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|Marijuana Prohibition Not Based on Science|
|Commentary/Politics - Letters to the Editor|
|Tuesday, 18 June 2002 18:00|
Section 11 of the Cannabis Control Act (see City Shorts, River Cities’ Reader Issue 378, June 12, 2002) allows eligible Illinois patients to legally use medical marijuana, providing they obtain written approval from the Illinois State Police.
Do Illinois police possess the medical qualifications necessary to supervise doctor-patient relationships?
Not only should medical marijuana be made available to cancer and AIDS patients in need, but marijuana prohibition itself should be subjected to a thorough cost-benefit analysis. Unfortunately, a review of marijuana legislation would open up a Pandora’s box most politicians would just as soon avoid.
America’s marijuana laws are based on culture and xenophobia, not science. The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican migration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical Association. White Americans did not even begin to smoke marijuana until a soon-to-be-entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer-madness propaganda.
Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best. An estimated 38 percent of Americans have now smoked pot. The reefer-madness myths have long been discredited, forcing the drug-war gravy train to spend millions of tax dollars on politicized research, trying to find harm in a relatively harmless plant. Meanwhile, research that might demonstrate the medical efficacy of marijuana is consistently blocked.
The direct experience of millions of Americans contradicts the sensationalistic myths used to justify marijuana prohibition. Illegal drug use is the only public-health issue wherein key stakeholders are not only ignored but actively persecuted and incarcerated. In terms of medical marijuana, those stakeholders happen to be cancer and AIDS patients.
Additional background information: (http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/HISTORY.HTM) and Pew Research poll findings (http://www.people-press.org/reports/print.php3?PageID=122).
Robert Sharpe, M.P.A.
Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance
Anti-Hate Group Offers Agenda to Fight Racist Flyer
Recently local operatives of the National Alliance – “the largest and most active neo-Nazi organization in the United States,” according to the Anti-Defamation League – have been distributing in the Quad Cities a hate-filled flyer entitled “Fight for Your Race.” Some residents have been horrified to find this hate propaganda on their lawns wrapped in plastic bags with copies of such free publications as the Thrifty Nickel and the River Cities’ Reader, which are not usually home-delivered. We have determined that these publications were not involved in this distribution, and therefore are also victims of this hate group.
The hate flyer advertises a “Pro-White Video Game” available from a record company owned by the National Alliance. The “game” is no game; it is an intensely evil racist and anti-Semitic attempt to capture converts, especially young converts, for this hate movement.
This is a clear effort by the neo-Nazi National Alliance to lure our Quad Cities youth into a movement like that of Adolph Hitler and his ilk nearly 75 years ago. The Quad Cities Anti-Hate Coalition urges all Quad Citians to be aware of this effort, and to join with us in clearly and loudly denouncing and rejecting it.
We also urge these actions:
(1) That our local new media understand that the National Alliance does not seek publicity. They seek converts, and they will succeed if this community allows them to operate in the dark and in secret. The media needs to expose them at every opportunity. To wait until they have done something illegal or newsworthy will only play into their hands.
(2) That every local law-enforcement agency take advantage of training resources on how to respond to hate groups. One such program is “Introduction to Hate & Bias Crimes” provided online by Auburn University Montgomery, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The Quad Cities Anti-Hate Coalition will pay for this program for local law-enforcement agencies.
(3) That parents and educators beware! Our young people are the target of sophisticated marketing techniques utilizing music, video games, clothing, and the Internet to recruit them into this hate group. Use your parental/educational authority and influence to protect them from this.
(4) That every mayor and school superintendent, and every other person in a position of leadership, should speak out clearly and quickly against such hate-mongering activities each time the purveyors of hate act. We need our leaders to lead us away from hatred and to lead us toward respect and acceptance for everyone.
Surely September 11 taught us that seemingly small acts of hatred if ignored can lead to tragic acts of terrorism.
Quad Cities Anti-Hate Coalition
Pastor Alfred K. Beck
Rabbi Henry Jay Karp
Reverend Charles R. Landon Jr.
Reverend A. Parker Lewis III
Nuclear Storage Not a “National Security” Issue
I wish to dispel a sort of myth that is being perpetrated on the American public, for the sake of alleged “national security.”
The controversial Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive-waste dump will soon be voted on in the U.S. Senate. It has already been approved by the House, citing one highly inaccurate mantra as justification: “Keeping high-level radioactive waste in one well-guarded facility out in the desert is wiser and safer than leaving it scattered in 103 private sites near centers of population” or some variant of this statement.
But what the nuclear industry and its allies have repeatedly failed to mention is that by law, a nuclear reactor can operate only if it maintains an operational spent-fuel pool. If the pool closes, the reactor closes. Period. So even after Yucca Mountain opens, there will still scattered “nuclear-waste sites” in full operation.
I would also like to point out that Yucca Mountain does not meet federal or environmental-safety standards, and is an obvious case of blatant environmental racism. If federal agencies followed the rules, it would never be built.
• The site leaks like a sieve, failing to meet Safe Drinking Water Act standards. There is too much radioactivity making its way into groundwater, so the EPA enlarged the affected area, thus diluting radioactivity to the point that it would meet federal standards. The tribes that inhabit reservations in the area would be directly exposed to this.
• Federal nuclear-waste law calls for a “geologic” repository. When it was determined that the geology of Yucca Mountain wouldn’t contain radioactivity, the Department of Energy changed the site-suitability rules to assert that man-made containment structures would do the trick.
• Not only does the site fail to meet standards set by the federal government, but the issue of transport safety has yet to be addressed by this administration. The route involves 43 states, with 8,073 shipments coming through Iowa alone.
It is time to stop exploiting the “threat of terrorism” as a means to promote special interests. Building more nuclear plants, and reissuing licenses to those that have consistently failed to meet basic safety regulations, has nothing to do with “national security.” National security lies in the practice of strengthening and enforcing federal regulations, and seeking real solutions for transportation and storage of high-level radioactive waste.
The only way to truly ensure “national security,” then, is to break our dependence on fossil fuels, phase out dangerous, outdated nuclear facilities, and actively endeavor to initiate a national transition to clean, renewable-energy sources.
For more information on “Radioactive Roads & Rails,” contact the Nuclear Information Resource Service at (http://www.nirs.org).
Knowledge is power!
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