The Baltimore Sun

Our marijuana laws are the real travesty

The Baltimore Sun made a number of valid points in its editorial about Michael Phelps ("Snark attack," Feb. 6). But there is more that needs to be said.

No one would bat an eyelash if Mr. Phelps had been photographed hoisting a Budweiser. Yet the data show unmistakably that alcohol is more addictive than marijuana, vastly more toxic and orders of magnitude more likely to make its users aggressive or violent.

Given the laws, Mr. Phelps took a big risk. But it's our laws that are truly stupid and irresponsible when they punish someone for choosing to unwind with a substance that is safer than beer.

It's even dumber, in this era of fiscal crisis, for our government to forgo the billions of dollars in tax revenues that could be generated if marijuana were legally regulated in the ways that alcohol and tobacco are.

Bruce Mirken, Washington

The writer is communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Slap Phelps on wrist, then live and let live

Thank you, Kathleen Parker, for offering some good sense in your assessment of Michael Phelps' indiscretion with marijuana ("From Beijing to bong," Commentary, Feb. 6). Let's give him a suitable rap on the wrist, and move on.

Mr. Phelps is a spectacular athlete we can all admire, and we should let him go on doing his thing. He is not a saint; he is a youth who, like other youths, can make mistakes.

And yes, even if using marijuana has its risks, its criminalization leads to a vast waste of resources and many unjust incarcerations.

Elizabeth Fixsen, Savage

Give abuse victims more time to sue

The General Assembly should approve state Sen. Delores G. Kelley's bill to extend the statute of limitations for lawsuits over childhood sex abuse. Victims of abuse should be allowed to seek remedies in civil court regardless of the amount of time that has elapsed.

It is shameful and insensitive for the Maryland Catholic Conference to oppose this bill. Doing so sends the message that the church wants to continue to cover up the abuse and indifference that have been repeatedly exposed by abuse victims and many Catholic writers.

Covering up injustice is justice denied.

Edd Doerr, Silver Spring

The writer is president of Americans for Religious Liberty.

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