The police interest, or rather conflict thereof

The executive directors of the Minnesota Law Enforcement Coalition, writing about public perceptions of their involvement in the debate over medical marijuana (“Law enforcement is open to careful first steps,” April 30), choose not to mention a study about marijuana that has in fact already been completed. The American Civil Liberties Union reported in 2013 that despite evidence that blacks and whites use marijuana at similar rates, blacks are 7.8 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession in Minnesota. To determine why that is, here is the study I suggest the Legislature move forward with. First prohibit police agencies from (1) receiving the proceeds from forfeitures, (2) applying for or receiving grants in which marijuana enforcement is an outcome measure and (3) undertaking searches based solely on the presence of marijuana … and then measure the changes to law enforcement’s interest in the health impacts of marijuana.

Michael Friedman, Minneapolis


The writer is executive director of the Legal Rights Center.

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Aside from helping a relatively small group with intractable seizures, anorexia or nausea, the proposal for medical marijuana would provide a large group of individuals with chronic pain, PTSD, etc., with a mood-altering drug. If the goal is an improved quality of life by mood alteration, wouldn’t more be better? If marijuana is good, why not go for great with legal cocaine, methamphetamine and narcotics? Just thought I would ask …

Nicotine in cigarettes and e-cigarettes, like THC in marijuana, is a neurotransmitter. Many people with psychiatric disease use nicotine to treat their illness, as marijuana users might. Why should society discriminate against those who self-medicate with nicotine by high taxes and no-smoking areas and not marijuana? Just thought I would ask …

Obviously, alcohol is the most prevalent of mind-altering drugs, causing major social and financial costs to society. So how does adding another mind-altering drug — marijuana — improve the situation? Alcohol abuse and the failure of the war on drugs show that prohibition doesn’t work. If some citizens demand the right to use mood-altering drugs, knowing the potential consequences, should the rest of society be required to provide aid or treatment for those consequences? Just thought I would ask …

Dr. David Detert, Northfield



Couldn’t one argue that Russia has its reasons?

I may lack enough IQ to “get it,” but can someone tell me why the United States is being so intrusive in a nonconstructive way in the Ukraine mess?

Let’s review our behavior. When the Russians invade Afghanistan, an Islamic train wreck on their old Soviet border, we supply arms to the opposition and ultimately provide the cause for their defeat while arming the Taliban for future conflict with us. We then invade Iraq, yet another country near the old USSR, with utterly no justification.

Ukraine is right on the Russian border, and a large minority of its populace speak Russian and are ethnically Russian. While I have no idea how much the Russians are stirring the pot, it cannot be denied that they have a legitimate direct interest in the situation in Ukraine. Why don’t we and the Europeans accept that this is within the Russian sphere of influence and work to help all parties reach a sensible and peaceful settlement? Imagine if we were to intervene in a situation threatening our interests in Mexico and the Russians pooled other countries to oppose us. Wouldn’t happen, so why are we in effect doing just this?

John F. Hetterick, Plymouth



Osmo, the answer to all our prayers

I believe I can speak for most of us rubes in outstate Minnesota when I say we’re almost giddy about Osmo Vänskä getting back with that orchestra of yours. How a man who means so much to so few can continue to be in the news is really something to see. Now if he was lefthanded and could pitch, that would really be something.

Mike Scarborough, Alexandria, Minn.



What are food critic, art institute sipping?

The May 1 review of Grain Stack, the redone restaurant at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (“An artful remake”), deserves a “boo” for its snobbish comment regarding the choice not to serve Coke and Pepsi products. Guess the author and the MIA think that people who enjoy art always drink wine, beer or Perrier.

Kathleen Foley, Northfield



I’m not feeling the love for this home brewing

I like quaffing a cold brew as much as the next guy, but I’m getting a little tired of opening the paper every day to see another fawning article about beer in Minnesota. The latest report extols a group of home brewers huddling up to drink in a parking lot (“Beer fans are doing it for themselves,” May 2). Even though this type of gathering would get homeless people or pot smokers tossed in jail, it’s apparently a thing to be celebrated because it’s all about, you guessed it, brewing beer in Minnesota. Whatever. I just hope I’m not coming down the street when they pile into their cars to drive home.

Rob Wallace, Bloomington