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LETTERS: Marijuana Quagmire; Gun rights; and more

By: The Gazette letters
January 15, 2014
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Something is drastically wrong

It is sad to witness the headlong plunge of our once-beautiful state into the quagmire of the marijuana culture. The fact that the majority of the state's electorate actually has voted to legalize distribution of this drug would appear to be yet further evidence of the decline in our standards of propriety.

We read last week of the intention of Colorado state health officials to use $7.1 million of surplus money to study the validity of purported claims for beneficial effects of marijuana. Instead, I believe that they should direct this money toward studies into the safety of this drug. There are increasing reports of toxicity in humans consuming marijuana and most importantly, evidence of degenerative lesions in the brains of children. If this data is confirmed, we may well be unknowingly plundering the futures of our young people in a most unconscionable manner through our seemingly overpowering urge for self-gratification, a.k.a. "recreation." Something is drastically wrong here.

In actions that should have been undertaken decades ago (and that have already been done by sponsors of other FDA-approved pharmaceuticals), we should immediately begin a battery of metabolic and toxicology studies utilizing protocols consistent with scientific and regulatory standards. Certainly the pharmacologic effects of marijuana fall within the definition of "drug" as contained within the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Since this potent substance that many of the public are now happily taking into their bodies has the potential to harmfully affect their nervous systems as well as those of their children, one can only hope that they will be awakening to this problem, and very soon.

Oh, and one other happy bit. In the event solid statistically proven evidence is produced indicating that there is in some manner, toxicity of marijuana or its metabolites to the human, I would think that marijuana advocates, growers and purveyors might consider the possibility of class action litigation against them at some point for knowingly abetting the distribution of a harmful substance.

Marvin O. Maul, DVM

Colorado Springs

Already walking along the edge

One poor decision away from homelessness?

Really? I respect the message offered in the recent letter, "Champions for the homeless," that we in Colorado Springs should do more to address the issue of homelessness. However, I strongly disagree with some of the emotional argument used to support the idea.

What I disagree with most is the oft repeated argument posed in the letter, ". most of us are only one medical illness, one economic downturn, one poor decision, one deployment, one unforeseen circumstance, one tragedy or one natural disaster away from ending up in this same situation" (homeless). This is an emotional argument whose intent is to make us think that any one of us could wake up one day and just randomly find ourselves homeless.

I disagree. This is like saying that most of us are only one donut away from diabetes, one fast food meal away from congestive heart failure, one candy bar away from obesity. No, the reality is that if I'm 50 pounds overweight it's not because I had a little too much turkey dressing or pie on Thanksgiving. More likely, it's because I was already 49 pounds overweight when I ate that pie, and I was in that condition because of many bad decisions concerning my poor eating habits and lack of regular personal fitness activities. On the other hand, if I am reasonable about portion control and invest 30 minutes of time into a moderately vigorous activity like brisk walking three times per week, I will maintain a healthy weight and still be able to enjoy a treat every once in awhile that will cause me no harm.

In the same vein, nobody is one financial challenge away from homelessness unless he is already walking along the edge of a personal financial cliff through a series of bad decisions and poor habits formed over time. By maintaining a rainy day fund, staying out of debt, and consistently saving a portion of all we earn, we maintain a healthy distance from the edge of financial disaster, even when challenges face us, as they will everyone. Perhaps teaching such simple but effective principles would do more to prevent homelessness and help repair the human brokenness that causes such conditions in the first place.

Paul Smith

Colorado Springs

No other freedom regulated like guns

Re: Leonard Pitts on guns: Pitts is wrong. Libel is a tort, not a regulation. Publishing defamatory writings has never been a right under the freedom of the press. Warrants for searches and seizures are reviewed, not regulated, by the courts. None of these is comparable to the criminal laws and regulations involved in gun control.

Gun owners and dealers have accepted and cooperated with far more than a few simple, common-sense regulations. It is generally estimated that nationally there are some 20,000 regulations regarding firearms. A convicted felon may buy and use a car, but not a firearm.

A 16 year-old can get a driver's license in many states but cannot buy a pistol or have a concealed carry permit. A driver can speed all he wants on a speedway or his own property. Just don't apply the same idea to your guns. No other basic freedom in the Bill of Rights is regulated the way guns are.

Does Pitts remember that Jim Crow just regulated rights on the basis of the appearance of race or color? Does he think that perhaps it would be better if we regulated the press: fines for errors; jail time for lies and insults?

The real moral issue raised by Pitts' column is his hypocrisy. He didn't do his basic reportorial homework. He doesn't know his subject matter. He just thinks he has a moral right to regulate someone else's rights. Now, that's a right that is strictly regulated - by the Bill of Rights!

Eldon Dickens

Colorado Springs

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