Misinformation, and much missing in column’s view
ALEX BEAM’S “Gone to pot’’ (April 20, “g’’) begins with a flippant headline, followed by misdating the anniversary of the siege of Boston to 1776. The siege began late on April 19, 1775 and ended on Evacuation Day, the Suffolk County holiday that celebrates the British leaving on March 17, 1776.
As for substance, the debate over the continued prohibition of marijuana is whether we should repeal prohibition or perpetuate it.
By labeling those of us who seek repeal as “stoners,’’ Mr. Beam reveals his affection for the latter. That is his right, but missing from his column is disclosure of how many more people must to be arrested, prosecuted, and punished before marijuana will go away, how much that will cost and where the money will come from.
Those of us who seek repeal of the national prohibition know repeal will permit states, like Massachusetts where over 10 percent of people over 18 use it at least monthly, to bring the enormous underground commerce in marijuana into a regulated framework analogous to our regulation of beer, wine, and hard cider.
An estimated half-billion dollars a year in tax revenue could be harvested from a regulated commerce in marijuana. It would also open up the tremendous untapped potential of hemp as a resource for creating Massachusetts jobs in food, biofuels, and fiber production.
STEVEN S. EPSTEIN
The writer is an officer on the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition.
The writer is the organizer for the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance.
The National Academy of Sciences’ 1982 report pointed out that if some states could voluntarily control their own policy, without federal interference, any who chose legalization would provide invaluable information to all states. That US tradition is what states should be instructing federal legislators to allow, which Representative Barney Frank is working toward.
The writer is president of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas.