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June 19, 2000 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2000-06-19

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4 -- The Michigan Daily - Monday, June 19, 2000
Edited and managed by GEOFF GAGNON PETER CUNNIFFE
students at the Editor in Chief JOSH WICKERHAM
University of Michigan Editorial Page Editors
& Ufnless othersis.e noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opnnon of/ir
420 Maynard Street maoriyn of the Dailys editoria boat-d. All other articles, lettersioo nd
Ann Arbor, M\ 48109 cartoons do not necessaril sefleet the opinion of The :Vichi an aiDo.

t a time when the tide seems to be turn-
ing toward the acceptance of ecstasy for
recreational and even therapeutic reasons-
with Time Magazine's recent front-page arti-
cle leading the mainstream discussiion - a
reactionary initiative fom Sen. Bob Graham
(D-Fla. )is attempting to han information
pertaining to its csc. introduced as the
"Ecstasy Anti-Proliferaton Act of 2000, it
rides on the al irne iis of a silar act outlaw-
ing disseminati as of information o

Assault on free speech is unacceptable

The Act would prThibit any discusston of
dosage, dealing or other information relating
se the use of ecstasy in all frums of conmu-
nica tion, such as hooks, the Internet or
email. Felonious he axi r mould inmet et not
onlyees ionson s '5 azi' \'tCtI
bu _l eos ott or }rit,

ing the infonmation knows someone will
commit a dig crime based on that knowl
edge.s
For hbtter or for wsors , the langusage is
open to wid s itcrpretation. kit instead of

laws inforiation that can save lives.
DanceSafe founder Emanuel Sferios ha
this to say, "Politicians want to appear tougl
on drugs, so they come up with this bill," h
told Salon.com. 'But it's only going to e ,
erbate the problem. It should be called ,
Club-Drug Harm Maximization Act"
The main point of the hill is its plan t<
strengthen penalties for ecstasy dealers. Bu
it seems almost overkill that much of its Ian
guage is borrowed fom th
a r' so v rs s~du

r he e Uier Board f
LRegents to dietl uretyhld 1
stocks in tobascc a compans sat its meet-
overdue action. While the investments of
the University's endowment are supposed
to based solely on financial interests,
profiting from companies that knowingly
addict people to harmful products, target
children and have lied about their prac-
tices for decades was a highly unethical
position to be in.
The Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on
Tobacco Investments, which studied the

lthe Rgens was csrrCt5 is iIsaossce1ssmt
thait the damage kisowingly done to
con ~ ~ ~ ~ mtespopea'dsoit ngeneral
by tobaeco companies wat irreconcilable
with the University's efforts to serve and
better society,
The University's joining of many other
prominent institutional investors, such as
several state pension funds and other uni-
versities, will help set an example to
other investors and help encourage the
precedent of companies facing financial
consequences for unethical behavior.

ea se s wld bfsced thvyp Istie eant Wh
Cmn-sosordvit sfsile c rack1w o estayw was vtable, suc'
p cpr s and sofey precan- Iieavy 1anded assiuts' on freedom ot speec'
popoail sraightorwardcly orut- arc not asceptablc and cansot be t leratJ
New bill does not go far enough

Medical marijuana saves lives

L ast Wednesday, author turned medical
marijuana advocate Peter
McWilliams was found in his California
home, choked to death on his own vomit.
After being arrested for selling marijuana
to medical buyers' clubs, McWilliams
was barred from using California's Prop.
215 (which legalized medical marijuana
in that state) as a defense in his federal
trial. He was forced to plead guilty and
sentenced to a parole that denied him the
right to use the only medicine that
allowed him to stomach a powerful cock-
tail of AIDS and cancer drugs: marijuana.
This begs the question: how many
more must die before this legitimate
medicine can reach the sick and the
dying?
McWilliams' AIDS and Cancer had
been in remission with his use of potent
prescription drugs. But the only way he
and many other sufferers of these disor-
ders can cope with the overwhelming toll
of these drugs is with a substance that is
still illegal in most states.
The power of federal lavto override
local initiatives, as well as a continued

rejection by the government's top drug
authorities of marijuana's medicinal
claims is directly responsible for this
man's death. He is the victim of lawmak-
er's continued ignorance. Their reliance
on prohibitionist tactics has long over-
stayed its welcome.
The tragic death of Peter McWilliams
highlights the government's continued
failure to accept the virtues of medical
marijuana, despite its historic usage. Our
lawmakers continually withstand the rav-
ages of alcohol, a drug that contributes to
over 100,000 deaths annually. They also
contribute huge subsidies to tobacco
farmers, who sell products that are direct-
ly responsible for hundreds of thousands
of premature deaths.
The best figures available indicate that
marijuana may fight certain types of can-
cer. Some use it to relieve symptoms of,
certain lung diseases like asthma. It has
also never been responsible for a single
death. It is only our unwillingness to
accept the failure of the war on marijua-
na that continues to deny patients the
medicine they direly need.

A s part of a new bill coming out of the
state legislature intended to combat
youth violence, a provision has been added
requiring the inclusion of a trigger lock with
new guns purchased in Michigan. This bill,
while- beneficial, is a small step and much
greater firearm regulation is necessary.
As recent waves of school shootings
across the country have demonstrated, any-
one, no mater how unfit to own a weapon
they are, can get hold of a gun. While trigger
locks may prevent a few accidental shoot-
ings, they do not address the shocking ease
with which guns may be obtained.
If gun violence is ever to be lessened, the
continually rising number of guns present in
this country must be reduced. There are
already far more guns than necessary in the
United States. And yet, in a misguided per-
ception of personal freedom, sensible ideas
such as gun registration, waiting periods and
limits on the number of guns one can own
are not given serious consideration.
One of the principal arguments against
gun control is that limits on weapons owner-
ship will only be adhered to by law-abiding
people and will not prevent criminals from
getting guns. The success of the Brady Bill
in preventing hundreds of thousands of dan-
gerous people from buying guns proves that
criminals can be prevented from getting
guns. However, the Brady Bill's background
checks can currently be circumvented
through loopholes such as gun shows. That
the gun lobby has stridently and successfully
opposed the closing of those loopholes
which allow criminals to freely buy guns,
clearly shows that their professed defense of
"law-abiding gun owners" is nothing but
rhetoric.

Their opposition to registration of gu:
and waiting periods are also based on faul
arguments. Waiting periods, intended
allow time for thorough background clhi
and prevent impulse buying of dcd
weapons, are attacked as inconvenient at
unfair to the unendingly lionized "law-abi
ing gun owner." Given that the purpose of
gun is to kill, it is hardly unreasonable to a
those who wish to own them to accept
small delay for the purpose of keeping gu
out of the wrong hands.
Gun registration, the most hysterical
opposed of all gun control measures, is 4W
ably the only way to effectively keep
away from criminals. Keeping tabs on
guns would be extremely helpful in prevel
ing illegal sales and ownership. Believis
registration is precursor to gun confiscati
- an extremely unlikely event given
country's obsession with guns - the NR
and other gun proponents have opposed
even though it is really the only way all g
owners can become part of their belov
"law-abiding" group.
The gun violence that plagues the
States, as in no other industrialized natir
has been created by the unwillingness to gi
an inch on the almost completely unregul
ed ownership of guns. Our safety is mc
important than a gun buyer's convenience
the NRA's interpretation of the seco
amendment. Charleton Heston is not part
any "well regulated militia" and we shor
stop humoring his ludicrous assertion that
has a right to carry an Uzi. Real "la
ing" people must realize that school sho
ings and other symptoms of our gun sa
ed culture will only get worse if we do
restrict and regulate the ownership of gun

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