Report more on marijuana bills

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2005

As a highly consistent reader of the Juneau Empire, it is deeply troubling that the only mention of the proposed House Bill 96 and Senate Bill 74 I have seen, which would in effect re-criminalize casual marijuana use, is encapsulated in Nancy Andison's poignant letter.

Perhaps this issue does not merit the attention of the triumph of journalism that is the Empire, and I know there are some real hot-button local issues that have the layout editors scratching their heads as to where they are going to find the room to publish the fourth or fifth item on "Tank the dog, what really happened in Dredge Lake slaying." Obviously that should take precedent over some silly thing like rights of local dopers.

Alaska should have a state government that respects the independent spirit of those of us who wander its valleys and hills enough to know that we relish the privacy of our homes. There is a measure of additional peace that many assume to be inherent in living in these remote hinterlands, uncongested by population density and its associated evils. I believe that our laws and governance should reflect these yearnings.

In addition to the philosophical problems I have with the bills, there are more concrete and truly pressing reasons to oppose this attempt at constricting our liberties. In Section 2, Article 1 of the findings portion of HB 96, it feebly argues that marijuana "has addictive properties similar to heroin." This is the foundation of their logic? Anyone who has ever witnessed heroin addiction in as cursory a manner as seeing a junkie inhabiting a gutter writhing in agony knows this to be an utter falsehood.

This very same article proposes rather nebulously that "marijuana has many adverse health and social effects," and while there may be a modicum of truth to that statement, it is laughable considering the disease that is this state's alcohol problem. Marijuana may give you the munchies, but at least you can be sure it's not expunging your kidneys.

Have another one senator; sure is easy when it's socially acceptable. You can just click your heels, and Johnnie Walker stops by for a chit-chat.

Remember who the government is really beholden to. Who knows what dark crevasse of special interest these bills crawled out of, but it's not in the best interest of Alaskans.

Leo Helmar


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