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m y   d r u g   w a r   s t o r y

m e d i c a l  m a r i j u a n a

p e r s o n a l  u s e

l e t t e r s,   e t c.

c o n t a c t   m e

o u r  f u t u r e

a b o u t   m e

p h o t o s

h o m e

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One of the best ways to educate the public on any issue is through letters to newspaper editors. Unless you are writing an op-ed piece keep your letters short and to the point for a better chance of getting them published. Usually, about 200 words is max. If you wish, you may use as a guide any of the letters on this page that would be appropriate for your point.

Letters to legislators can also be effective. Many of our legislators by now know most of the arguments for legalization, but they need to know that their constituents support changing current policy. Let them hear from you often, always remembering to be courteous and non-abusive.

letters to editors
EPA Decision

Open letter to the Environmental Protection Agency:

I am profoundly disappointed in your decision to deny California's waiver request to cut global warming pollution from automobiles. Outrage does not begin to describe my reaction to this immoral and irresponsible decision.

Science has plainly demonstrated that if urgent action to significantly reduce atmospheric pollution is not taken immediately, we will almost certainly reach the point of no return, and will face irreversible catastrophic consequences around the globe.

Your despicable decision demonstrates utter disregard for public safety. How unspeakably shameful that something like this could be possible because of a US government agency's failure to do the right thing-for all mankind.

Increasingly, I am no longer proud to be an American because of my own government's inhumanity to man.

c.a. riley

Published in The Wichita Eagle 12/22/2007

b a c k  t o  l e t t e r  l i s t

Bad medicine

It comes as no surprise that many prescription and even OTC drugs are dangerous, and that "adverse drug events" have escalated dramatically during the past decade.

According to the front-page article in The Eagle's Wednesday edition, the drugs most often linked to serious problems--including deaths, which are up 250%!--are from two categories: those that work primarily on the immune system, such as drugs used for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS, and Crohn's disease--and pain relievers, both prescription and nonprescription-- commonly used for degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis and many other causes of chronic pain.

Not only has marijuana been shown to be therapeutically effective in all these medical conditions, it is far safer. There has never been a single recorded death attributed to marijuana use.

Which medicine would you choose if marijuana were legalized for medicinal purposes?

c.a. riley
Senior researcher
Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition
Wichita, KS

Published in The Wichita Eagle 9/15/2007

b a c k  t o  l e t t e r  l i s t

Good medicine

Cannabis, or marijuana, has been used medicinally for centuries. The American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Nurses Association are but two of many medical organizations supporting safe access to therapeutic cannabis. Growing numbers of religious denominations are in support as well.

The value of cannabis in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, chronic pain and neuropathy, and as an anti-nauseant has been well established. Studies in other countries indicate that cannabis is effective in the treatment of spinal cord and other spinal injuries. Additional studies have shown that THC and other cannabinoids can even shrink cancerous tumors!

There are many, many other medical conditions that respond well to cannabis. Indeed, our Creator provided each and every one of us with cannabis receptors in our bodies. Would this be so if He did not intend us to make use of this remarkable plant?

The federal government's position is that Marinol, or synthetic THC, is efficacious in the treatment of any malady that would respond to medical marijuana. Not surprisingly, that claim is incorrect. THC is only one of several cannabinoids found in marijuana. Others, such as cannabidiol (CBD), are effective in treating numerous conditions in which THC is ineffective. Studies have even shown cannabis to be useful in treating asthma and other respiratory disorders!

This amazing medicine does not even need to be smoked to release its healing benefits. Modern vaporizers extract just the essence of the plant for inhalation-no smoke is inhaled. Marijuana can be added to food, made into tea, or even a butter-like substance for baking, spreading, or seasoning.

Phoenix surgeon, Dr Jeffrey Singer perhaps said it best when he remarked, "Marijuana is not really controversial among doctors, it is controversial among politicians."

With the recent formation of the Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition, and the proposed Robert T. Stephan Compassionate Care Act, seriously ill and dying patients throughout the state will have renewed hope--and hope is everything to the desperately ill and those who love them.


b a c k  t o  l e t t e r  l i s t

We Could Fix Our Infrastructure by Ending the War on Drug Users

In light of the recent disastrous bridge collapse in Minneapolis-St. Paul, the American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that it would take approximately a trillion and a half dollars to restore our nation's infrastructure (roads, highways, tunnels, dams, levees, etc.) to reasonably good condition.

What a lot of people do not actually realize is that over the past three decades the US has thrown away nearly two/thirds of that sum on the dismally failed war on drugs.

Figures from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health 2004 indicate that, during the 25-year period from 1979 through 2004, the percentage of Americans who have ever used illegal substances other than marijuana ranged from 5% or below to only about 15%.

Usage rates of harder drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine have remained between 2- 5%, while marijuana use has stayed right at 40% for the past few years. This figure undoubtedly includes people who use cannabis for medicinal purposes, but the vast majority of marijuana users are "normal" people with "normal" lives who do not cause nearly the heartache and devastation resulting from alcohol abuse.

All of the above is to ask: Why are we spending such a huge amount of money trying to eliminate a "problem" which affects, at most, 40% of the population? Remove marijuana from the equation and usage rates drop to only 15%.

Wouldn't tax revenues be better spent on programs to help those who desire to improve their lives to do so? It wouldn't require nearly the expenditure, and the remainder could go a long way toward bringing our infrastructure up to par.

(Notice this argument does not include the insane costs of our other wars.)


b a c k  t o  l e t t e r  l i s t

Futile effort

Regarding "Morrison backs ban on drug paraphernalia" (Feb 1 Eagle): Why throw more public resources into a useless effort? The ban proposed by the Wichita NAACP and supported by Attorney General Paul Morrison would not only be very costly--both in terms of taxpayer money and our legislators' time--but completely ineffective as well.

As almost any middle school student knows, countless everyday items can be utilized as drug paraphernalia.

Are we going to outlaw toilet tissue and canned beverages, for instance? The paper tube from a roll of toilet tissue and an empty beverage can are but two common items that can easily be modified to serve as pipes for the smoking of a variety of drugs.)

If a person wants to use illicit drugs, that person will find a way. The lack of conventional paraphernalia is no deterrent to the determined drug abuser.

For the sake of all Kansans, let our legislators concentrate on more meaningful issues.

Published in The Wichita Eagle 2/2007

b a c k  t o  l e t t e r  l i s t
Legalization = Regulation

It should be painfully clear to nearly everyone by now that people who are inclined to use illicit drugs have continued to use them at will throughout the three-decade-plus history of the "War On Drugs." Today it is widely recognized that street drugs are better, cheaper, and more easily obtained than ever.

No matter how many billions of dollars are thrown at the problem, drug use and abuse continue unabated.

No matter how many innocent lives are ruined by outrageously biased sentencing laws, drug crime and its punishments continue to increase.

Alcohol prohibition was repealed because the resulting black market became controlled by organized crime. Thus, alcohol prohibition created wealthy criminals. Drug prohibition has done exactly the same thing.

While law enforcement resources are being squandered on the unwinnable drug war, drunk drivers, pedophiles and rapists continue to roam our streets and highways at will.

Some law enforcement personnel who have seen the drug war from the trenches say that the only way to control illicit drugs is by legalizing and regulating these dangerous substances, much the same as for the dangerous but legal substances alcohol and tobacco. Indeed, tobacco is said to be more addictive than heroin, but it can be legally purchased through licensed vendors, as can alcohol.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP, is an organization of law enforcement veterans who suggest that by legalizing and regulating drugs, the enticing profit motive would be eliminated and the multibillion-dollar illicit drug market would collapse, taking most of the associated crime down with it. Terrorist organizations, which fund much of their activity with drug profits, would stand to lose a large part of their operating capital.

Additionally, a legal, regulated drug market could generate the funding needed to establish quality drug treatment programs and facilities to help those who want to better themselves.

Certainly, thinking about legalizing street drugs is very frightening, but it is no more frightening than what is going on in many neighborhoods across this nation: People are afraid to leave their homes because of the violence in the streets. People are killing one another because drugs are illegal.

It is far beyond time for a different approach to drug control.

c.a. riley | 2006 Published in The Wichita Eagle, exact date unknown

b a c k  t o  l e t t e r  l i s t

China and the Price of Fuel

Everyone who buys goods made in China is contributing to the rising cost of oil/gasoline: Profits from China's cheap exports have been financing construction and repair of that nation's infrastructure. This has led to China's increased industrialization and an escalating demand for a share of what remains of the earth's limited carbon-based resources.

Ask yourself which major retailers market large quantities of China-made goods and you'll have most of the answer to the question, "Why are gasoline prices rising so fast?"


b a c k  t o  l e t t e r  l i s t

Apologize to Saddam

A recent caller to The Eagle's opinion line said, "Apologize to Saddam Hussein, and turn him loose. He knows how to govern those people. We don't. The place is not worth one drop of American blood."

The caller is 100% correct. Under the twin mantles of "stamping out terrorism" and "spreading democracy" the Bush administration appears to be hell-bent on Westernizing any nation having non-renewable natural resources that could be plundered for the benefit of corporate America--no matter how much innocent blood is spilled.


b a c k  t o  l e t t e r  l i s t

High Cost of Drug War

A recent caller to The Wichita Eagle's opinion line wondered how much it cost taxpayers to fly Ronald Reagan's body across the nation twice.

I wonder how the reader feels about the billions of our dollars being spent on the greatest public policy failure in our nation's history. Not only is the policy an utter failure, it has been in place for more than thirty years and appears to be a war against certain United States citizens. The policy is known as the War On Drugs, but today, more than three decades since it began, illicit drugs are cheaper, more potent, and more easily obtained than ever.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), federal spending on the drug war in 2001 totaled $18 billion, rising to nearly $19 billion in 2002 and more than $19 billion for 2003. At this rate, a $20 billion annual budget to continue this disastrous policy can't be far away.

How much longer will taxpayers continue to tolerate this outrageous waste of their money--while our schools crumble and people are dying because they can't afford to live?


b a c k  t o  l e t t e r  l i s t

Costly Failure

For the past thirty-plus years, taxpayers caught using drugs have often been removed from their communities and put into prisons, where not only do they not PAY taxes, they CONSUME vast sums of taxpayer dollars in the form of free room and board, medical and dental care, legal representation and more.

While enjoying these benefits at taxpayer expense, habitual drug users are learning the finer points of criminal activity from career convicts. In many cases, a direct result of prohibition is that our penal systems process chronic drug addicts into real criminals-and pay for it with our money. Meanwhile, multitudes of their children grow up without much--if any--positive parental guidance or "normal" family interaction.

The nonviolent drug offender is seen as a criminal upon his or her eventual release from prison, and is often denied employment. The offenders are left with no choice but to turn to public assistance (welfare) and thus consume many more millions of taxpayer dollars.

With tens of thousands of nonviolent taxpayers locked up on drug charges every year, prison construction has been booming while overcrowded schools crumble and decay. Inmates are housed in expensive new state-of-the-art facilities, while school children are crowded into obsolete classrooms and lose important extracurricular activities to cuts in funding.

When asked why they use drugs, young people often reply that illicit drugs are much easier to obtain than the legal substance, alcohol. This information alone illustrates the complete failure of current policy. Without legalization there is no control. Black marketeers (drug dealers) gladly sell to anyone who has the money, no questions asked.

All of the above statements and more can easily be substantiated. Why does so much of our tax money continue to be pumped into this disastrous policy? My best guess is that many, many pockets are being lined--at taxpayers' expense--while it's "business as usual" for the illicit drug industry.


b a c k  t o  l e t t e r  l i s t

letter to congressman todd tiahrt
June 26, 2007

Dear Representative Tiahrt,

As you might know, in DEA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mary Ellen Bittner's February 12, 2007 Opinion and Recommended Ruling she concluded that it would be IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST for DEA to approve the application from Professor Lyle Craker, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, for a DEA Schedule I license as a bulk manufacturer of marijuana.

"Prof. Craker's facility would be privately-funded and would produce marijuana for use exclusively by federally-approved researchers."

Please think about the many ill and struggling Kansas patients who might benefit tremendously from CAREFULLY CONTROLLED research on any medical benefits that might be imparted by this versatile, GOD-given plant.

We implore you to do the right thing and support Justice Bittner's opinion.

Thank you for your continued service to District Four.

c.a. riley and Larry D. Ranich
130 S Greenwich Rd #58
Wichita, KS 67207

congressman tiahrt's response:

June 27, 2007

Dear Ms Riley:

Thank you for taking the time to contact me. It is always nice to hear from constituents. As you may know, marijuana is listed under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I drug. Therefore its manufacture, distribution, and possession is illegal under federal law. However, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the "active" ingredient in marijuana, can be obtained by prescription in pill form.

On June 15th, 2005, Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) offered an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2006 Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State Appropriations Bill that would allow states to legalize medical marijuana use. I did not support this amendment because I am strongly opposed to the legalization of drugs on both the Federal and local levels. To date, marijuana's alleged therapeutic benefits have not been scientifically proven. In fact, reputable medical professional societies and journals have repeatedly stated that there is no medical benefit of marijuana. At a time when illegal drug use is increasing, we should not open the door for even more widespread use.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with me. Please contact me if you need additional assistance. It is an honor to serve you in the United States Congress.

Best regards,
Todd Tiahrt
Member of Congress

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"Marijuana smokers themselves must provide the energy and the resources to end marijuana prohibition; no one else is going to do this for us."
- - - - Author unknown
kansas.director@letfreedomgrow.com | 620.752.3280 | potwin, usa
© 2009 by c.a. riley. Made from scratch. All rights reserved. Slippery when wet.