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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 30, 2013 at 7:17 AM
A commercial experiment
Much has been written, largely by opponents of I-522, arguing that there is, as of now, no measurable difference in the nutritional value of genetically modified foods compared to organic foods. [“GMO labeling campaigns raising near-record money,” page one, Sept. 5.]
This is a red herring. The real issue is whether or not the public shall have the right to decline to participate as guinea pigs in a huge (but profitable) experiment in human nutrition, the effects of which, like smoking (endorsed by doctors in the past), may be unknown for years.
I believe the public should have the right to choose whether or not to participate in any experiment, whether scientific or commercial.
Bill Appel, Seattle
September 26, 2013 at 7:34 PM
Charter schools are not a threatThe state voted to permit 40 new charter schools over the next five years. [“Rigorous process ahead for charter schools,” Opinion, Sept. 25.]
That is eight schools a year. The state’s teachers union is suing to overturn the law. Couldn’t that money be used more effectively by the schools?
Eight charter schools per year is not that threatening.
Carol Thixton, Seattle
September 26, 2013 at 7:26 AM
The right to know
The Seattle Times has recently published some articles about Initiative 522, the initiative on labeling food products that contain GMOs (genetically engineered organisms) on the upcoming ballot in Washington state. [“GMO labeling campaigns raising near-record money,” page one, Sept. 25.]
After reading all these articles, I have even more concerns about what is in the foods we eat. Of course I don’t want to spend more on food. Nor do I want costly expenses on businesses. Nor do I wish to be hoodwinked by large chemical corporations who seek to alter a vegetable such as a beet into a genetically engineered “supersugar” seed.
There have been increases over the last 60 years in documentation of cancers, brain disease, morbid obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and even mental-health issues throughout society. It seems plausible that our foods’ ingredients could hold some major keys to our poor health.
One has to ask why a few agrochemical companies would spend more than $11 million in our state to keep us from knowing more information about genetically engineered ingredients in our foods.
I have my own opinion as to why. But I must say, my “right to know” cannot be sold. We deserve to know what is in our food. More importantly, we have the right to.
Julia Sheriden, Seattle
September 23, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Don’t promote animal cruelty
Here we go again. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey circus is coming to ShoWare Arena in Kent and the Comcast Arena at Everett in October.
Has no one read about the abuse that goes on in the circus toward wild animals, forcing them to perform?
This abuse is a widely-known fact and is publicized over and over again, and yet we, as a community, are allowing the circus to come to town. Come on, Washington!
Elephants are often ripped away from their mothers at a very young age and abused to force them into a frightened compliance. They are poked and prodded with bull hooks. The other wild animals are subjected to equally abusive means to force them to perform.
Is watching them “perform” really what we want to see, and want our children to see, knowing what we know?
Seattle is such a progressive community in so many other areas. Why is this an area in which Seattle is way behind other communities who stand for animal rights?
Let’s do something. Do not promote the circus coming to town. Not to Everett. Not to Kent. Not to anywhere in this state.
Set an example. Ban the circus. Promote circuses that do not use wild animals; for example, Cirque de Soleil.
Promote saving the wild animals used in circuses, and sending them to sanctuaries where they deserve to live out their lives. Be proactive, and set an example across the country and the world.
Nancy & David Spilberg, Bellevue
September 20, 2013 at 7:02 PM
Time is of the essence
It’s time we “double down” on our effort to get an I-5 Columbia River bridge funding agreement in place right now. [“Oregon looks at building span across Columbia on its own,” NW Sunday, Sept. 8.]
If we can’t get a Coast Guard bridge permit this fall, as well as negotiate a working agreement between our two states and the federal government to salvage this bridge in some form, an economic death spiral for this region is assured.
Local high-tech companies, as well as outside companies looking to locate here, watch in disbelief as we purposefully neglect the needs of our decaying local transportation infrastructure.
As commuter wait-times and product delivery schedules lengthen, local companies will have to seek more favorable locations for their operations. Our skilled local workforce will follow the work, as good family-wage jobs disappear from southwest Washington.
That we need a new bridge is obvious, but who believes we could really start over with another ten-year planning and permitting process?
Public projects in other states are already in line to take our earmarked federal funding. After another decade of funding projects in other states, what will be left? We need to support efforts to build a bridge now.
Edward Barnes, Vancouver
September 20, 2013 at 7:34 AM
Focus on mental healthRecent headlines regarding Aaron Alexis and Donnell D. Jackson have the same conclusions. [“Red flags before D.C. gunman’s first shot,” page one, Sept. 18,] and [“Fatal-stabbing suspect was ordered to mental hospital,” NW Wednesday, Sept. 18.]
The two men both had serious mental-health problems and, evidently, they were not getting the help needed for those problems.
Lawmakers and others focus on gun control, which may be needed. But no focus is given to the problems that beset many people, including these two.
I suggest that law changes need to put as much focus on helping people with mental illness as there is on gun control.
Further, it was not a gun but a knife that was used in the Seattle killing.
Edith Keenan, Lake Stevens
September 19, 2013 at 7:25 AM
Sadly not stunned
I was struck by the headline in Tuesday’s paper that described our capital as “stunned” by the mass shooting at the Navy Yard, since being stunned usually implies that one does not expect something to have happened. [“Killing spree stuns nation’s capital,” page one, Sept. 17.]
We are the nation that could not pass the most sensible and barest of gun-safety regulations in the wake of the senseless massacre of a classroom of 6-year-olds at Christmastime. We are the nation that saw an uptick in the purchase of arms after that tragedy.
We are a nation that does not have adequate support for the mentally ill and their families.
We are the nation with the highest rate of gun violence by far in the developed world.
So, after each needless shooting death or injury of child, bystander or bus driver, each gun murder, each firearm-laced gang fight, each suicide by shooting, and now, with our flags at half mast yet again, I feel many things.
I feel anger. I feel deep sorrow. I feel fear, frustration, resignation, and even despair.
But I never feel stunned.
Michelle McClure, Bainbridge Island
September 12, 2013 at 6:29 PM
Plastic is better than alternatives
So now The Seattle Times falls for the cause-du-jour, the brave fight against plastic grocery bags. [“Editorial: Plastic bags should be on Legislature’s agenda,” Opinion, Sept. 11.]
Alas, there is no evidence that Seattle’s plastic bags are winding up in the ocean. But there is evidence presented by a study by the British government’s Environment Agency, that the alternatives to plastic bags do far more harm. This includes paper, cloth and biodegradable plastic, the latter made with cornstarch. All of them are much bigger contributors to environmental degradation than plastic, according to this study.
In the end, the urge to ban plastic bags winds up being one more bit of faux-environmentalist vanity from a city that loves to talk the talk but only rarely walks the walk.
Charles Pluckhahn, Seattle
September 12, 2013 at 4:24 PM
More than 350,000 Washington voters signed the petition to bring Initiative 522, an act to label genetically engineered foods, to the ballot here in Washington. [“Monsanto gives $4.6M to foes of GMO labeling,” NW Wednesday, Sept. 11.]
So far, Monsanto, who is the biggest agricultural profiteer of genetically modified foods in the world, has already dumped $4.6 million into the No on 522 Coalition.
Three other large agricultural companies that produce hybrid seeds and pesticides — Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences and Dupont Pioneer — are also spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each.
Not one of those companies is based in Washington state, yet they are determined to keep Washington voters from winning the right to honest labeling of their food.
Don’t let Monsanto and other agricultural profiteers buy your vote.
Emily Bishton, Seattle
A right to know
I want to know whether a given food product has genetically modified ingredients.
I am educated, informed and concerned about the amount of influence Monsanto and other commercial-food producers have over this issue.
They have generally shown themselves to be entirely self-interested and profit-motivated in the past, and don’t seem to prioritize long-term public health very highly. They don’t appear to be good corporate citizens.
Please don’t let these companies frighten Washington voters with a large and depressingly effective scare-tactic advertising campaign.
Get their money out of politics and this decision. Make them improve their transparency and make them accountable to the public.
I feel I have a right to know whether there are genetically modified ingredients in the foods I eat and feed to my children. Let’s encode that into law.
Russell Cork, Bremerton
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