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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 6, 2005
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Marijuana debate should consider black market forces

I celebrate the courageous effort of columnists David Schultz and Scott Patterson in facing the discussion about drug legalization in their recent column "The burning question: legalize marijuana? " I just want to mention some flaws in their arguments in hope of promoting a more focused discussion on the topic.

The first flaw deals with the last statement made by Mr. Schultz, encouraging an open "war" against the "enemies down south" instead of continuing the "futile war" against the drug consumers. There is an unfortunate use of the terms "war" and "enemies" instead of "law enforcement" and "criminals," which would be more proper of issues concerning black markets and such illegal drugs. It is important to consider that black markets involve both sides of the cyclic economic spectrum of supply-demand, and that both sides of the process share responsibilities.

Taking into account the whole dimension of this illegal market, we may observe that high demands will make the business even more lucrative, encouraging new criminal groups to participate to ensure the supply. That means that a "law enforcement against suppliers" would be in fact more futile that the "law enforcement against consumers," if both sides could really be treated apart from each other.

The second comment is more about a misleading statement rather than a flaw in the last paragraph of Mr. Patterson's column. In an eventual international legalization process, producers should not be considered "illegal," not here nor abroad, and the black market would eventually be substituted be a legal open market of such products. Therefore the international production of marijuana should not be a threat for the domestic markets but instead a favorable condition for a legal, internationally recognized market.

Julio Canon Barriga
hydrology and water resources
graduate student

U.S. drug habits support South American brutality

I read the two sides of the legalization of marijuana, and I was a little upset ("The burning question: legalize marijuana?"). First, in David Schultz's column, he misspells the country Colombia as "Columbia," which is not a country but rather a university or a district in the eastern United States.

The other portion that disturbed me was the apparent lack of knowledge of the drug problem in Colombia (the country). The FARC is not the only group that dabbles into drugs, but so do the right-winged Paramilitaries, a group that was originally organized to combat the gross tactics of the FARC. Realizing that selling drugs was a way to make money, the Paramilitaries also began producing.

The FARC and the Paramilitaries do not only produce marijuana but also cocaine. They raise money for their organizations through selling cocaine to their largest consumer, the United States. So in reality anyone who does cocaine (or smokes marijuana) is supporting organizations who terrorize and brutalize an otherwise peaceful country, Colombia, and also support the same organizations who kidnap visitors from the United States.

The idea that legalizing marijuana is going to solve the problem is ludicrous because these terror organizations produce mostly cocaine. If you want to make a change and support one of our strongest allies (Colombia), stop consuming marijuana and cocaine. It's all about supply and demand.

Laura E. McCormick
musicology graduate student

Students haven't given up on ailing football team

Do not let frustrated exclamations lead you to believe that we students have given up on our struggling football team ("Fans need to cut Cats some slack"). It is commonly understood that we actually do suck; but the majority understands that the easier part of our schedule begins with the Stanford game next week, allowing our team to improve on its performance and record; not to mention four of the last six games are at home.

Our student body is aware of what lies ahead, and because of this, we will pack the stands for all of the remaining games. Consider this: Cal has been a Pacific 10 title contender for three years in a row, but for some reason is rather lackluster. This has prompted Cal head coach, Jeff Tedford, to issue an e-mail to the entire student body urging them to turn out in larger numbers and be louder during games.

In contrast, it is already evident that our student section loves watching our team play (more than 12,000 students attended a D-1AA home game after a loss). It seems as if we don't need a winning season to generate supreme school spirit. We will continue to show up in record numbers, and we will continue to do so year after year and be rewarded for our faith with forthcoming championship seasons.

Justin Thomas
senior majoring in English

Offended students should look to Constitution, Bill of Rights

It's too bad that some have been "offended" by numerous article and editorials in the Wildcat ("Wildcat offensive to broad swaths of students"). I say feel free to ignore the Wildcat and read something else. I'd suggest you start with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Nowhere in that document does it give you the right to not be offended. Instead, it gives me, you, the Wildcat and anyone else the right to use unpopular words, expressions and ideas to our hearts' content. You can view Cohen v. California (1971) and Lewis v. City of New Orleans (1974) for details.

In America we live simultaneously in the worst and the best possible worlds. We hold our freedom of speech sacred. This freedom of ideas means some people will be offended no matter what you say - guaranteed!

If you want to be offended at something - let's start with overblown "PC" speech.

Michael Badowski
microbiology and immunology graduate student

Marijuana not really the cause of violence in Latin America

I think David Schultz gives the low-grade Latin American marijuana that enters this country far too much credit for funding the wars in South America ("Blame drug suppliers, not users"). It is clearly the ever-popular and extremely expensive cocaine habit that this country has that openly fuels the ongoing terrorism in Colombia, Panama and so forth.

I happen to know a thing or two about where my marijuana comes from, and it either comes from California, Washington, Oregon or Canada. We leave the low-grade Mexican dirt marijuana to the East Coast. Although that low-grade Latin American marijuana is readily available, it goes untouched because an undeniable lack of quality in the product.

The war on drugs is a complete joke. I would like you to refute the fact (in any possible way you can) that for every drug offender who is caught and prosecuted in this country that there are at least 10 who will not be. I have seen this firsthand. Getting away from a drug conviction can be as easy as talking your way out of a parking ticket.

Your claim that legalizing marijuana in this country would perpetuate violence in South America shows a complete lack of understanding on your part of the dynamics of growing quality marijuana domestically on a commercial level. Being able to legally grow high-grade marijuana in this country through the use of modern cultivation methods would turn $15 per gram into a net cost of less than $5 per gram.

I know what people who typically smoke weed are like: non violent, open-minded people looking to liberate themselves from the consumption based day-to-day grind of living in a materialistic capitalist society. I am an aerospace engineering major and find many peers who share my feelings about marijuana.

As soon as the government realizes that it cannot legislate personal taste, (i.e. the preference of alcohol to marijuana), the sooner it will move toward promoting a society in which people's personal choices are rewarded with tolerance and open-mindedness rather than jail time.

Ian Deady
Corona, Calif.

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