Bravo for your excellent special report on pot [Aug. 16 issue]. This is an issue that is seriously hampering our rights as well as hurting our economy. The first step is to get it out into the open and talk about it as rational adults, without hiding from the truth. Your series of articles did that, and I hope you continue to address this important topic. Thanks again!
[Re: "Nightmare on Weed Street," Aug. 16] BJORN: ". . . everything started spinning around me. . . . I puked on his anti-drinking and -drugs roommate's pillow. . . . took a leak in the wastebasket. . . ."
TOM: So don't get drunk before you smoke, dumbass. Weed + Hooch = Good. Hooch + Weed = BAD. You must have missed that lesson when you were 15.
SYLVIA: "I got my cat, Coco, from my pot dealer. . . . she's not very bright. . . . you'll find her vegging in front of the TV."
TOM: Sylvia, is this your first cat? Perhaps Coco is just screwing with you. It's what cats do. On the other hand, is it possible that your dealer isn't the most ethical or professional feline breeder, and maybe Coco's mom and dad will still be brother and sister after they get divorced.
B.J.: "I had just divorced my first husband and had a young son. . . . I moved back to my parents' house. . . . my parents—rather conservative folks who insisted that 'pot leads to heroin addiction'—left the house. . . . this weed had been sprayed with Paraquat. . . . I found out this bit of information from the lovely medics who resuscitated me."
TOM: Look up the term "anxiety attack" (I've had two after smoking and thought I was going to die both times). Take responsibility for your own state of mind before you take mind-altering drugs. Do you really think paramedics in the '80s had paraquat detection kits, or is it possible they just read the same issue of Time you did?
I think your Aug. 16 feature on marijuana use and legalization should have included an interview with a medical or mental health professional, especially given the rise of marijuana use among young people today.
Casual use of the low-potency marijuana of several decades ago has given way to compulsive use of high-potency pot today, with serious ramifications. Kids become so committed to obtaining and using the drug that all their energy is expended in carrying out these activities, at the expense of family relationships and academic pursuits. Moreover, they risk impairment in those brain functions—short term memory, problem-solving skills, organizing thoughts, and conversing—that are most needed to function in today's technological society.
Marijuana today should no longer be perceived as a nonaddictive, organic substance that simply makes people mellow. Mix it with embalming fluid, and it's a whole new mad mad world. And as far as enhancing creativity, from what I can tell, it definitely increases the pothead's perception of his own brilliance, but that's about it.
THANKS FOR NOTHING, STONER
I wonder if there's an urban legend—actively being spun by promoters and gullibly being bought and passed on for mass consumption by local reporters—surrounding Seattle's annual Hempfest gathering? I'm talking about the size of the crowds.
I recently met the chief organizer of the event, Dominic Holden, who informed me with a straight face that "100,000 people" attended last year's festival and that fully "200,000" were expected to show up in 2001. Seattle Weekly repeated those fat figures in its cover story of Aug. 16 without a trace of scepticism. Since no tickets are sold for this event (it's free), and since the entryway to Myrtle Edwards Park is not graced with turnstiles, it's anyone's guess how many Hempfest participants there are.
But "200,000"? We're getting into Woodstock territory here. At Myrtle Edwards Park? I didn't bother asking Mr. Holden what drugs he was on because it was obvious at the time.
THANKS FOR NOTHING
In reference to News Clips, "Public Murder," Aug. 9: I am just horrified by the ugly implications in this article. Ms. Barnett seems to take for granted that mental illness = violence and murder. This is not in fact so, but the stigma and discrimination live on because of ignorant reporting like this.
The overwhelming majority of psychiatric patients aren't and have never been violent. Most people with psychiatric illness live surprisingly normal lives with the medications available now. Some of us don't function very well though, and that is why IT'S CALLED AN ILLNESS!
My cousin has a little girl by Aaron, and I think that showing that picture to the world [see "Changing Story," Aug. 9] was good; I think Aaron's case is a good way to finally show the world that African Americans are not just making things up about how we are treated by the police. Every time I pass by that store where it all started, I get mad because I see the cars pulling out just like Aaron did, and if you pull out of that parking lot and are heading north you have no choice but to pull out the exact same way Aaron did. Which makes me question what was so different about the way Aaron pulled out the night he was killed than ANYBODY else pulling out of there!
Anybody who knew Aaron knows that no matter what drugs he was on at the time, he would of had to be provoked for what the police said to take place. Aaron was just not that type of person, and if anything he would have cooperated! It just make me so angry when I read all the stories about what happen to Aaron and to see how the story has changed so many, many times. Now my little cousin has to go without a father because a man in a uniform yelled "shoot!" I just thank God that before he died, she said to her mom, "Could you take me to see my dad because I want to tell him to stop doing bad things"! And she took her to see her father (good thing). A week later Aaron was killed.
THANKS, READERS, BUT MACRAME ISN'T FUNNY
We are honored that the people of Seattle have voted the Northwest Folklife Festival their favorite local arts festival [Best of Seattle, July 26]. We thank them and are deeply grateful for their ongoing support of the Festival. For the record, we would like to correct a few errors in your summary of the Festival:
1. The correct name of the event is the "Northwest Folklife Festival," not "Folklife Festival."
2. Artists' work sold at the festival is selected by a jury. There were no macram頡rtists at this year's festival, nor have there been any for many years.
3. No program called "hippie dancing" was presented at this year's Festival, nor has there ever been in its 30 years of existence.
While we understand that the intent of those short summaries of the Seattle's best and worst is to be funny, it's still hard to understand why Seattle Weekly, in its 12-word summary of it, so badly misrepresents a festival that has significantly figured into the Seattle cultural scene for three decades.
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