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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 27, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Marijuana: legalize or just decriminalize?

Don’t just decriminalize — legalize marijuana

I agree with state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and former state Rep. Toby Nixon [“State should decriminalize marijuana,” Opinion, guest column, Aug. 21] that it’s time for Washington state to decriminalize marijuana.

However, I disagree with their method. We do not need any further distractions for our police force in trying to write civil infractions against marijuana users. Why not legalize marijuana outright?

We should treat it the same way we treat alcohol and marijuana’s distant relative, the cigarette. Make it legal and tax it. This way, users don’t have to worry about prosecution or infractions, and the state of Washington can increase its revenue intake.

Hempfest drew tens of thousands of people to its annual show, so we can assume the demand is there.

The idea that marijuana use leads to users upgrading to more potent substances like cocaine and LSD are unfounded. It is time to stop the insanity. Senate Bill 5615 is a good start, but let us take it a step further.

Legalize marijuana and let the state reap its profits.

— Thaddeus Powell, Renton

Bigger problems than marijuana use confront state

With state budgets dwindling, it is time to rethink our criminal-justice system regarding marijuana. Clearly, no matter what criminal campaign is waged, it is not wiping out the recreational use of marijuana.

With state prisons busting at the seams all over the country, I would call this the low-hanging fruit and would be an easy way for us to alleviate at least some of the overcrowding that exists.

We have bigger problems in the realm of law enforcement. I am hopeful to see regulation of this drug in the future as a potential source of taxes to help fund some of the programs that are getting cut because of budget shortfalls.

The point is, we have realistic options here, and we cannot ignore this topic any longer.

— Corrie Fowble, Seattle

Why stop with legalizing marijuana?

In their guest column state Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles and former state Rep. Toby Nixon present their argument for support for Senate Bill 5615 to decriminalize marijuana use, citing cost savings to the criminal-justice system and new revenues for Washington state.

The article allows us to infer that they tacitly concur with the rest of us about the harmful effects of this illicit drug, enough to search for alternatives to prevent its use.

While the column doesn’t expressly accept or deny that clinical studies warn of the drug’s long list of long-term harmful effects, with their proposed reclassifying of the adult possession of marijuana, Kohl-Welles and Nixon contend the bill will slow down use.

Good to look for new preventive remedies; not good to decriminalize.

Mexico, for example, has gone even further, decriminalizing five grams of marijuana, 50 mg of heroin, 0.5 ram of cocaine and 40 mg of meth — also to reduce court costs in prosecuting users. Why aren’t Kohl-Welles and Nixon expanding Senate Bill 5615 to also decriminalize heroin, cocaine and meth for responsible personal use? The goals are the same.

Here are some related public policies to ponder:

  • Let’s also dumb down the public education curriculum and tests so fewer students fail.
  • Let’s lower the standards and qualifications for individuals to run for public offices.
  • Let’s reduce the number of hours and stipulations required for pilots, so they can fly longer and older.
  • Let’s decriminalize prostitution, like Nevada, so taxes will add to state revenues and free the courts.

— Dee Tezelli and Steve Danishek, Seattle

Marijuana has plenty of benefits

Reader Jerry Bredouw must be jesting when he writes that he’s waiting for “someone to address the glaring fact that inhaling pot will probably cause lung cancer” [“Won’t smoking pot give you cancer, too?” Northwest Voices, letter to the editor, Aug. 23]. If indeed the invitation stands that anyone may help Bredouw comprehend why this ” fact” hasn’t been addressed, I will gladly point out the following:

First, no lung-cancer deaths have ever been linked to marijuana. None.

Second, it has been reported that pot kills cancer cells. Third, people who say “seems odd” aren’t really interested in the well being of their accused. It’s hoping pot smokers get cancer like cigarette smokers do.

Fourth, sure, smoke is bad for you. That’s why some marijuana users prefer to vaporize their product, therefore ingesting no smoke whatsoever. Others cook their stash into food and eat it. Bredouw sounds like a bitter nicotine addict. He’s not a doctor, that’s for sure.

And finally, there’s not enough serious medical research on pot to verify the carcinogen hypothesis. Republicans tend to crash the funding. Seems odd indeed.

— Keith Curtis, Ballard

Comments | More in budget cuts, crime/justice, drugs, Marijuana, Washington Legislature

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The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


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