From the week of November 19, 2009

"Independence Instituters Are Still Shooting From the Lip," Kenny Be, November 12

Comic Relief

Kenny Be gave the Independence Institute exactly what that batch of blowhards deserved for a 25th anniversary present! But what did Colorado do to deserve the Independence Institute?

Jill Hoover

Denver

I have to admit I was disappointed with the new Westword. It was good to see Jared Jacang Maher's "Building a Case," the followup on the One Lincoln Park story, but annoying to have your cover be Kenny Be's cartoon. A real article on the 25th anniversary of the Independence Institute would have been more interesting.

Alex Teitz

Denver

Colorado Democrats will be eternally grateful for the Independence Institute. After Jon Caldara ran the RTD into the ground, John Andrews ran his midnight redistricting plan and Tom Tancredo just kept running his mouth, the state has switched completely from a dependable Republican state to a very active Democratic state.

Doug Hubka

Denver

Trust Westword to make fun of the only reason Colorado hasn't gone the way of California. We should all be thanking the Independence Institute for its work pushing free-market economics and fighting government intrusion in our lives. Here's to 25 more years!

Larry Arthur

Aurora

"Bugging Out," Off Limits, November 5

down and dirty

Denver Public Schools is losing a fight with filthy conditions inside its "educational" facilities, conditions that are causing an explosion of pestilence? Of course, under the yoke of repressive political correctness, one may not identify a kinetic soil displacement implement as a kinetic soil displacement implement. So one must also not speak the name of that which causes problems such as this. Even a "news" paper such as Westword, charged with keeping the public faith by reporting the who, what, when, where and (key term) why of events, wets her (oops!) panties over the very prospect of even speculating. If you can unscrew your head from your ass for just a moment, you can figure it out here, without any studies, legions of CSU extension undergrads or hand-wringing by "concerned" officials.

Let's call a spade a spade: It's the illegals, stupid.

J.M. Schell

Arvada

"Higher Law," Patricia Calhoun, October 29

The Ganja's All Here

As a 43-year self-medicator, I have some insight into the substance and spirit of the drug and attendant social history – although only in the last twenty years have I taken personal dosage into account, like any drug, in order to attain a balanced high, an elevated mood, enhanced sensory perception and expanded consciousness without becoming zonked, blasted, baked or otherwise rendered useless for social and/or artistic activity (or even, on occasion, basic motor skills).

The current climate brings to mind my gang's certainty in 1967 that legalization was imminent, at least by the end of that decade, even though in Texas at the time, many longhairs and minorities were getting twenty-year sentences for giving a narc as little as one joint. But we believed in sanity and the evolution of social awareness, and the harmlessness of marijuana use compared to alcohol and many of the other illegal and controlled substances we were experimenting with. This belief was well bolstered by my personal attendance at a "Smoke-In" in Tompkins Square Park in New York City in the summer of '67, at which beat cops strolled among the tokers and trippers while Country Joe and the Fish psychedelicized the gathering. While it was hard to picture Houston's redneck boys in blue exhibiting such laissez-faire, we were sure it had to come. Sooner rather than four decades later.

In the '80s, The Emperor Wears No Clothes opened my eyes to the real powers behind the 1937 prohibition (Hearst, Rockefeller, DuPont) and the demonization of the killer weed, when it was really the industrial uses of hemp that were the threat to established corporate power. I subsequently wrote the newly inaugurated Clinton & Gore, asking them to read the book and consider not only the impact to American agriculture and business, but the traditional medicinal qualities of the leaf and flower. I received a nice mass-produced facsimile-signed postcard thanking me for my input.

Now, at age 62, I still find it a powerful ally (in the Don Juan sense of the term) for relaxation and the enhanced enjoyment of art and sensual and intellectual pursuits. As a painkiller, which is the primary issue behind the current pot controversy, I've never found it to be very efficacious, certainly not compared to the poppy and the coca, which have been fully developed by pharmaceutical science over the last 150 years. This "dispensary" thing is almost laughable if it wasn't what I hope is the last gasp of the seventy-year prohibition of a benign and, indeed, therapeutic god-given herb. Sure, the government will step in to regulate, standardize, tax, distribute and subsidize the green gold, just as we expected them to do forty years ago. As long as they don't take away the right to grow and cure my own.

Jimi Bernath

Denver

Based on the vast number of marijuana dispensary ads in Westword, you should change the name to Westweed.

Bob

Denver

Westword should have a small pullout section just for medical marijuana. Being an MMJ patient myself, the only resources I have are the Denver Post, Westword, TV and the Internet. But everyone barely touches the story in depth, and we are all left in the dark with a feeling like we are still walking around on eggshells with the law. I already got arrested this year for marijuana cultivation, and even with the best medical marijuana attorney on my side, the law changes monthly, and it's a pain in the ass to keep up so I won't get busted again. I'm trying to do the right thing, and it's impossible to keep up!

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