Readers Write (Dec. 6): Medical marijuana, long-term care, sex offenders, orchestra, newborn screening, Detroit

  • Updated: December 5, 2013 - 7:24 PM

Dakota County attorney fails to recognize the many benefits of medical marijuana.

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HEALTH CARE

Touting medical pot, long-term care coverage

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom should stick to his role: enforcing, not writing, the law (“Backstrom firmly against medical use of marijuana,” Dec. 1) Perhaps his most insulting claim is that marijuana is not medicine. While it’s true that marijuana has not gone through the Federal Drug Administration approval process, that’s due to federal obstruction of research, not its lack of medicinal value. Studies have shown marijuana is effective at treating several debilitating conditions, including wasting, intense nausea and intractable pain. My mother used marijuana to ease the debilitating and life-threatening side effects of chemotherapy, allowing her to live for over four years post-diagnosis. She wouldn’t have survived the second year without marijuana. With it, she could keep fighting and was even able to travel overseas.

A third of Americans now live in states with medical marijuana programs. Minnesota lawmakers should listen to patients who have benefited from using the drug medicinally. Law enforcement in 20 states and D.C. have managed just fine since medical marijuana passed. Our men and women in blue can, too.

KATHY RIPPENTROP, Lakeville

• • •

Major funding for Alzheimer’s disease is, indeed, long overdue, as stated by a Dec. 2 letter writer. Allocating funds now, however, will not solve the immediate problem of caring for Alzheimer’s patients, whose ranks are expected to grow as the baby boomers age.

Individuals have been encouraged to purchase long-term care insurance. These policies are expensive but could be made more affordable with a favorable tax benefit. Just as contributions to retirement accounts are encouraged by allowing taxpayers to use them to adjust their gross incomes, the same should be done with premiums for long-term care insurance.

Reducing the projected cost of long-term care for seniors, including Alzheimer’s patients, would more than compensate for any tax revenue lost now. Perhaps the Minnesota congressional delegation could initiate this change in our tax code.

HANNA Hill, Plymouth

SEX OFFENDERS

When going gets tough, our Legislature punts

The Dec. 3 article, “New court proposed for sexual offenders,” opines that a new layer of supervision “ … could be a tough sell in the Legislature, where lawmakers are reluctant even to discuss the politically charged issue of treating serial rapists and child molesters.” Leaving aside the merits of the new proposal, let us examine carefully the idea that our legislators are reluctant to deal with a serious, albeit politically charged, issue. Why did we elect them, and what are we paying them for? To decide on a state cupcake? Serious issues such as public safety and civil liberties belong in our Legislature. Serious issues will always be politically charged. Isn’t that why the legislators are in politics?

Elaine frankowski, Minneapolis

ORCHESTRA

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