Friday, December 15, 2017
Letters To The Editor

Thursday's letters: Time to give patients some relief

High stakes | June 23

Time to give patients some relief

Opponents are using tired old arguments in favor of marijuana prohibition. Their reasoning is based on opinion, not data. They point out that there is already a legal drug, making smoked pot unnecessary.

That is Marinol, a pill that contains marijuana's active ingredient. It was rushed through DEA/FDA approval several years ago to blunt criticism of marijuana prohibition. But Marinol is less effective than smoked marijuana because its dose cannot be fine-tuned and it can be vomited.

Now prohibitionists are on the defensive again, so they suggest it might be okay to inhale the vapor of certain components of marijuana. That's after obtaining DEA/FDA approval, of course, a task that could take years.

Meanwhile patients continue to wait, decade after decade, held hostage by prohibitionists, whose fear of drug abuse trumps all else. It is time to give patients some relief. We can always go back. Then, at least, voters will have data for an informed decision.

John G. Chase, Palm Harbor

High stakes | June 23

Naysayers' ignorance

Thanks for your well-written article regarding the potential for ballot legalization of medical marijuana. As usual, the naysayers base their arguments on ignorance rather than fact.

A particularly egregious error: "Legalizing medical marijuana could spawn a seedy black market for unscrupulous physicians." Really? As opposed to the very scrupulous backstreet dealers that cancer patients deal with now? As Robert Jordan, who currently obtains the product illegally for his sick wife, said: He is buying on the street and "keeping fingers crossed they don't get a contaminated batch."

Secondly, "We will see a flood of people coming down from Kentucky or Georgia." I call pants on fire. There is absolutely no evidence of that happening in any state where medical marijuana has become legal, largely because state-issued IDs are required of all patients.

There is no evidence supporting most of the negative (or positive) publicity surrounding the harmfulness of marijuana. This is primarily because the federal government has outlawed research regarding its efficacy for the past 40 years. The only reason marijuana is currently listed as a narcotic is because Big Pharma doesn't want the competition. They'll lose a lot of business when you can grow a nonaddictive version of Prozac, et al., in your backyard.

Steven Lipson, Valrico

Politics and pride: a tale of two cities June 21, Sue Carlton column

Point of pride

St. Petersburg should be happy and proud of the celebration of diversity and uniqueness that will occur on Central Avenue on Saturday. The Pride parade will be fun, festive and a true acceptance of diversity.

Many counties, towns and cities have struggled for years to allow such celebrations. St. Petersburg should be satisfied knowing that the Pride celebration has been happening for over 10 years.

There will always be some who have difficulty in accepting a different manner in thinking, believing or acting. There will be some who use scriptures from the Bible in hopes of justifying their form of hatred and bigotry. Thankfully, the majority of folks who come to the Pride festival are open-minded, accepting and looking for a fun time.

Besides the exercise in acceptance and diversity, there is also the economic impact. We all spend the same color money.

Mark L. Grantham, Gulfport

Proposed law divides gun rights advocates June 22

Unintended effects

While it may seem a good idea to impose a blanket denial of firearms ownership to those who voluntarily admit for mental health services, unintended consequences should be considered.

Recent decades have seen progress in alleviating the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment. It has become much more socially acceptable for those who need help to seek it before the potential need for involuntary admission emerges. We also have effective treatments.

But a law that denies a right may mean that those in need may not willingly seek help. When talking with my fellow military veterans about why so many suffer in silence, choosing not to avail themselves of services, among the many reasons — stigma, distrust of established systems — is fear that their rights under the Second Amendment will be terminated.

While the intended consequences of such a law are to keep firearms out of the hands of voluntary admissions, requiring voluntary termination of that right will likely have a chilling effect on individuals' willingness to seek help.

Jack Darkes, Temple Terrace

When a city caves in to complainers June 23, Tim Nickens column

One-time attraction

In this column I believe that Tim Nickens inadvertently made the case for those of us who don't support the Lens when he observed that had there been referendums on the Eiffel Tower, Gateway Arch or Cloud Gate sculpture, they might never have been built.

All three of these structures are essentially pieces of artwork. I suspect that tourists to each area might want to visit those artworks, but for most only once. I further suspect that citizens of Paris, St. Louis or Chicago never visit those attractions more than once either. Why would they? Once you've seen it you've seen it. Many downtown residents would prefer a pier that offers activities and attractions that would encourage repeated visits by all. The Lens would soon fall into the category of "been there, done that."

Pat Carlisle, St. Petersburg

Sex assaults in military: 53% on men | June 24

Inside the numbers

This rather startling headline is misleading regarding the percentage of men versus women in the military who have been sexually assaulted, and it is not clarified sufficiently in the article.

With a number of 26,000 total assaults as reported in the article, 53 percent on men would equate to a total of 13,780 assaults, whereas for women it would be 12,220. Yet, according to data published in numerous places, there are approximately 203,000 women in the military and 1,197,000 men. If you do the math, this means that 6 percent of women (12,200 of 203,000) have been sexually assaulted, whereas 1 percent of men (13,780 of 1,197,000) were assaulted. So the rate for women is still six times that for men.

Joel K. Thompson, professor of psychology, USF, Tampa


Monday’s letters: Tax plan bad for the country

Trump, GOP make good on tax cuts Dec. 14Tax plan is bad for the countryUnless senators such as Susan Collins, R-Maine, and our own Marco Rubio develop some backbone, the Republican tax bill could well pass.The bill would inflict harm on the people wh...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Sunday’s letters: Rule of law at stake in Mueller inquiry

Sunday’s letters: Rule of law at stake in Mueller inquiry

Justice official parries attacks | Dec. 14Rule of law at stake in inquiryConservative media outlets and a number of Republicans in both chambers of Congress have launched an all-out assault on special counsel Robert Mueller and his team in an eff...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Saturday’s letters: Project silent on rising sea levels

Updated: 8 hours ago

Friday’s letters: Put yourself in a business owner’s shoes

GOP plan favors owners | Dec. 11Perils of small business ownersI wonder if the author of this article has even a clue about owning a business. Businessmen — especially small business owners — risk it all. They risk their savings, their car, their...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17

Thursday’s letters: Trump’s values hardly admirable

Finally, a president who cares | Dec. 13, letterTrump’s values hardly admirableThe letter writer is happy to have someone in the White House who "truly cares about our country’s business" and is "unafraid … of mentioning God and religious values....
Published: 12/13/17

Wednesday’s letters: Proposal would restore Florida Forever funding

Florida ForeverPlan boosts land protectionMost of us thought funding for land conservation in Florida would be restored when we voted the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) into law in 2014. It passed easily, with 75 percent of voter...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17

Tuesday’s letters: Writer should look to his own mistakes

Is anyone ever wrong anymore? | Dec. 8Writer should look to own errorsIn Mitch Daniels’ article about people who have been wrong, he finishes with the statement that our lives would be greatly improved with more people saying, "I was wrong."He mi...
Published: 12/08/17
Updated: 12/11/17

Monday’s letters: Don’t drill in Arctic refuge

Arctic National Wildlife RefugeStop plan to drill for oil in refugeOur nation faces yet another effort to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge reserve to oil and gas drilling. Drilling in the Arctic simply doesn’t make sound financial sense. W...
Published: 12/08/17

Sunday’s letters: Tax bill puts U.S. on right course

The GOP’s regressive tax plans | Dec. 5, editorialTax bill puts U.S. on right courseThe Times is already crying wolf over the new tax cuts, claiming that the new laws "could" result an increase in the national debt of $1.5 trillion over the next ...
Published: 12/07/17

Pasco letters to the editor for Dec. 15

Re: Helping Others Fulfills our purpose here on Earth | Nov. 17 guest columnThe good doctor acknowledges a CreatorThank you for publishing Dr. Rao Musunuru’s guest column. As Congressman Gus Bilirakis said in the Congressional Record, this good d...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/13/17