To the editor,
If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms,
marijuana would be legal and there would be no medical marijuana debate.
Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death,
nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Marijuana can be
harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate as health
interventions and ineffective as deterrents.
The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican immigration
during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical
Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have
been counterproductive at best. White Americans did not even begin to
smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched federal bureaucracy began funding
reefer madness propaganda.
Marijuana prohibition has failed miserably as a deterrent. The United
States has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, where
marijuana is legally available to adults. The only clear winners in the
war on marijuana are drug cartels and shameless tough-on-drugs politicians
who’ve built careers confusing the drug war’s collateral damage with a
relatively harmless plant.
Students who want to help end the intergenerational culture war otherwise
known as the war on some drugs should contact Students for Sensible Drug
Policy at www.SchoolsNotPrisons.com.
Robert Sharpe, MPA
Common Sense for Drug Policy
“A question of public safety, please vote no on Question 2″
To the editor,
The vote on Question 2 is fast approaching and Massachusetts voters need to know all the facts. The measure, which allows people to seek doctor-prescribed suicide for various illnesses, is flawed in its language and erodes legal protections for the most vulnerable of our population – particularly the mentally ill.
I will concede that there are extreme cases of acute physical illness or affliction that could warrant drastic action; e.g.: a fellow soldier being tortured with no hope of escape or the unbearably painful final days of a terminal cancer. Fortunately, most of us have not had to make a decision under such circumstances and cannot pass judgment on those who have. However, these cases would not be the norm for the so-called Death with Dignity Act.
Organizations like Compassion & Choices, formerly known as the Hemlock Society, are pushing a flimsy law that could mean the death of many whose time is not yet even on the horizon. The mentally ill are perhaps the most at risk of being liberally prescribed death. Insurance companies and successors will even have an incentive to push the option should the question pass.
Ask those with physical disabilities if they are happy with their lives and you will find that even the severely handicapped are. Was Christopher Reeve less of a man after his accident? Where would the world be without the charity, research and art of Helen Keller, Stephen Hawking and Frida Kahlo?
I am neither a priest, nor a doctor and will not pretend to have authority regarding salvation or medicine. What I do know is that this ballot initiative is legally weak and dangerous to the general well-being of Massachusetts residents.
UMass Republican Club President Emeritus