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Letters to the Editor

‘Marijuana is here to stay’

Ron Ferrell March 16th, 2011

When I moved to Oklahoma City in the 1980s, there was “liquor by the wink,” and the other loophole was to bring your own bottle in order to have a cocktail, or become a member of that club. Liquor by the drink was illegal, but there were ways around the law.

Eventually, the powers that be understood that without legitimate liquor by the drink, this town could never become a convention- or visitor-friendly city. It was a moral issue for many years and became an economic issue, leading to the current attitude toward alcohol.

British researchers have now declared alcohol the most dangerous drug on the planet. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” except for gambling fever that has now stormed across this country as the elixir for failing state economies and broken school budgets. Gambling has been demonized as a moral weakness, but eventually became an economic issue that would pull us all out of the financial gutter. Gambling has been an economic benefit for a few, but certainly neither the schools nor the citizens.

Medical marijuana (Clifton Adcock, “Herbal remedy,” March 2, Oklahoma Gazette) has many benefits, among them economic benefits for the states insightful enough to have embraced the inevitable: Marijuana is here to stay. They understand that the state may just as well make millions from the legal sale of marijuana, whether it’s medical or outright legalization, and save millions from the legal side by not locking up folks for possession and then spending millions to imprison these nonviolent offenders.

The comments from Mark Woodward, the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs spokesman, that said many people who take prescription pain relievers (such as hydrocodone and oxycodone) do not experience addiction, are ridiculous, as those drugs are incredibly addictive and destructive. Woodward also states that most doctors choose to prescribe alternatives for pain. I assume he is referring to hydrocodone and oxycodone, and I wish Woodard would also discuss the financial benefits for the doctors who prescribe those chemical-based pain relievers.

I applaud Sen. Constance Johnson for being brave enough to get behind this extravagant act of common sense and reason. It’s time for all the closet marijuana users to speak up and support this important piece of legislation.

—Ron Ferrell

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