Up in smoke

The United States has spent over $1 trillion in taxpayer money on the Reagan/Rockefeller-inspired war on drugs, yet the results are abysmal. Our country leads the world in the size of our prison population and marijuana is just as available today as it was in 1980. Too many Americans have had their lives destroyed because of criminal charges related to marijuana use. The only group benefiting from the current system are privately owned prisons.

Two-thirds of Americans support regulated sales of marijuana. And, heck, it’s a weed. When I worked in Alaska in the 1970s, people legally grew it in their basement or backyard. It wasn’t very strong and you could not sell the stuff. Anyone who wanted it could grow his or her own, so why would you buy it? Alaska’s law changed when the Reagan administration threatened to withhold highway funds unless pot was outlawed. Talk about strong-arming. Congress needs to take action to allow states the right to regulate sale and use of marijuana.

The feds should focus on what actually killed over 64,000 Americans in 2016: opioids, many of them produced by large domestic pharmaceutical companies. For every person who dies from an overdose, a family is torn asunder. This must stop. We need to regard the opioid epidemic for what it is: a huge medical problem. Users need treatment, not jail; law enforcement can interdict shipments from China, Mexico and unregulated domestic clinics. Let’s shift our priorities to what is actually the problem.

I hope Congressman Bill Flores supports Texas lawmaker Beto O’Rourke’s proposal to allow states to regulate marijuana sales. Federal efforts should provide treatment resources for those suffering from the scourge of the opioid epidemic.

Dave Morrow, Waco

Sick and on the job

The Trib editorial on Jan. 5 about not spreading the flu was, of course, correct in most of what you say. However, there are individuals who simply cannot afford to stay home from work. The working poor have little or no sick leave or even vacation time. If they do not work, they do not get paid. Sadly there are many who do not even make minimum wage. Yes, in a perfect world we would all stay home with pay when sick. Would that this were possible for everyone.

Rita L. Hogan, Waco

One-issue writer?

John Vickrey’s excoriating, oxymoronic language — “deluded evangelical” — words with which he labeled me a “one-issue” person, makes me smile [“Moore insanity,” Jan. 2]. So herein I say: “Thank you, sir.” Since March 14, 1954 — that Sunday night when I asked Jesus Christ into my heart — a single issue does flow from my heart (and mind): “Be it unto me according to the Bible.” — Luke 1:38. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.

Kay King, Eddy