Nuclear Arms and the Man
Jonathan Schell, in "Reaching Zero" [April 19], describes very well the theoretical illogic of the arms race, but there are more practical, immediate reasons to oppose proliferation. During the past sixty years the United States has spent more than $7 trillion on nuclear weapons production, much of it without taxpayer or Congressional oversight. We have accumulated dangerous nuclear waste, which we don’t know what to do with and which will be a threat for thousands of years. Those who worked at production plants and those who lived nearby have experienced high cancer rates. Any government that continues to build nuclear weapons, knowing their danger, is in effect using them against its own people and the planet itself.
Mary Jane Got a New Set of Laws
Federal Prison Camp, Jesup, Ga.
How legalization will affect small pot growers depends on the types of regulation states choose [Alexander Cockburn, "Marijuana, Boom and Bust," April 19]. For instance, under the medical marijuana law in Michigan a grower is limited to growing for himself and five patients—seventy-two plants (twelve per person). Clearly, legalization will take the big money out of small operations. Unlike the booze industry, however, I don’t see the centralization. Even with much of the alcohol industry centralized, there remains a market for small wineries and beer microbrewers. Small growers who are good will always have a niche.
Besides the ballot measure in California, legalization will be on the ballot in Oregon and Washington, if all works out. It’s interesting to note that when Montanans legalized medical marijuana in 2004, George W. Bush received around 60 percent of their vote; but marijuana outpolled him. Flash-forward four years. Obama took Michigan with around 60 percent of the vote. Medical marijuana outpolled him as well! When are the politicians going to crunch the numbers on this one?
Desert Hot Springs, Calif.
I disagree that legalization in California will drive down prices. I think demand will skyrocket. People who already buy for medical reasons will probably retain their current level of consumption. But many who ingest pharmaceuticals will test-drive cannabis and switch. People who sampled pot recreationally but turned to alcohol because of legality issues will get high instead of drunk. Pent-up demand plus first-in-the-market status will make California a destination for college educations, vacations and retirement. Who’s worried? Probably the Mexican drug cartels. Who should worry? The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Homeland Security; and the Postal Service. The tax revenue will relieve much of the state’s $25 billion budget deficit. And guess what Californians will be sending out for Christmas!