Letters for April 17, 2003

Corrections: For technical reasons, a piece of text was omitted from last week’s cover story, “The Perils of Prop. 215.” The last column of page 13 should have read: “Current Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey has friends and enemies on both sides of the medical-marijuana conundrum. In a recent article in the internationally distributed pot magazine Cannabis Culture, Ramsey was hailed simultaneously as being both ‘much-feared’ and an ‘unlikely hero’ for stands he’s taken in the med-pot war. The article, written by a former CN&R contributing writer released from marijuana possession charges in Butte County on a medical defense, applauds Ramsey for an incident in which he faced off against DEA agents who were harassing an Oroville medical marijuana user.”

Also, Ramsey’s calculations of how much marijuana can be produced in a six-plant crop of cannabis were misrepresented. Ramsey says about four pounds of cured marijuana can be produced from six plants.

Gone to pot?
I’d like to thank the Chico News & Review and especially reporter Josh Indar for an excellent piece [“The Perils of Proposition 215,” cover story, April 10].

California has been a real battleground since the passage of 215, which most of us hoped would simply allow truly sick people to use cannabis as adjunctive therapy upon the recommendation and under the supervision of their physicians.

As your article points out, this has not happened. The federal assault on California law and sick people has been shameful. Just as bad is the lack of consistent guidelines within the state. Patients, caregivers and law enforcement remain confused about just how to implement the simple provisions of the Compassionate Use Act.

The Butte County “guidelines” of District Attorney Ramsey are not scientific and represent law enforcement’s continued criminalization of a valuable medicine. Yet, I do not blame Ramsey or other local prosecutors but our own state Attorney General Bill Lockyer for failing to support state law to the feds and failing to provide realistic and humane guidelines statewide. Lockyer could end the confusion in California overnight with a formal declaration to local authorities. A unanimous California Supreme Court in the Mower decision upheld 215 and invited clarification from the Legislature and Attorney General’s Office.

On one side marijuana enthusiasts seek full legalization, while on the other side recalcitrant law officers continue to harass and imprison legitimate patients. In the middle are not the 10,000 to 20,000 patients that Mr. Indar mentions but hundreds of thousands of sick, dying and disabled Californians who just want relief.

Jay R. Cavanaugh, Ph.D.
National Director
American Alliance for Medical Cannabis
West Hills, CA

Don’t blame us
I really hate to disagree with a fellow anti-Bushite at this point, but when are rank-and-file Democrats such as Rex Stromness [“Gored by George,” Letters, April 10], going to let bygones by bygones and quit blaming Ralph Nader and all his supporters for the present state of affairs under the Bush administration? All we did was support the candidate of our choice, which was definitely not poor, hapless Al Gore.

So come on already! Gore actually did get more votes, and in what can only be called a Sunshine State coup George W. Bush stole the presidency, with the help of a slim majority on the Supreme Court. So, Rex, let’s put the blame squarely where it belongs. Convict the crooks, not all the good citizens simply trying to serve a wake-up call to our political system.

Well, on Sept. 11, 2001, some “gents” from the Middle East brought us all a wake up call that kind of over-shadowed much that had occurred before then, and the ape-like “Dubya” has fought back the only way he seems to know how; by having others use overwhelming blind and senseless violence in his place.

Yes we know all the evils that the present administration is wreaking on this country, and many other parts of our planet, but then much has been changed by the almost completely unexpected. So, at this point, I believe we have to get rid of the Bush administration, as soon as possible, by any constitutionally, or socially, acceptable means at our disposal.

The only question I have is this: Do Rex and the rest of the party faithful actually believe that the Democratic Party, with its own corporately compromised ideals, these days, has the will to get the job done on or before the first Tuesday of November 2004?

Jay Castor

What’s so great here?
While I fully support the men and women who risk, and sometimes lose, their lives in the armed forces, I do not see how it’s unpatriotic (or “un” anything) to be opposed to a war; especially when they wouldn’t be risking injury and death if they weren’t there in the first place.

You know what’s unpatriotic to me? A president who sends our loved ones into situations of death and destruction, then, while they’re away, slashes billions of dollars from their veterans’ benefits. How is that supporting our troops?

America, we’re told, is a great country. We kick homeless people out of our cities, deny everyone health care, cut the benefits of those who fight for our country, and allow thousands of our citizens to starve—all while we invade another country and pay for their food and health care.

Maybe it’s just me or maybe I missed something, but how are we a great nation?

Frank Brockerman

The other Patriot Act
HR 737, the Corporate Patriot Enforcement Act, would plug the loophole of off-shore tax havens used by major corporations to evade paying taxes on the profits from their lucrative military contracts. Speaker Dennis Hastert, Republican, who heads the House of Representatives, is sitting on HR 737, keeping it from coming before the House for a vote. The Republican majority could bypass him and bring HR 737 to the floor for action but prefers not to have to choose between voting “yes” on behalf of their constituents or “no” on behalf of major campaign contributors, so they do nothing.

I paid my income tax April 9, my share of the cost of President Bush’s unconstitutional, unnecessary, and immoral war on Iraq. Although I am opposed to the war I support our troops.

You Republicans started this war. Now stand up and vote for HR 737 to make all corporations pay their share. The money is needed for ammunition now, for veterans benefits later.

Do you support the troops? Yes or no!

William C. McCord
Veteran WWII


A sub’s thanks
As a substitute teacher here at CUSD for more than 10 years, I would like to give my thanks to all the staff and teachers who treat guest teachers with welcomed appreciation and thanks.

Many of us choose this alternative for various reasons: family, other jobs, retirement or simply diversity in teaching. However, every substitute has a commitment to education and the health and well-being of every student, every day.

I’ve had the privilege of participating and witnessing the growth of a generation here in Chico with humble awe and gratitude. I again thank those who support us when other teachers are unable to be in their classrooms.

Kathryn Fossum