I doubted medical use until I saw it

Lori Sturdevant’s Jan. 12 column (“Marijuana is on the move: What, then, for Minnesota?”) raised interesting questions about our current marijuana laws, but didn’t fully address why Minnesota needs a medical marijuana law. It’s unconscionable that this state refuses to allow its sick and suffering to use marijuana if their physicians recommend it.

At 26, my daughter Stephanie passed away from melanoma. The treatment caused her to waste away before my eyes. Medical professionals and family members urged me to let her use marijuana; I staunchly refused, because I was taught to respect the law. Thankfully, my other children took matters into their own hands, giving her marijuana without my knowledge.

The results were amazing. After a small amount of marijuana, Stephanie started eating again, regained some energy and looked better than she had in months. She lived three more months, and I attribute them to her use of marijuana. Because of this, I support laws allowing marijuana to be used for medical purposes.

I was prepared to go to jail for purchasing marijuana for my daughter, but that shouldn’t be a decision families already dealing with tragedy have to make. It’s time for Minnesota to pass a medical marijuana law.


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Two great articles last Sunday: Sturdevant’s Opinion Exchange column suggesting that full legalization of marijuana may be the logical strategy rather than the limited issue of medical usage, and Jon Tevlin’s metro section column reporting that businessman Randy Quast’s arrest after using marijuana for medical usage has inspired him to take up the cause to end prohibition.

Another aspect of this issue is that the drug war has caused more harm than has the use of marijuana. People of color are 10 times more likely to be arrested for using it. This country has the largest prison population in the world, beyond 2 million. It’s time for Minnesota to follow the lead of Colorado and the state of Washington to legalize marijuana and end the senseless drug war.


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While the broader conversation happens nationally, it is imperative that here in Minnesota we focus our attention on the medical marijuana bill introduced by state Rep. Carly Melin and state Sen. Scott Dibble. The legislation has bipartisan support and has as many co-sponsors as Minnesota allows. In addition, two-thirds of the population of our state thinks that the sick and suffering should be allowed to use and access marijuana if their practitioners recommend it.

Twenty states and Washington, D.C., now have compassionate medical marijuana laws. Minnesota can and should join that list this year. While I may not be inclined to support broader marijuana policy reform, I believe that we should take the sick and dying off the battlefield in the war on marijuana users. If polls are to be believed, I know my fellow Minnesotans agree.




SeaWorld article was inappropriate

With all the hype over the movie “Blackfish,” I was saddened to read what amounted to an endorsement not just of SeaWorld, but of that organization’s captive whale program, in the Jan. 12 travel section. Had the article only addressed the new Antarctica exhibit, I might have been able to overlook it (probably not), but to actually promote whales in captivity as an attraction that visitors shouldn’t miss really just made me mad. We will be canceling our subscription.


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I am very surprised that the Star Tribune would publish such a puff piece. Are we really to be suckered in by cutesy storytelling, to believe penguins are content in captivity? But then to read a promotion of the largest captive whale population at Shamu Stadium in light of the sickening but well-documented allegations of “Blackfish,” brushed off as “inaccurate and misleading” by SeaWorld (surprise!), is disturbing.

PENNY WINTON, Minneapolis



Any academic benefit must be intangible

The ridiculous argument that athletic dominance is in any way connected with academic excellence (Letter of the Day, Jan 17) is easy to dispose of. Here are the top 10 universities rated by US News & World Report on academic excellence: Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, the University of Chicago, Duke, MIT, Penn, Caltech and Dartmouth (the last two tied). I don’t see the football powerhouses — Alabama, Auburn, Florida — among them. Nor are Arizona, Syracuse and Wisconsin, the current basketball poll leaders.

Striving for big-time athletic success diminishes the academic standing of a university by obscuring the major mission of generating and promulgating knowledge and learning and by the subsidy that athletic programs get from the central budget. Separating revenue-producing athletics from universities would go a long way toward improving higher education in the United States.

P.T. MAGEE, St. Paul