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October 15, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-10-15

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OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, October 15, 1986

The Michigan Daily

01JE Mirigau 1baiIt
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVII, No. 30 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor MI 48109
Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

Don't

fight marijuana

Star wars summit

COLLAPSE OF THE U.S.-Soviet
summit talks on arms control is no
surprise. Indeed, the public is
fortunate to see a substantial
issue-the Strategic Defense
Initiative- (SDI), or more
commonly, Star Wars-become
the focus of conflict, instead of
issues such as the Daniloff affair or
Soviet credibility.
With Star Wars the U.S.
government is fighting a battle of
public opinion, since no Star Wars
weapons are in place yet. Central
to that battle is the notion that Star
Wars is a defensive weapons
system-"America's security
guarantee if the Soviets should, as
they -have done too often in the
past, fail to comply with their
solemn commitments," according
to President Reagan.
At first glance, the notion of
defensive weapons is appealing.
In nuclear war, however, there is
no distinction between defensive
and offensive weapons. A
successful Star Wars system would
prevent the Soviets from attacking
the United States. This means that
the United States would be free to
use its offensive nuclear weapons
against the Soviet Union without
fear of retaliation. That is why Star
Wars is an offensive conception.
In nuclear weapons lingo, Star
Wars is part of a potential "first
strike" package. The idea'of a first
strike is to destroy the enemy so
quickly that it does not get a chance
to retaliate.
Star Wars also has an ideology
behind it. It implies the possibility
of winning a nuclear war.
Many if not most scientists
'believe it is impossible to build a
perfect shield in space against
missile attack. The cost of error

when the result is a hydrogen
bomb explosion is very high.
On Earth, there are also many
ways for a nuclear weapon to reach
the United States. Low-flying
missiles, jet bombers and even
hand-launched nuclear weapons are.
all part of current war preparations.
Indeed, the nuclear destruction of
the Soviet Union by the United
States or by Soviet weapons that
failed to pass through Star Wars
defenses would result in the
destruction of the earth's life-
sustaining environment. The
worldwide cancer-causing fallout,
crop and livestock losses resulting
from the Chernobyl accident is
only a small inkling of what would
happen with even one nuclear
weapon explosion.
Thus, Star Wars has little practical
value as a defense against nuclear
war. Mainly, it is an ideology of
aggressive militarism-an ideology
with many vested interests behind
it in the world's largest government
ministry and business com-
plex-the Pentagon.
The ultimate expression of this
ideology is that the Pentagon
hawks always promise to force the
Soviet Union into peace. When
they fail to deliver, as in the
summit, they argue for increased
military strength to put more,
pressure on the Soviets.
Star Wars is unreasonable to
people who have no interest in a
first strike against the Soviet Union
and who are not willing to risk the
environment in a nuclear war. That
the United States government
apparently tossed away what both
sides say was a substantial nuclear
arms agreement for the benefit of
an untested concept shows that its
overriding motivations are extreme.

By Michael Lowenstein
Hey people! Wake up to the scam
Reagan and the rest of his War on Drugs
crew are perpetrating. What, stiffer
penalties for marijuana smokers? Just
when we had begun to have laws that
reflected the evidence, marijuana is
nothing to fight against.
Unless we feel that Reagan's
ignorant, bigoted moral supremacy is a
justifiable excuse to deny us citizens our
right to freedom and choice, there needs to
be a valid reason that the 50 million
people who smoke need fear prosecution
and imprisonment because of anti-
marijuana laws. One would think the
only credible motive would be the saftey
and well-being of the people in our
society. The truth however is nothing
close to this.
It is unfortunate that in a country
where people like to considerthemselves
knowledgeable, the truth about marijuana
is so misunderstood. The fact is that all
most people know about marijuana is
what the government tells us. Yes
everyone, this is the same government
that once told us we were not fighting a
war in Vietnam and now tells us we can
end apartheid through constructive
engagement. And through it all they've
been telling us that marijuana is
dangerous. If people cared enough to
check up on Uncle Sam, they wouldfind
that the scientific evidence contradicts
what we are being told. Ask a doctor.
There is more accumulated
evidence on marijuana and its effects than,
on any other illegal drug, more also than
on lots of drugs the FDA has approved
for consumer use. The evidence comes
from independent research and
government-funded studies, though the
government must be getting frustrated
paying for research that never says what
they want it to. This research includes the
infamous Jamacia Report, funded by the
National Institute of Mental Health
(1972), the Interim Report of the
Canadian Government's LeDain
Commission (1970), and a
comprehensive report. issued by the
National Academy of the Sciences (1982).
Remarkably, these and many other
studies are in substantial agreement on
most all major points of fact. These
studies have conclusively shown that:
marijuana is one of the least toxic drugs
known to man. It is potent, not
poisonous. There has never been a death
medically attributed to marijuana
Lowenstein is a sophomore in the
Residential College.

overdose. In fact, lethal dosage is so high
that it has never been determined.
Overdose does not have any physiological
effect except causing sleep. Marijuana is
not physically addictive and no
withdrawal occurs when use is
discontinued. There is no evidence of any
brain damage or chromosome damage.
There is no correlation between marijuana
and birth defects in chid- ren. Some
evidence exists of temporary reduction of
testosterone in men, not permanent.
Inhalation of smoke can cause temporary
bronchial irritation, but there is no link
between smoking and lung cancer or any
other lung disease. Marijuana contains no
nicotine, the addictive poison in tobacco.
There is no correlation between
marijuana and aggressive or anti-social
behavior. Rates of employment, job
stability, and academic achievement
between smokers and non-smokers are no
different.sThere is also the "unscientific"
evidence of the millions of people who
have incorporated marijuana into their
lives. Perhaps most importantly,
marijuana is enjoyable and relaxing. It
often intensifies sensory awareness and
can trigger a heightened awareness and
understanding in the user of themself,
others,and the surrounding environment.
It can encourage openness with friends,
strangers and unfamiliar experiences. It is
often used as a creative stimulant, and
plenty of evidence for this can be found in
literature, music and culture. Essentially,
marijuana is many things for many
people.
The point is not that marijuana is
a completely innocuous drug that should
be used with reckless abandon by every -
one. But it is also not the "killer weed"
the government has lead us to believe it
is. And there is simply no justification
for its illegality. Each individual is really
the critical factor deciding whether
interaction with marijuana can be stable.
Stable people will form stable
relationships. This is exactly what 50
million people in this country have done.
Except now they have to do it secretly,
criminally, and sometimes dangerously,
having to deal with people involved in
real criminal activity. Truthfully, the
biggest danger of smoking marijuana is
getting busted.
It is obvious that marijuana is here
to stay. The evidence shows there is no
reason it should be any different. Should
marijuana be legalized, its production,
potency, and distribution could be
regulated by the government. Bringing
marijuana into the world of legal business
would remove the dangers of illegality.
Actually, this scenario is not my

creation. It was recommended to President
Nixon by the National Comission on
Marijuana and Drug Abuse. Legalization
has also been recommended by the
LeDain Comission and Consumers Union
in its report Licit and Illicit Drugs .
Legalization advocates include the
'American Medical Ass., the American
Bar, and (wait, don't get shocked)
William F. Buckley and President Carter.
There is also the economic side of
the issue. While Reagan sends the
military to Bolivia to destroy cocaine, the
hushed up story is that marijuana is the
second most profitable cash crop in
America, number one in California. The
DEA has been spending billions on crop
eradication that has been very effective.
Reagan hopes this will help fight the
drug problem but that is not the real
effect. Marijuana demand is not going to
decrease.hScarce availability drives prices
up. This hurts us even here in Ann Arbor
where marijuana is hard to find and
expensive. This could possibly spur some
people to use cocaine which can be easily
found. The debilitating effects of cocaine
are undisputed. Reagan's solution to a
non-existent problem is causing serious
real problems in many ways. If marijuana
were legalized, billions could be made in
taxes instead of billions spent for
nothing. This money could be used to
deal with drug problems that really do
exist.
One must seriously question why-
government has systematically and
deliberately spread disinformation about
marijuana when the truth was clearly
known. It is scary because here is a
potent method of thought control that
most people are not even aware of. One
must also wonder what kind of hidden
motive is behind such a strategy. The
government is effectively instilling the
general population with mistrust in the
way it operates. As.I said before, the only
valid reason for a law is the protection
and well being of society. Such a
situation obviously does not exist
regarding marijuana.
Ronald Reagan turns his eyes
down and solemnly tells our people that
marijuana smokers are ruining the moral
fabric of America. Nancy tells us that the
little girl in California who turned her
parents in when she found marijuana in
their bedroom, she must "really love her
parents." Whats going on? Are people
being taken in by this nonsense? People
have a responsibility to be more informed
on the facts of marijuana if they plan to
take a stand. Legalize marijuana and let
the law reflect the reality.

0

(
I
I

Fasting for peace

"Once I was willing to risk my
life for the destruction of life, why
not now sacrifice it for peace? This
is not a fast for death, nor for
martyrdom, nor for suicide... I
have to be here, what the American
government is doing in Nicaragua
is not being done in my name."
-George Mizo
-Vietnam Veteran who
began fasting on 9/1/86
INVOKING THE NUREMBERG
principles, four U.S. veterans, one
from WW II and three from the
Vietnam War, have determined that.
the United States' intervention in
Nicaragua is unconscionable and
must be opposed. The four have
been fasting since the beginning or
middle of September to draw
attention to the war, raise
awareness, and inspire protest
around the country.
. The veterans advocate civil
disobedience, which is a highly
visible form of peaceful protest that
can be justified when all other
channels to government have been
closed off. Civil disobedience is
not an easily considered action. It
represents a commitment to non-
violent resistance of policies that

government, on the other hand, are
supported by the majority of the
Nicaraguan people who appreciate
newly instigated social reforms,
such as increased education, health
services, and land redistribution.
Considering the possibility of
self-determination for the
Nicaraguan people, the long
history of U.S. intervention,
escalating military interference, and
human rights abuses, these four
veterans have decided that they can
not remain silent and are willing to
die. To show solidarity with these
men and with the Nicaraguan
people, October 17 has been
declared a National Day of Fast.
Though not on the steps of the
Capitol, fasting for a day is a good
way of putting the plight of the
Nicaraguans into perspective on a
more personal level.

' S S UB
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LETTERS:

Tally Hall is unappealing

eyesore'
Finally, there's the mall itself

To the Daily:

construction schedule resulted

its surroundings. The

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