Weekly reader responses

Campaigning for cannabis

In a recent Higher Ground column, Larry Gabriel wrote about why people should sign MILegalize petition to end Michigan's cannabis prohibition ("Make the right choice: Support MILegalize," Nov. 25). Reader Stan White wrote in to offer his endorsement:

As a Colorado resident and longtime cannabis (marijuana) activist, I support the Comprehensive Cannabis Law Reform Initiative Committee and the MILegalize movement ending cannabis prohibition in Michigan. It's important for voters to realize and avoid controversial opportunities, the likes of which have fractured the cannabis movement in Ohio and California that failed. With MILegalize, I'm confident that just like in Colorado, every subsequent poll will show Michigan citizens continue supporting the end of cannabis prohibition.

Reader William Clark also wrote in support:

I favor the MILegalize petition. Please visit its website and contribute to its campaign fund.

Michigan is a right-to-farm state. If your land is suitable and you raise crops according to state standards, you may compete in the state's open market. I'd say legalize marijuana but don't corporatize it. Never interfere with patients' rights to grow their own. And tell the police to take a hike. They are addicted to profiting from Michigan's antiquated, unconstitutional forfeiture law. Their reps have repeatedly hijacked lawmakers' votes to fine tune the MMMA by showing up en masse and playing "tough cop" in legislators' offices just before a vote.

Prohibition of marijuana is a premise built on a tissue of lies: concern for public safety. Our new laws save hundreds of lives every year on our highways alone. In November 2011, a study at the University of Colorado found that in the 13 states that decriminalized marijuana between 1990 and 2009, traffic fatalities have dropped by nearly 9 percent — now nearly 10 percent in Michigan — more than the national average, while sales of beer went flat by 5 percent. No wonder Big Alcohol opposes it. Ambitious, unprincipled, profit-driven undertakers might be tempted too.

In 2012, a study released by 4AutoinsuranceQuote revealed that marijuana users are safer drivers than non-marijuana users, as "the only significant effect that marijuana has on operating a motor vehicle is slower driving," which "is arguably a positive thing." Despite occasional accidents, eagerly reported by police-blotter "journalists" as "marijuana-related," a mix of substances was often involved. Alcohol, most likely, and/or prescription drugs, nicotine, caffeine, meth, cocaine, heroin, and a trace of the marijuana passed at a party 10 days ago. However, on the whole — as revealed in big-time, insurance-industry stats, within the broad swath of mature, experienced consumers — slower and more cautious driving shows up in significant numbers. Legalization should improve those numbers further.

No one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. It's the most benign "substance" in history. Most people — and particularly patients who medicate with marijuana — use it in place of prescription drugs or alcohol.

Good grief, GOP

In a recent Politics & Prejudices column ("Syrians and our shame," Nov. 25), Jack Lessenberry

wrote about how Gov. Rick Snyder was "the first to announce that he wanted to slam the door in the face of Syrian refugees" in the wake of the ISIS terrorist attacks in Paris. Reader "Harry Palmer" pointed out the hypocrisy among the right's anti-Syrian refugee rhetoric.

That's too funny. The party of all "tough talk and swagger" is afraid of widow and orphan refugees. Let's forget for a minute that a lot of these GOP "leaders" cheerlead Bush and Co. into setting the Middle East on fire in the first place, or that they'll be "X" number of gun-related murders and accidental shootings (maybe even another mass shooting) before year's end — something that actually puts American lives in danger every day — and they'll do nothing about that. Hard to believe even the 25 percent of the country that call themselves Republicans aren't embarrassed.

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