is the only answer for Washington state.

For some reason, we grow the strongest, highest-quality herb in the world. Ask the Drug Enforcement Agency or experienced consumers if you don’t believe me. California talks about a $50 per ounce tax on legalization. That is the error. A $200 per ounce tax is more like it.

That would still keep prices at current street level, plus create profit for growers and retailers. That would result in a $300 to $400 per ounce sticker price on the world’s highest-quality herb. To lowball a guess, that would be an easy $50 million each month to our state’s tax base, and add to that the jobs that would be created. Our tourism would boom to a world-class level.

Experienced herb smokers are stunned at the political attack on herb. The reason is the stupidity of it all. Herb is being treated the same as heroin or crack or meth. That is like saying aspirin is the same thing as morphine. Just because it is an illegal drug does not mean the effect is the same. In comparison, having three martinis is so debilitating that one wonders why that is not in the same category as a crack high.

Marijuana is not a gateway drug. Spinning around and getting dizzy as a kid is a gateway drug. It’s illegality is a gateway. Being illegal makes users enter the illegal market, where you can find stolen cars, illegal weapons and more. If legal, no need to go there.

— Douglas Mays, Seattle

Won’t smoking pot give you cancer, too?

I’m still waiting for someone to address the glaring fact that inhaling pot will probably cause lung cancer.

Seems odd that our plucky populace, after rising up and crippling the iron grip of the tobacco crowd, has apparently forgotten that sucking smoke into your lungs can kill you.

Anybody?

— Jerry Bredouw, Edmonds

Not just stoners enjoy the herb

Kudos to Vivian McPeak, current director, and the other organizers of Hempfest for encouraging diversity and bringing more representation to the event. It is time our politicians see firsthand who marijuana legalization supporters include.

Pot is used by ailing cancer patients, senior citizens and others looking for help with pain and illness. It is smoked recreationally by thousands — business people, career types, athletes, politicians and just about everyone. And yes, stoners, too, but they are not the majority, just the most visible.

Hempfest should do more to encourage those people outside the clichĂ© dope culture to be seen supporting legalization. Maybe then policy will change, and we can move forward to address the real issues facing our country — health-care reform, the economy and two ongoing wars.

I am very impressed with Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata and Representative Roger Goodman for their leadership in speaking at the event. It is about time our government started supporting the will of the people.

— Tom Baker, Woodinville

Comments | More in crime/justice, drugs, Marijuana, Politics

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