Column was disrespectful of Americans who support marijuana's legalization

February 2, 2009

It's a tossup. Should I be more awestruck by [Columnist Morton] Marcus' fine example of journalistic objectivity [in his Jan. 26 column] or by his wonderful empathy for the thousands of citizens who stood up to participate in their government?

Or should I—as did Marcus—say "idle nutcases" with their "misguided efforts" and "popular nonsense"? Then again, being mere peasants not authorized to write in a fancy business journal, I suppose us ignorami should naturally cede our values and opinions to those who truly possess a calibrated moral compass like Marcus.

Americans recognize that [marijuana] prohibition has caused thousands of senseless deaths in Mexico, and countless lives to be derailed through the "justice" of our government. Americans understand that a country cannot advance into the 21st century not only with the highest incarceration rate in the world by far, but with the highest incarceration rate in our own history.

Americans intuitively recognize that it is impossible to enforce border security, 24 hours a day, over the tens of thousands of miles of coastlines, rivers, deserts and forests. These are valid reasons for why marijuana-reform efforts polled so well in Obama's Citizen's Briefing Booklet.

Mr. Marcus, please do not belittle the ingenuity of the average American by resorting to name-calling, for though we may not understand the subtleties of, say, structuring a stimulus bill in the most cost-effective manner, we do recognize that problems exist in the status quo, and we do wish to proactively participate in an issue about which we do not feel wishywashy or uncertain.

Jim Mangum

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