#453 Why Letter to the Editor Writing Is Important

WHY LETTER TO THE EDITOR WRITING IS IMPORTANT

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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #453 – Saturday, September 18th, 2010

This November voters will decide state wide initiatives of importance
to the drug policy reform community.

Newspaper clippings about California’s Proposition 19 are MAP posted
at http://www.mapinc.org/find?272

Clippings about Arizona’s Proposition 203 are at
http://www.mapinc.org/find?273 and Oregon’s Measure 74 at
http://www.mapinc.org/find?276

Your letters in response to the newspaper articles and opinions are
an important part of educating the voters.

Good advice about prioritizing your letter writing targets is
provided by Robert Sharpe, who has had 2,358 letters published,
http://www.mapinc.org/resource/tips.htm

Facts you may find of value are at
http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/node/53 and
http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/node/54

Below is a small selection of letters by folks like you published to
date. In a close election your letters could make the difference.

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed,
it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

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SEVERAL REASONS TO SUPPORT PROP. 19

Recent polls show only a narrow lead for Proposition 19, the
initiative that would legalize personal use and possession of modest
amounts of marijuana for people over 21. I am not a marijuana user,
but this puzzles me, since there are a host of reasons for supporting it.

The legal sale and use of marijuana will: 1 ) generate California tax
revenue instead of revenue for foreign drug organizations; 2 ) shift
production and distribution from unscrupulous criminals to
law-abiding businesses; 3 ) limit sales to minors because, like
alcohol, sales can be monitored and rules enforced; 4 ) reduce crime
because business disputes can be addressed with courts, not guns; 5 )
increase the product safety of a widely used substance that is
currently unregulated; and 6 ) alleviate prison overcrowding and
redirect law enforcement resources to dangerous crimes.

Donald G. Pellinen

Livermore

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VOTE ‘YES’ ON PROPOSITION 19

I just want to comment on Sheriff Royal’s reply to publisher Jeff
Ackerman’s column on the so-called “post busts.” Yes, illegal acts
are being committed, as the Sheriff points out. But, one must ask
oneself, “why”? For the simple reason that profits generated by
illegal marijuana by the murderous thugs in Mexican drug cartels are
absolutely obscene, not to mention the horrible costs of human
suffering, here and in Mexico. Law enforcement folks around our
state who rail against making marijuana legal are, by and large,
missing the point. Let’s put these murderers out of business once
and for all. Take away their profits … Vote “YES” on Proposition 19.

Dennis Sloate

Nevada City

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THE POT PROBLEM

No one wants to keep marijuana illegal more than the drug lords.

Legalizing and taxing marijuana could put the cartels and the gangs
out of the marijuana business – if Proposition 19 passes and the
counties wisely use the regulatory powers it is designed to give them.

Legalization would take away the huge economic incentive for the
terrorism, corruption and killing. It would relieve our law
enforcement officers of the burden of busting people for marijuana
possession so they can concentrate resources on real
crimes. Finally, legalization and taxation would channel the revenue
from marijuana taxes into essential public services and help balance
California’s budget.

Lawrence Chamblee

West Hollywood

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ALL OVER AGAIN

After reading about crime after crime in the Times-Standard, I would
like to weigh in on a proposal about the pending Proposition 19
marijuana legalization initiative.

Recently, this paper handed the bully pulpit to some who are against
legalization. I am a simple man who uses this medicinal herb for an
eye condition, and the aforementioned opinions do not take into
consideration the people who need an alternative means of relief.

After prohibition, the government legalized and taxed liquor and took
the profits out of the industry. Well, duh. Yogi Berra Sr. said it
pretty well when he said, “It’s deja vu all over again.”

Randy Myers

Arcata

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LEGALIZE POT, HURT CARTELS

Re “We’re part of Mexico’s drug war” (Marcos Breton, Sept. 1):
Marcos Breton is right that we are part of Mexico’s drug
war. However, when he says that legalizing marijuana in California
would be an insult to Mexico, he seriously misses the mark.

What do Mexican officials on the front line of that drug war say? In
December, the Wall Street Journal quoted “a senior Mexican official
who has spent more than two decades helping fight the government’s
war on drugs” as saying, “Economically, there is no argument or
solution other than legalization, at least of marijuana.”

He is not alone. the Journal reported: “Growing numbers of Mexican
and U.S. officials say at least privately that the biggest step in
hurting the business operations of Mexican cartels would be simply to
legalize their main product: marijuana. (“Saving Mexico,” Wall
Street Journal, Dec. 26, 2009.)

Will legalizing marijuana in California eliminate the cartels
overnight? Undoubtedly not. Will it seriously hurt them if we cut
their income in half? Clearly, the answer is yes. This November,
let’s seriously hurt the cartels. Vote yes on Proposition 19.

Steve Meinrath, Sacramento

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WAR ON DRUGS IS A LOSING BATTLE

Lots of speculation in the papers on the value of California’s
marijuana crop and the amount of taxes that will be collected if
Proposition 19 passes. Nobody knows that answer and you can’t even
make an “educated” guess.

As of today, the illegally grown or imported marijuana goes for $300
an ounce. The legal medicinal marijuana has a known price too. The
illegal homegrown is as free as growing flowers or tomatoes.

Will the illegal growers/importers even stay in the business if the
price drops to $30 an ounce, or whatever the legal medicinal price
is? I seriously doubt it.

Will the illegal homegrown producers, even if for only their own use,
pay the tax on their crop?

Remember two things:

1 ) We have not been able to make a dent in the amount of illegal
marijuana available with our war on drugs.

2 ) Al Capone did not go to prison for murder or violation of the
Volstead Act. He went to prison for tax evasion.

Face it, folks, if you want to control marijuana, you will only do so
through the tax code. Crime pays.

Fred Boest, Red Bluff

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PROHIBITION MAKES OUTLAWS

Re “Legalize it?” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, August 5):

The time to legalize marijuana is coming, whether some people like or
not. Those who oppose it will bring out every boogeyman that you can
think of. There will never be a proposed law they like.

We need to pass Proposition 19. If there are problems, we can fix
it. That is no different than most things in life. Trial and error
is the way we learn.

The present system of prohibition makes outlaws out of our children
and friends. Prohibition fuels a significant portion of drug
violence, especially in Mexico. The current laws add to our prison
population.

We need to change it now. If we wait for the perfect law, it will
never happen. All the dire consequences that are proposed are with
us now, with prohibition. Pass Prop. 19 this year!

Charles Donaldson

Sacramento

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MARIJUANA LIKE ALCOHOL

For some reason, marijuana has wrongly been treated in law as if it
were an addictive narcotic such as heroin or cocaine.

However, marijuana differs from such drugs in that it does not
produce physical addiction. Therefore, it would make sense for the
law to be consistent, regard it in the same vein as alcohol and
legalize it, with due provision for the same kind of controls that
are imposed on the production and consumption of alcohol.

Doing so would destroy the black market that makes trafficking in
marijuana so obscenely lucrative. Obviously, my vote will be “yes”
on Proposition 19 in November.

Raymond C. Backes

Altadena

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Prepared by: Richard Lake, Focus Alert Specialist http://www.mapinc.org

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