zach (zra) wrote in goplobby,
zach
zra
goplobby

ok, this guy is in kentucky...

Mr. Hawpe,

First, thanks so much for your thought out response. I always enjoy the
opportunity to discuss policy and society, and this happens to be a
favorite subject of mine. I hope you'll appreciate the frank nature of my
email and recognize that I am being direct in the interest of effective
communication.

I would have an easier time trying to swallow the notion that you were
trying to convey the actual magnitude of the situation regarding marijuana
had the headline of your article not been: "Marijuana's not very funny -
just look at the statistics (paying particular mind to the plural usage of
'statistic')." Indeed, you'll understand what I mean when you recognize
that your article includes only one statistic. Moreover, said statistic
in the context of your argument completely overlooks the admitted 90% of
marijuana users who seem to have no trouble shaking the drug or moderating
use. The facts are that marijuana prohibition is a risk to many more
people than marijuana itself is, regardless of circumstance. Really go
dig through the numbers if you care to debate that point.

The war on marijuana is a bad idea for the same reason that Jimmy Moore's
notion of a government run drug monopoly is: They are both prime examples
of government doing more harm than good. A domestic policy shift focused
on harm reduction, voluntary treatment, accountability, and honesty on the
part of those in power would be a big step to increasing law enforcement
effectiveness and a huge relief to many state budgets, as well as federal
ones. Would you like to hear about those statistics?

I'm all yours if you want to know a bit more about the subject.

Best regards,

Zachary Sycks
President
Georgians Opposed to Prohibition

> Mr. Sycks:
> The point of my column was to suggest that some marijuana advocates - not
> all, but some - take a very casual approach to the potential downside of
> using pot. The fiction in which they indulge is that we shouldn't worry
> very
> much about the consequences of pot use. That seems unwise to me.
> Cigarettes
> are bad stuff. Alcohol is bad stuff. And pot is bad stuff. At least by my
> reckoning. And as we discuss the question of legalization - about which I
> am
> of two minds - I think we have to consider the fact that pot is harmful to
> a
> signficant percentage of those who use it.
> David Hawpe
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Zachary Sycks [mailto:zra@mindspring.com]
> Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2006 7:52 PM
> To: Hawpe, David
> Subject: Editorial - Marijuana is not very funny
>
>
>
> In regards to your article:
> http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060521/COLUMNISTS08/605210375
>
> I am writing to express my contention with the positions of both you and
> Jimmy Moore. First, Jimmy Moore suggests that the government should be in
> the business of taxing and selling marijuana. While I can appreciate
> taxes
> on marijuana just like any other good or service, the notion that
> government
> should become a drug dealer to citizens is utterly foolish.
>
> Marijuana is already a billion dollar industry in the US, with many
> peaceful
> members of the trade. Why not let what has become a thriving industry
> under
> the legal radar become legitimized? This would effectively remove the
> criminal element just as the revocation of alocohol prohibition removed a
> powerful financial prospect from the clutches of organized crime by
> returning it to legitimate enterprise.
>
> Marijuana has among one of the lowest addiction rates of any drug, and in
> many years is often less than that of alcohol or nicotine. According to
> the
> Natioal Institute of Medicine:
>
>
>
>
> [p. 95 "Marijuana and <http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/marimed/>
> Medicine," National Institute of Medicine]
>
> Drug Category ****************** Proportion Of Users That Ever Became Dependent (%)
> Tobacco ************************ 32
> Alcohol ************************ 15
> Marijuana (including hashish) ******* 9
> Cocaine ************************ 17
> Heroin ************************ 23
>
> Not to mention, the prohibition of marijuana and other drugs costs
> americans
> billions of dollars every year, not counting lost tax revenue and the
> economic benefits of if it were a legal product. As you even stated,
> "Often, marijuana addiction damages relationships. Its illegality can get
> a
> user arrested." This is circular logic. Marijuana's biggest risk is that
> it is illegal, as the health risks of marijuana themselves are relatively
> minimal on their own and compared to other drugs. To the extent that they
> are worse than tobacco because the smoke is generally unfiltered, most
> tobacco smokers intake far more tobacco smoke by many orders of magnitude
> than do marijuana smokers take in marijuana smoke on a daily basis.
>
> I'll quote you once more to make another point: "Apparently about 10
> percent of those who try the stuff become hooked at some point and 'the
> typical absence of dramatic consequences can make marijuana addiction
> difficult to break.'" This is absolutely correct. The consequences of
> marijuana use, aside from arrest, are relatively low for most users. Even
> your data suggest this. The cost value of marijuana prohibition to
> society
> is very low, and the prohibition of a substance that costs taxpayers more
> than it helps them is a detriment to all of us any way you slice it.
> Creating a criminal subculture out of numerous citizens, including the
> ones
> that you don't see in the news and don't hear about because they lead
> successful lives and have healthy families, is no way to handle our
> nation's
> drug problem.
>
> I'd love to hear your responses and have the opportunity to discuss this
> issue with you more. I've got plenty more where this came from.
>
> Best Regards,
>
> Zachary Sycks
> President
> Georgians Opposed to Prohibition



i wonder how many well thought out "letters to the editor" here in atlanta it would take to get some voices to catch on.
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