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Reality, not hysteria

The letter “Marijuana: Slippery slope” would surely put a smile on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ face. It would also please the ghost of Harry Anslinger, the 1930s’ federal Bureau of Narcotics’ propagandist and author of most of the misinformation and outright lies used by anti-weed mythologizers. The “filthy, obnoxious weed” has been with us forever and, in all the years we have been smoking or otherwise ingesting cannabis, its use has never resulted in “social and medical costs.”

The letter writer imagines a “slippery, downhill slope” that, presumably, leads to heroin and cocaine use, reckless driving and bar fights, concerns that reside in the imagination, not in the real world.

In an era of redefining truth and reality, we should take care to back up our arguments with evidence and facts, no matter how appealing it may be to jump on the hysteria bandwagon.

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Marijuana has been abundantly available for as long as I can remember. If it were going to be “The Assassin of Youth” as portrayed in that film and the hilarious “Reefer Madness,” if it were a danger to the fabric of society, we would have seen the results long before we became sensible enough to legalize it.

Stanley Ivec, Seattle

 

Ignoring federal law

Your editorial on the U.S. Attorney General’s decision to rescind the Obama-era’s approach to recreational marijuana totally misses the point.

This isn’t about the obvious shortcomings of President Donald Trump or Jeff Sessions. This is simply about federal law and its enforcement. Our state attorney general, Bob Ferguson, has rightly articulated that “we are a nation of laws … and those laws apply to everybody in our country.” While he seems to only apply this principle when it fits his worldview, it is indeed an apt sentiment.

If a law is antiquated or has lost favor in our democracy, there are prescribed methods for changing it. Ignoring the law is not one of those methods, and Ferguson and our local leaders would do well to grasp this simple concept.

Imagine the justified local outrage that would occur if the state of Texas voted to lower air-pollution standards that violated the federal Clean Air Act. We would expect the feds to enforce the law, and the issue of marijuana law is no different.

Eric English, Seattle

 

Trump rhetoric

The editorial “Misleading marketing of opioids has cost local communities” pointed to 700 statewide opioid deaths in 2016 and to the ongoing marketing habits of the pharmaceutical industry, in particular Purdue Pharma and OxyContin, tolerated over many years, even after a lawsuit and major fines against Purdue in 2007 [Jan. 9, Opinion].

The Center for Disease Control reported that from 1999 to 2016, more than 200,000 people died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids. Some 42,000 were killed by opioids in 2016, almost 40 percent by prescription opioids.

President Donald Trump recently tossed out a reference to drugs “pouring into the country.” His pro-industry/anti-Mexican stance (build a wall) just won’t let him face the reality that lethal drugs originate largely domestically. It’s not all about Mexico. And he has nominated a pharmaceutical-firm executive to serve as secretary of Health and Human Services.

Tom Camfield, Port Townsend