December 5, 2013 at 7:01 PM
Not a test calendar
King County is set to approve a zoning ordinance that would pave the way for a large-scale marijuana facility in the middle of two heavily populated neighborhoods, Redmond Ridge and Redmond Ridge East [“County is asked to block pot farm,” page one, Dec. 3].
The facility would be within walking distance of our school, child-care centers, and many homes and parks.
I am not here to debate the legal or moral implications of marijuana use. My focus is on responsible zoning. I simply do not think that a heavily populated, residential neighborhood is an appropriate place for such a facility. I am concerned about the potential harm such a facility would cause my neighborhood. I am concerned over increase in crime and the effects on neighborhood health from air pollution.
Our neighborhood is being specifically singled out by name in the proposed zoning ordinance, and we are rightfully upset over that. This facility belongs in industrial areas with other factories. Our neighborhood does not want to be a test case for marijuana zoning. We do not want to become a cautionary tale for irresponsible zoning ordinances.
— Virginia M. Onu, Redmond
Proposed marijuana production facility defies common sense
I am a concerned father of two young children, who has lived in Redmond Ridge for the past seven years.
There is a proposal and fast-track approach to locate at least two marijuana production and processing factories within the highly dense neighborhoods of Redmond Ridge and Redmond Ridge East.
The proposed location is close to an overflowing elementary school, a preschool, county playgrounds, nature trails, wetlands and facilities built primarily for young children and young families.
While the matter is not about marijuana itself, it is about where that substance should be produced.
I would like the Metropolitan King County Council to spare our young children. Please do not single out the Redmond Ridge area for marijuana production. Instead, invest in education and jobs.
— Sai Ramanath, Redmond
November 19, 2013 at 7:35 PM
Legislature needs to take action on an abused system
Guest columnist Steph Sherer states, “Misinformation includes claims that 95 percent of patients don’t really have treatable medical conditions, despite their doctors’ determination otherwise” [“The medical marijuana distinction,” Opinion, Nov. 19].
She clearly is not very familiar with how the medical-marijuana system works in Washington state. Many people seeking pot for recreational use avoid going to their own doctor for an authorization because they know their doctor is most familiar with their medical history and therefore more likely to deny an authorization.
Instead, they go to a doctor who is known to freely give authorizations, or to one of the “clinics” at a pot dispensary, where they get an authorization (often without any medical documentation of a qualifying condition) by simply paying a fee to a practitioner who is unfamiliar with them.
Yes, there are patients with valid reasons to get an authorization, but they are a minority of all who do. The medical-marijuana system in our state is much-abused. This is why the state Legislature is looking at ways to tighten the regulations, or to integrate it into the recreational pot system coming next year.
— Bob Knudson, Seattle
November 6, 2013 at 7:01 PM
Don’t advertise marijuana as the next cool thing for young adults
I am so discouraged about the many ways that the use of marijuana is made to look cool to our children. The Times refers to it with the slang word “weed,” the police give out bags of Doritos and someone is responsible (the police? The city attorney?) for not enforcing the law against smoking it in public. It’s starting to look like those beer commercials that imply that when you drink beer, your life will be full of parties having tons of fun.
As the mother of a heroin addict who died when he was just 24, I can tell you that what you are doing does some young people irreparable harm. Initiative 502 will not keep dealers off the streets who sell drugs to kids — first marijuana, then some free drugs as a bonus and, more often than you’d think, ending up with heroin.
You all need to watch how you’re trivializing and/or marketing this drug as the next cool thing that comes with turning 21. At the very least, taxes from marijuana sales should pay for drug treatment and prevention for those who couldn’t handle the hype.
Jane Lamb, Seattle
October 24, 2013 at 6:05 AM
Government must consider needs of marijuana patients in new legislation
I read the article in The Seattle Times on what lawmakers are looking to do to regulate legal cannabis outlets come next year. And I just saw red [“State pot officials can exhale as rules get the OK,” page one, Oct. 17].
What I’m most concerned about is that none of the government officials, nor the Liquor Control Board members are talking to medical-marijuana patients.
I’m concerned that we’ll see the government treating the marijuana industry like the liquor industry after Prohibition — in that the casual users and their cash will have the laws tailored to them because the cash seems more important, especially for states that are suffering from the effects of a sluggish economy.
Legislation that does not include medical-marijuana patients, like me, basically puts our needs — and the fact that for many of us, medical cannabis is the difference between costly, dangerous Western medicine treatments and a life that still has some quality while we fight our diseases — aside for who knows how long.
That any lawmaker would even imagine leaving out this discussion angers and disgusts me. I’m used to our government caving in to special interests, rather than focusing on the needs of human beings, especially low-income people. As I fight my disease, I’m even more baffled that our current attorney general wouldn’t do some more research and interviews with patients.
We are different from casual users and I sincerely hope we aren’t forgotten, and both casual users and patients get what we need.
Adriana Vetter, Seattle
September 27, 2013 at 5:28 PM
What’s in a name?
A new lexicon is need when referring to those who consume marijuana. In a recent article, The Times refers to younger people who use marijuana as “stoners.” [“State’s pot estimate: joint losing popularity,” page one, Sept. 25.]
Not all people who consume marijuana are stoners, just as not all people who drink alcohol are drunks.
Cindy Schindler, Bellevue
August 28, 2013 at 7:04 PM
Where’s the science?
Teens are used to adults making statements about marijuana that are not true. This leads them to reject any advice from adults that might be true. [“Guest: What to tell your child about marijuana,” Health & Fitness, Aug. 25.]
The Times should require a guest writer like Dan Labriola to provide a source for his dubious assertions of “facts” about marijuana.
I don’t believe he can provide a single scientific, random, controlled, double-blind study that backs up his assertions. Put this stuff on the Opinion page, where it belongs.
Kurt Johnson, Kirkland
April 10, 2013 at 7:06 AM
Don’t overcharge for pot
Washington state may want to consider hiring a pot consultant other than UCLA’s Mark Kleiman [“Medical question mark for state’s pot market,” NWSunday, April 7]. His expertise is suspect, and I’m not referring to his long-held opposition to marijuana legalization either.
Consider his claim that untaxed medical marijuana poses a threat to recreational-tax revenue because the current medical price of $10 per gram is a “very hard number to hit.” Would you pay $1,150 for a tomato? That’s what an average tomato would cost at $10 per gram.
The days of basement-marijuana growing under artificial lights are ending. Now that marijuana is legal in Washington, legitimate farmers can produce it by the ton at a fraction of the current cost. Pretax at least. There is no reason marijuana should cost more by weight than cucumbers, corn or squash.
By all means, tax it, but if Washington state follows Kleiman’s lead and retail marijuana ends up costing over $10 a gram, drug cartels will sell it for less and remain in business.
Robert Sharpe, policy analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Va.
March 18, 2013 at 4:30 PM
Less tobacco use is positive
Statistics showing that Washington state high-school students would rather smoke weed than tobacco should not be viewed so harshly [“Teens more likely to use pot than cigarettes,” NWFriday, March 15].
The fact that teens are using tobacco less is in itself extremely positive and should be celebrated, regardless of what else people might believe is correlated to this (smoking pot). Studies also show a decrease in alcohol use and a rise in grades and general attitude toward school becoming more positive in high-school students.
Tobacco has been phased out because it never claimed to have health benefits, and is a known cause of death; it makes sense that it has decreased in use.
Marijuana, on the other hand, has been recently made legal in Washington and Colorado, has no risk of death and has known health benefits. In my opinion, if kids would rather smoke pot than tobacco, it’s a good thing.
Trying to compare the war on tobacco with the war on marijuana use doesn’t make sense, and these should not be lumped into the same category when it comes to getting support from the public on this subject.
–Hannah Louise Gose, Seattle
August 27, 2009 at 4:00 PM
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
August 23, 2009 at 4:00 PM
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.
– 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 cliché 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
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