Regarding Curt Guyette's excellent article ("War resister’s league," MT, May 2-8), if health outcomes (instead of cultural norms) determined drug laws, marijuana would be legal. Alcohol poisoning kills thousands annually. Tobacco is one of the most addictive substances known. Marijuana is not physically addictive and has never been shown to cause an overdose death. The first marijuana laws were a racist reaction to Mexican laborers taking jobs from whites during the early 1900s, passed in large part due to William Randolph Hearst's yellow journalism. White Americans did not begin to smoke marijuana until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer-madness propaganda. These days marijuana is confused with ’60s counterculture by those who would like to turn the clock back to the ’50s. This intergenerational culture war does far more harm than marijuana.
Illegal marijuana provides the black-market contacts that introduce users to hard drugs such as heroin. This "gateway" is the direct result of a fundamentally flawed policy. In Europe, the Netherlands has successfully reduced overall drug use by replacing marijuana prohibition with regulation. Dutch rates of drug use are significantly lower than U.S. rates in every category. Separating the hard- and soft-drug markets and establishing age controls for marijuana has proven more effective than zero tolerance. —Robert Sharpe, The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation, firstname.lastname@example.org, Washington, D.C.
I'd like to commend Larry Gabriel for a fine article on the drug Ecstasy ("Rapture and fears," MT, May 2-8). I am astounded by the accuracy of the report. Very few newspapers understand Ecstasy and have been printing bizarre stories. Gabriel’s report is right on the money, with the straight facts and reports the true underlying faults of America's drug war. —Kim Hanna, Worcester, Mass.
Been there, done that
I'm a retired alcoholic/dope fiend. I understand addiction real well. I also believe that all drugs should be legalized. The alleged "War on Drugs" is simply another code word in white America's racist excuse to demonize people of color. People get high because they want to change the way they feel. Whether it's marijuana or Prozac depends on who's picking up the tab. When Ecstasy users are sent up the river like black men and their money and property forfeited regardless of conviction, then maybe the racist aspect of this "war" will be diminished. Will the people rise up and demand an end to this nonsense? Not as long as drugs are painted with a non-white face. —Marcus K. Adams, MarcusKAdams@netscape.net, Ypsilanti
Why they fight
Just remember that the drug czars' jobs depend on the perpetual prosecution of, but never a victory in, the drug war. Also, remember that the politicians depend on the drug war and its rhetoric to scare up votes (by scaring voters). The politicians also rely on the drug war to sustain their constituent industries that depend on the economics of prohibition in order to make generous profits and campaign contributions that keep the drug warrior politicians in power and, therefore, keep themselves in business. —Myron Von Hollingsworth, Fort Worth, Texas
Better than Cincinnati
I commend Keith A. Owens on a wonderful article regarding the recent (and apparent) uprising in Cincinnati ("Just like Detroit?" MT, April 18-24). Fangman has some nerve stating that if his cops didn't do what they do, then Cincinnati would become another Detroit or Washington, D.C. Is he blind? Can he not see that Cincinnati is nothing more than a shithole version of Cleveland or Detroit for that matter? Yes, the Detroit Police Department is under investigation, but so are about 30 other departments around the country, and the situation in Cincinnati has just sped up that process. I don't know how many "terrorists" (what a ridiculous way to describe unarmed traffic violators) Detroit cops have killed since 1995, but I will say that I think they have a much larger problem in Cincinnati than we do in Detroit at this point. I've lived here all my life, and when I hear jackasses making uneducated statements about a city they have probably never been to, I lose all respect for what they have said. Again, thank you for a great article. —Russ Cusamano, email@example.com, Eastpointe
On the money
I wanted to thank you for Liz Langley’s garage sale piece in the Metro Times ("Sale away with me," MT, April 25-May 1). Not only was it hilarious, but I also enjoyed the nice metaphor she sneaked in there to disguise the whole article. I’ve written similar things, and it’s always amusing to spot the people who figure it out and the ones who don’t. —Alex Vojnovski, Auburn Hills
Due to an editing error, a key point of Jack Lessenberry’s May 2-8 column on Detroit’s mayoral race and Covenant House was unclear. The column should have called on readers to: "Pledge to support any candidate who will send at least half as much to Covenant House as he/she spends on their own campaign."