Readers' Letters
by: L.E. Baskow, Northeast Portland resident Jay Freeman checks for mites in the marijuana he is cultivating for his own use and to give away to other cardholders. Letter writers weigh in on whether or not Oregon's medical marijuana law is truly broken.

Marijuana is a demonstrably safer substance than alcohol and tobacco (Medical marijuana: A broken system, April 15). There is no comparison between the number of deaths attributed to marijuana use (virtually none) and those directly related to alcohol and tobacco (very large numbers).

Marijuana should be regulated and taxed in the same way we regulate and tax tobacco and alcohol. Tax receipts should be dedicated to an Oregon single payer health care system.

Richard Ellmyer

Candidate, North Portland House seat

North Portland

Medical marijuana cards are a joke

The people I know who have "medical" marijuana cards make a pretty good wage selling the crop from a "few" extra plants. It is a joke!

Bruce LeTourneux

Southwest Portland

Pot reporting sloppy, misleading

I picked up the Tribune because I was interested in Peter Korn's front page article, 'Medical marijuana: A broken system' (April 15). Quickly, however, I discovered exaggerations that made me begin to doubt the accuracy of the report.

For example, the claim that six mature plants and 18 immature plants amount to a 24-plant crop clearly ignores and distorts the simple fact that 18 of the 24 are immature plants that by the legal regulations can be no larger than 12 inches tall and 12 inches wide. These small, immature plants are not part of a crop. Only six of the 18 will eventually be allowed to mature, and then only after the initial six are harvested and gone. So the grow consists of six, and only six, plants per medical card. Your article is misleading.

Again, the anecdotal account by Robin Sawyer offers no corroboration for his story and particularly for his gross generalizations about the growers doing it for money. There is no information that Sawyer followed up with law enforcement to offer evidence of criminal activity.

Finally, the police boilerplate by Lt. Curt Strickland is repeated wholesale with no suggestion that any attempt was made by the reporter to verify Strickland's claim that "a huge percentage of them (medical marijuana growers) are growing for sale."

This is shabby journalism, full of false claims and misleading innuendo. By checking the quality of the (readers' comments) that the Tribune chose to print in this issue, it appears you are courting a readership that is intellectually challenged. This is reflected in the sloppy medical marijuana reporting.

Carl Reynolds


Time for legalization may have arrived

Like most of the commenters to the online story, I found the use of the headline "Legal pot causing overdoses" (April 22) in your story on synthetic THC an extremely odd choice that is easily misunderstood at best, bluntly manipulated at worst. Their further (accurate) complaints over the choice to publish it within a series on the "broken medical marijuana system" deserve a response: What does the sale of spiked incense have to do with medical marijuana?

Both the headline and the series reference have since been changed, with 'pot' now in quotes. Kudos for taking reader feedback to heart, but I think it's fair to ask how it happened in the first place. And it's disappointing that a story that actually deserves attention was encapsulated with such a misleading tag.

If there were, theoretically, an intent to cast indirect aspersions on the cannabis legalization initiative now pending in Oregon, that would be doubly unfortunate, because legal cannabis would almost certainly preclude the market for synthetic THC.

Your article cites K2 users saying they want the same high, but legally. Pot is really a reverse gateway drug, drawing kids away from something that might really be harmful that you can overdose on, whereas the next fatal overdose from pot will be the first.

With recent studies showing a majority of Western U.S. adults favoring outright legalization, maybe it's time to take a good, serious look finally.

Mark Bunster

Lake Oswego

Where's the $7 billion going?

I about choked on the quote from Kerlikowske, "The people who oppose legalization don't have the resources, don't have the ability to spend their every waking moment on this" (An ounce of cure?, April 29).

What the bloody heck are we spending $7 billion a year on? Does Kerlikowske only work part-time?

What a bunch of tripe! He needs to say something this stupid at one of Kusinich's hearings.

Steven M. Cooper

Northeast Portland

Growing and ingesting plants natural, divine

Can anyone please tell me what right the government has to prevent me from growing a plant that has been used as medicine and considered divine by the large majority of humanity throughout the past 10,000 years (An ounce of cure?, April 29)?

Where is the social harm that comes from me growing a plant and ingesting its flowers? More importantly, did we not learn that prohibition is a stupid and a counter-productive policy, say, 75 years ago?

Please tell your representatives to listen to the folks at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and show your support for these brave and dedicated public servants any way possible. Visit for more information.

It's time to end this unwinnable war along with the terrorism, crime and injustice which it fuels.

Justin Michels

Missoula, Mont.

Legal or illegal?

The enrollment form should say 'legal' or 'illegal' ('Latino race' loses place on form, April 15).

Alan Brawner


Form should be beyond skin color

It's time for the government to get out of the race business ('Latino race' loses place on form, April 15).

Let's strive toward a society that does not make decisions based on skin color or geographic background.

Alan Wymore

Southeast Portland

Cultural heritage does not define race

There is no reliable genetic definition of "race" and so no way of proving one's race ('Latino race' loses place on form, April 15). Period.

Ninety-nine percent of what our idiotic laws call 'race' is actually cultural heritage, and the definition of race changes constantly. As an example, when my grandfather immigrated (legally) at Ellis Island, his race was listed as French. So that brings the question of why we are subsidizing certain cultural ancestries, since no one can actually prove what "race" they claim to be?

Perhaps it would be a political hot potato to have to tell dark-skinned persons that since their cultural heritage has actually been "American" for the last six generations - not "African-American" - they are not entitled to any special preferences.

Or perhaps "inner-city" is a race that we should all pay extra to subsidize?

Richard Zehr

Northwest Portland

Schools should not complete form for parents

The article "'Latino race' loses place on form" (April 15) raises a couple of questions:

1. The lead sentence states that "Feds say parents must check box," but nowhere in the article does it mention how the feds feel about the school districts completing the enrollment form if the parent does not do so. Are we to presume that the feds don't care who does it as long as the question is answered?

2. Can you quote to us where it states that the federal government says "race" refers to countries of origin? This would seem to imply that I would list myself as Irish/Dutch since that is my family origin.

Oh, and is there still a listing of "white" on this form? It appears there could be a bit more research required for this article.

Donald Bevington

Northeast Portland

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