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Right-wing hypocrites

Attorney General candidate Bill Schuette may believe the misconception that attacking sick citizens for using the God-given plant cannabis (marijuana) is somehow being tough on crime (Higher Ground, "Pot, Pols and Polls," Oct. 6), but that action's consequence actually creates crime. Same thing with cannabis prohibition in general; since it creates crime, prohibitionists should be thought of as being soft on crime. Allowing cartels and the black market, with their violent nature, to regulate cannabis, is being soft on crime.

Republican hypocrisy doesn't end with the cannabis issue, but rather starts with the cannabis issue. Cannabis prohibition isn't consistent with Republican ideals, such as states' rights, smaller federal government, free trade, capitalism, constitutional rights, etc.

All the problems associated with medical use of cannabis will become null and void once the relatively safe plant is re-legalized. After all, the hoops sick citizens must jump through to use the plant amount to government-subsidized extortion. —Stan White, Dillon, Colo.


Muzzling MEPA

Thank you for your most informative article and analysis of the Au Sable litigation ("Majority rules," Oct. 6). I do not know how much attention this case has received from the "mainstream" press (which I rarely read anymore), but it should get full measure because of a) the implications for the judicial process in elected systems and b) the efficacy of legislative draftsmanship.

In the late 1990s, I invested a lot of time studying the case history of the Michigan Environmental Protection Act of 1970. By 1998, the whole legislative purpose had, if not gone completely smash, gone squishy. The environmental urgency of 1969-70 had passed, and the ... pragmatists had filled that lacuna.

The question of standing, which you cogently explain, is how "conservative" sorts kill beneficial statute by degrees. Straightaway repeal is no good: too much visibility, too much potential outcry. The absolute best way to keep a law from being enforced or even litigated is to keep plaintiffs out of court. I noted with grim amusement how legislative Republicans in the 1990s amended the law of wetlands protection from the (perhaps) overbroad standing criterion of anyone, to property owners in a given county. This was not "judicial activism" for which the Michigan Supreme Court became nationally known among scholars of state judiciaries, but the gambit is the same.

By the way, an excellent personal history of the MEPA has come out, which I cannot locate in my mess. The immortal Joan Wolfe, practically the Catherine the Great of this state's environmental activism, describes in detail how she and the hotspurs of the new West Michigan Environmental Action Council — in those days worth something — pushed the ideal into law. Thank too that arch-Republican, William G. Milliken. —G. M. Ross, Lowell

Errata: A few errors this week. Our article on musician Sean Blackman's then-upcoming Orchestra Hall extravaganza ("Sean Blackman's world music," Sept. 22) misidentified the Boston-Edison mansion where the participants lived and rehearsed. It was the former mansion of auto pioneer Charles Fisher. Also, part of a headline on a story about dancer-choreographer-theater director Aku Kadogo ("Dancing back," Sept. 15) misspelled her last name.

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