Readers Write (Sept. 20): Marijuana, gun violence, congressional Republicans

  • Updated: September 19, 2013 - 7:22 PM

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Hennepin sheriff is scaremongering

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek (“Lax marijuana enforcement puts us on a dangerous road,” Sept. 18) wrote that “there is no silver bullet that will eliminate the crime associated with marijuana sales” because gangs could still sell illegally potent marijuana or sell it to minors.

I think he knows better than that.

When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, alcohol was still restricted in sale to minors and, in many places, by strength. Did Al Capone continue his bootlegging by selling pure alcohol or selling to children? Of course not; there would be little money in that. Similarly, when marijuana becomes legal, organized crime will be out of it.

Legalized marijuana will result in enhanced tax collection and less-crowded court, jail and prison systems, as well as significantly less spending on law enforcement.


• • •

Although Stanek and his clique of cops remain addicted to marijuana prohibition, it’s not their place to dictate the law. Since 1996, 20 states and the District of Columbia have approved the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and in 2012 voters in two states approved ballot measures for outright legalization.

The fact is that not one of these states has repealed its reform laws. Reality refutes Stanek’s “reefer madness.” A majority of these reform laws have been enacted by direct popular vote in states with the initiative-­and-referendum process. In Michigan in 2008, medical cannabis carried every single one of the state’s 83 counties. In 2012, in the swing state of Colorado, legal marijuana got more votes than did either President Obama or presidential challenger Mitt Romney.

In our country, unlike in totalitarian states, the police are supposed to be servants of the people, not their bosses. If certain elements in law enforcement don’t like that, maybe they should look for honest work in some other line of endeavor.


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Weary of war — that is, the one at home

This week, our daughter texted us from the boathouse at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is a freshman, telling us there was a shooter on campus and that they were in lockdown. She said she felt safe. Soon after, she was released, but it turns out that shots were fired and suspects were detained. The university handled the situation well. Crisis averted. As parents, we were unbelievably relieved.

With all the discussion of war-weariness for what our nation is doing outside our borders, and talk of adding more to the mix, we need to focus more on the war being waged here at home. We should be weary of the mass (and random) shootings; we should be weary of the ineptitude of elected officials to take any reasonable gun-control action, and we should be weary of waiting for the next text that brings scarier news from our children. I know I am.

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