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Marijuana opponents

should defend views

For someone who claims that 'smoking weed Ñ that is, committing a crime Ñ is not the issue' (Do it, but don't get caught?, Insight, July 15), Robert Eisinger takes up a lot of space in his essay discussing marijuana. But I will take him at his word that for him the issue has to do with 'appreciating the role of the government as a legal authority.'

Eisinger seems to think that those who question the authority of government 'appear to be embracing a laissez-faire moralism.' Yet he never considers that some people may regard the law against marijuana to be unjust.

In this regard, those people do not have a libertarian stance against that law. Instead, they are asking why there is a law against using marijuana. They are asking: Is this particular law just? Those who support sending people to prison for breaking this law must be called upon to defend their reasons, because one of the harshest things the government can do to a citizen is lock him or her in jail.

Yes, some of you may not like to see people smoking marijuana in public. And some of you may not like to see people gathering signatures to legalize it. That is your right. However, it is not your right to send someone to jail for smoking marijuana simply because you do not understand their need to 'just do it.'

In the end, one would like to believe that in the United States, the land of freedom, people should not need to justify their recreational use of marijuana, just as people should not need to justify their love of Etta James' vocal talent.

Richard Bolcavitch

Lake Oswego

Mayor was no softy

with protesters

In 'Portlanders detail mayoral legacy' (Color Commentary, Insight, Aug. 8), business executive Misti Wittenberg claims Mayor Katz 'consistently accommodated the comforts of protesters,' and business consultant Harvey Fink speaks of 'the emasculation of the police force.'

Does bringing out the riot-gear police to intimidate every little peaceful protest, which the city has done, fit the scope of their claims? What about allowing the police to pepper spray peaceful, law-abiding protesters?

Tom Soppe

Southeast Portland