December 13, 1999,
There has to be a better way
In the Nov. 26 Daily News story "Battling from the fringe," an Alaska state legislator said he was dismayed because we are again facing the issue of decriminalizing cannabis. Many of his fellow Alaskans have been dismayed because Alaska state legislators often bring up the same issues again and again.
Key issues of "decriminalization" should be: Does it have safeguards against children and other unauthorized people getting possession of cannabis, and, as important, does it protect the privacy rights of Alaskans as cited in the court case Ravin and reaffirmed in McNeil?
Why are these issues important? Medicinal cannabis patient William Foster of Oklahoma was sentenced to 93 years in prison for growing cannabis for medicinal use. Though this sentence was reduced to 20, for a patient to be imprisoned at all for using proven medicine is excessive.
Renee Boje only did artwork for cancer patient Todd McCormick's book on medicinal cannabis. She was arrested in Los Angeles in July 1997 on conspiracy and other charges. Charges were dropped. When Renee learned they would be reinstated, she fled to Canada. The U.S.government is now trying to extradite Renee to stand trial in America.
Kathy Tadlock, a patient in Idaho, was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. The judge disallowed a medical necessity defense. Didn't the judge trust the jury judgment?
Despite the media-concocted image about people in the movement, I have never been arrested and I come from a "law enforcement family." Thinking of the total human cost, I feel there must be a better way.