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Letters to the editor

BY THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Published February 19, 2001

Marijuana should be regulated, not banned

To the Daily:

Regarding the Feb. 15 article ("Medicinal marijuana unlikely in Michigan") on the prospect of medical marijuana legislation in Michigan, the plant has been used medicinally for thousands of years. In 1999, a government-commissioned Institute of Medicine report concluded that there are limited circumstances in which smoking marijuana for medical uses is recommended.

Marijuana is one of the most studied plants around. Nonetheless, entrenched interests riding the drug war gravy train continue to claim further research is needed.

Not only should medical marijuana be made available, but adult recreational use should be regulated as well. The reason for this is simple: leaving the distribution of popular recreational drugs in the hands of organized crime puts children at great risk. Illegal drug dealers don"t ID for age, but they do push profitable, addictive drugs like heroin. Sensible regulation is desperately needed to undermine the youth-oriented black market and restrict access to drugs.

Marijuana is the most popular illicit drug. Compared to legal alcohol, marijuana is relatively harmless. Yet marijuana prohibition is deadly. Although there is nothing inherent in marijuana that compels users to use harder drugs, its black market status puts them in contact with criminals who push them. Current drug policy is effectively a gateway policy. Replacing marijuana prohibition with regulation would ultimately do a better job protecting children than the failed drug war. As for medical marijuana, doctors should decide what is best for patients, not drug warriors.

Robert Sharpe

The letter writer is the program officer for the Washington, D.C.-based Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation.

Royal Shakespeare Company tickets are too expensive

To the Daily:

The upcoming Royal Shakespeare Company visit to our University has been touted as the greatest cultural event on this campus this year.

Indeed, the authorities on such matters inform us that sharing in the presence of such a prestigious and accomplished theater troupe is a regal experience. We, as students, should feel grateful. Unfortunately, we, as students, will never be able to behold for ourselves the talent and beauty of this company"s hard work. For tickets to the tetralogy that will be performed start at $108. The next level of quality costs $162. The next is $216. The highest, and best, is $250.

Can the University Musical Society explain the purpose of bringing the Royal Shakespeare Company to the University campus when ticket prices prohibit the vast majority of the University community from taking part?

Derek Neathery

RC senior


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