A drowsy affair
I attended the February 12 hearing in Olympia [see "Spliffed," 4/5], and my chief concern is that you may have mistakenly attended some other hearing.
The hearing before the Senate Committee on Health and Long-Term Care February 12, 2001, regarding SB 5176 was an opportunity to voice support or opposition to a small yet IMPORTANT clarification in Washington state's Medical Marijuana law RCW 69.51(A): Whether to assign regulatory oversight to this state's Department of Health.
The 'impressive' can mentioned in your column holds a 30- day supply of medical marijuana particulate matter rolled into cigarettes issued by the federal government to patients currently participating in their program. This 'enormous quantity' is one federal patient's recommended amount, presented as an example of practices/guidelines within the federal government's ongoing 25- year-old program. The canister was a simple tactile aid, certainly not part of any "performance."
Over a 60-day period, some of us may medicinally utilize an amount of marijuana troubling to you—many do not—in order to control our pain, spasticity, nausea, and/or other symptoms or side effects relating to our specific diagnosis. Medical marijuana may be smoked, and it may be ingested. Efficacy varies dependent upon means of delivery. My supply of medical marijuana fits rather nicely into a pint-sized carton or container.
Irregardless of your personal opinions [and] your mocking characterizations of ill persons as "one serious viper, indeed, mon," legally authorized patients under the care of their licensed physician deserve the protections afforded them by this law. This was made evident by the margin of our state's voters overwhelmingly approving the initiative in 1998 creating this law. Clearly defined protections that would cover all patients using marijuana, whether the "dirt weed the feds dish out'" or the "10-20 times more potent" "street bud" of your clouded imagination, remains the issue. With passage of SB 5176, the Department of Health can finally do this.
The confusion shown by your interpretation of the day's proceedings once again supports the need for accurate public education. Proof again that the affected parties— patients, care-givers, medical providers, law enforcement, etc.—need and deserve clear language/protections within this state's 3-year-old law. Careful thought has gone into SB 5176; the decision to turn regulatory duties of 69.51(A) over to Department of Health is an important one.
Again . . . are you sure you were at the correct hearing? What were ya smoking, "mon"?
Lost in the medical marijuana debate [see "Spliffed," 4/5] is the ugly truth behind marijuana prohibition. If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, alcohol would be illegal and marijuana would not. Whites did not even begin smoking pot until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda. These days marijuana is confused with '60s counterculture by Americans who would like to turn the clock back to the 1950s. This intergenerational culture war does far more harm than marijuana. Drug dealers do not ID for age, making it easier for teenagers to buy illicit drugs than beer. As the most popular illicit drug, marijuana provides the black market contacts that introduce users to hard drugs like heroin. This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy. Given that marijuana is arguably safer than legal alcohol, it makes no sense to waste tax dollars on failed policies that finance organized crime and needlessly expose children to dangerous drugs. Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children themselves are more important than the message. Opportunistic "tough on drugs" politicians no doubt feel otherwise.
ROBERT SHARPE, M.P.A.
I read with interest the article by Richard A. Martin about the KCMU/KEXP change ["New experience," 4/5]. As I read it I felt a sense of d骠 vu and I was back 25 years. In 1975 a great free-form station, KZAM 92.5 FM, was playing great but mostly obscure artists like Tom Waits, and the personality of the DJs were expressed in the music they played. Listenership was fair and slowly increasing, and the owner decided to sell the station in the belief the programming wouldn't be changed. The Eastside Journal, who bought it, said it would be so, and for a couple months it was. But they stood on the slippery slope of incrementalism—a DJ leaves, the 5:44 news is moved to the top of the hour, subtle restrictions on what can be played, then playlists. When the ratings came around, they showed that listenership had dropped. Gee, I wonder why? So soon a format change was announced, and the callsign changed to KLSY or something, and the remaining old DJs were fired. This effectively ended the free-form format in commercial radio, but the low-power college stations carried on.
So I read the same buzzwords that were used back then—synergy, industry observers, no meddling, etc.—are used once again. It was all said then, and it changed in a year. I hope that KCMU survives KEXP, but as you said, the proof is in the listening. I, being one of the skeptics, think that the last bastion of broadcast free-form radio is under assault, even already lost, will soon be relegated to the realm of the Internet.
News clips fan
Thank yoo for chanjing yor format. I am too stoopid to be able to reed a real newz artikul. Sometimz I wood fall asleep reeding James Bush's kolums becuz a haff page is too long! I like his kwarter page kolums becuz now I dont have to think for very long. Newz Klips is grate becuz I dont have to worry about thinking too hard or trying to place newz in any larger context. I like kyoot won-linerz becuz they are funnee.
I just read [the letter] of the mother of the man killed on his bike on Aurora February 27 and that she has never received an apology from the police officer who obviously was part of the reason this man is dead [Letters, 4/5]! I mean, no lights, no siren, doing over the speed limit, and a police officer. To serve and protect, and for all people to respect and obey, and to not even say, hey, I'm real sorry for your loss. I don't know this woman and I feel her pain and sorrow over this. If this officer has any children or any regard or compassion . . . for this so-called accident is plain cold-hearted. It speaks real clearly of this police officer's character. I'm appalled that this is the way a human acts, let alone an upstanding part of the Seattle police department that claims its officers are the good guys. They sure set a shining example this time, and I bet it won't be the last. I do want to say to the mother, Nancy Silvesan-Valdes, that I am sorry for your loss of your son. And then to not even hear from the person that was involved. SHAME ON YOU OFFICER HANSEN for your lack of compassion.
Letter o' the week
I have, after careful study and years of field research, developed a plan that would put an end to the use of all drugs on this planet.
1. Unleash all the nuclear warheads in the NATO arsenal. (With China's recent behavior, it couldn't be a better time.) Certainly the recipients of these missiles of brotherly love will respond in likewise manner and, boom, 80-90 percent of all drug use would vanish in a matter of minutes.
2. Release all biological weapons in the world's remaining arsenals.
3. Release all available fungicides, sporacides, and chemical defoliants on earth's offending flora. As it would be impossible to single out the devil's known plant allies—not to mention those not yet discovered—the only solution is to blanket all plant life and treat the waters of the rivers and oceans with toxic chemicals.
Then and only then, peace would reign and the evil scourge of Satan and his drug-crazed followers end.
JAMES W. THREADGILL, M.A.
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