From the week of October 15, 2009

"Gone to Pot," Patricia Calhoun, October 8

A Chronic Problem

A daily smoker of the true sacrament for four decades, I enjoy Colorado's dispensaries. However, I do not trust newspapers. The put-downs and sour humor associated with cannabis serve to continue the derogation of one slice of humanity. The national religion thanks to these rags amounts to raw hatred. It's been a year and a half since I picked up my last paper. There may never be anything worthwhile in them again.

No free press = no free country.


medical marijuana

Jeff Christen-Mitchell


Funny as hell and provided important facts; good for one and all. What it's all really about is "what we mean to marijuana," and when that force has become strong enough, resistance will cave and, in return, the wave will turn to empower and benefit the whole of society. This is the future.

Look at California, Oregon; for some states, there is no other way to dig themselves out of their economic hole.

Krissy Workman


Editor's note: We've received hundreds of responses to our call for a medical marijuana dispensary reviewer — many from the media (Westword's pot-critic quest was even featured on NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on Saturday), and many, many more from would-be applicants. We're slowly going through the "What Marijuana Means to Me" application essays and will keep you posted on our progress on the Latest Word blog.

"Saddle Up," Patricia Calhoun, October 1

Saddle Sore

Thanks to Patricia Calhoun for her piece on the Army's cynical and disrespectful Piñon Canyon land grab. I wanted to point out one strategy the Army has begun to implement in its quest to grab more land for its human explosion practice: It has embarked on a massive greenwashing campaign, effectively saying, "Sure, we want to blow shit up and eventually hope that 'shit' is a person, but think of all the developers we're stopping from building on that land! We're great stewards of the land. We're putting up a couple of those new lightbulbs and some solar panels. The Army is Green. Green is Hip. The Army is Hip. Go to sleep..."

Unfortunately, the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy and other conservative environmental groups have taken the bait. If you're an environmentalist reading this: Oppose this strategy and these groups. War is the worst thing for the planet, and that's what they're planning for. "Green" is beginning to be like "dry-humping": It sounds good and looks good and feels good for a second, but then you just feel hurt and empty. Or maybe I've not found the right kind of "green" or dry-humped the right person? Either way, oppose the expansion.

Evan Weissman


Editor's note: Last week, several Colorado legislators sent a letter to senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, urging them to support the following amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill: "No funds shall be expended to create Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site as a sub-installation of Fort Carson."

"The Salazar Showdown," Alan Prendergast, October 1

Cattle Call

Just because someone is a Democrat doesn't make him an environmentalist. Barack Obama's choice of Ken Salazar as Secretary of the Interior is a disastrous one for our environment. As longtime advocates for the environment and particularly the protection of native predatory animals across the Western U.S. (wolves, coyotes, foxes, bears and others), many of us who care about our vanishing wildlife were more than disappointed that Obama would choose someone from a livestock/ranching background for Interior. The fact that Ken Salazar comes from a long line of ranchers is a huge negative – not a plus.

 The Secretary of the Interior has an immense and critical responsibility for preserving our precious land and the wildlife within it. That is supposed to be Interior's first priority, and is the first goal of its mission: "resource protection." Livestock is not a "resource." It is a profit-driven industry with a long history of putting cattle and ranching first. Wildlife habitat and its native animals, particularly predatory animals such as coyotes, foxes, wolves, bears and other native animals, are considered "nuisances" to be gotten rid of.

 In addition, Salazar has supported such bills as allowing for poisoning of prairie dogs. He has supported the use of our public lands for cattle grazing, displacing and destroying native animals, and using cruel snares, traps and poisons to get rid of them. He has opposed bills to preserve and protect feral and wild horses on our public lands, instead opting for their slaughter.

 We need someone in the Interior willing to speak up for the wilderness and its long persecuted native animals at the hands of the cattle industry — not someone connected with the industry.

Barb Adams


"In the Dog House," Jared Jacang Maher, September 24

It's the pits!

Thank you so much for covering this very sad story about the cruelty to all pit bulls and pit mixes who are innocent but guilty because of their DNA. Finally, someone has reached out to the people of Denver who never voted this horrible law in, anyway. I live in Idaho and have come to Denver for the last two years to show support to get rid of this ban and am always surprised by the lack of interest in this subject, but now I think it is fear. Fear that if they speak up, their dogs will be targeted. Again, thank you so much for covering this very disturbing reminder of Nazi Germany.

Jeramie Dreyfuss

Hailey, Idaho

Thank you for such a nicely written article on Denver's breed ban. There was some wonderful supporting evidence of why breed bans don't work.  I hope it opens some minds to how effective well-planned, non-breed-specific, dangerous-dog legislation can be. Maybe you'll save the life of a pit bull or two.

Mary Majchrowski

Rockport, Maine

I am the proud owner of a beautiful and wonderful pit bull, Coi. She is an absolute joy, and it makes me sick what Denver is doing to this breed. All I see is her face when I look at the pups they have on pit bull row, and it brings tears to my eyes knowing they are being punished for being born and for irresponsible people bringing them into the city.

I can never even consider living in Denver, because I plan to always own pit bulls, and it just seems ridiculous to me that I can't live wherever I want to. I am a responsible, successful, law-abiding citizen and do not think local government should have the right to tell me what kind of dog I can own. I appreciate you giving good pit bull owners a voice and explaining away a lot of the misinformation that is out there.

Katie Conwell


Dear Denver: Today you broke my heart.

For five years, I have been proud to call Denver home, proud of your diversity, tolerance and open mind. I have even continued to love you in spite of your misguided breed-specific legislation, believing that your intentions were good and that you would find your way.

I trusted that you would soon take into account the inefficacy of breed bans and realize that you could better protect your citizens by implementing comprehensive dangerous-dog laws and increasing the accountability of reckless dog owners.

I believed that we are not a place that judges and discriminates against any group based on sensationalism and stereotypes, and I believed that you would soon prove it.

As an animal-rights advocate and pit bull rescue volunteer, I have been careful to not let my emotional attachment to this loving, loyal and misunderstood breed cloud my ability to make rationale arguments in favor of effective and humane legislation. But today, faced with the pictures posted at, it is impossible to be anything but emotional.

As I look at these callous piles of discarded pit bulls, many of which were once loving and loved family pets, I know, sadly, that I am done trusting and believing in you. I am tired of waiting for you to do right by me, my fellow citizens and the almost 4,000 dogs you have killed to date.

Today I am ashamed to be a resident of Denver. Please take steps to repeal the current breed ban and enact a new dangerous-dog law in its place so I can once again be proud to live here.

Megan Weber



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