It's Hard Not to Change Opinion of Drugs

I've just finished reading Margo Pierce's excellent piece on the pitiful state of our government's "War on Drugs" (issue of Nov. 9-15). This is the first time I've read such an intelligent review of

I've just finished reading Margo Pierce's excellent piece on the pitiful state of our government's "War on Drugs" (issue of Nov. 9-15). This is the first time I've read such an intelligent review of where we are. I'm sending this to all on my e-mail list.

We need to make some changes in our laws and in our approach to this problem. Please pass along my thanks to Pierce for making this information available to all of us.

My interest in this matter is primarily because my gay son Paul needed marijuana to help him eat. He suffered from AIDS and in the last four months of his life came home to live with us here in Cincinnati. I watched as he struggled to first want to eat and then, when he could eat, to keep it down. Marijuana helped tremendously. Just a few puffs before eating did something to his stomach that kept the food there.

We didn't question how it did that — we were just thrilled to see him eating.

I have a hard time feeling good about my country when this simple act is illegal under current laws. Let's hope that Pierce's words are read by many people and that all of us together can change current thinking about this serious problem.

Thank you so much for providing needed information for all of us every week. I appreciate CityBeat.

— June Delph, Clifton Heights

True Public Service
I just wanted to send you a personal note of thanks for publishing Margo Pierce's thorough and well-researched cover story on the drug war ("War on Drugs," issue of Nov. 9-15). Not only does the mainstream press rarely give such issues adequate attention, but sadly the left/progressive/alternative media don't always do much better. This was a true public service.

— Bruce Mirken, Director of Communications Marijuana Policy Project, Washington, D.C.

Anger Vs. Hope in OTR
As I read "Kristina Lives in Over-the-Rhine" (issue of Nov. 9-15), I too found myself fighting tears. The compassionately experienced and expressed story of Larry Gross' interaction with a small child on the No. 17 bus through Over-the-Rhine tugged at deep, heavy tears of both anger and hope.

The angry tears raced to my eyes directly from my core. Anger for the plight of poor and their relegation to grossly substandard housing in neighborhoods infused with drugs and violence and inequitable educational opportunities. Anger for the myth propelled by "the American Dream" that anyone can "make it" (read: Escape from poverty) given a willingness to work. Anger with the government for their unrelenting belief in this dream and the alienation of countless Americans via impending cuts to programs like Medicaid and failure to mandate payment of real living wages that results. Anger for the persistent inequalities in race, class, gender, age and sexuality and the associated injustices.

Maybe most importantly, tears of hope eventually surfaced. Hope in the power of such brief everyday interactions with "others" — however they might be other to us — to promote empathy, awareness, reflection, connection and solidarity. Hope in the presence of other observant, thoughtful people whose experiences, like this one, might serve to change them in some way. Hope that improvements and increases in public transportation might promote such interactions and truly make them an everyday occurrence. Hope in the pure power of exposure and interaction that might be hastened by neighborhood, school and workplace integration.

— Marie McCabe, Clifton

What Are the Anti-Gay Groups Hiding?
Your Porkopolis item on the lawsuit filed by Equality Cincinnati was excellent (issue of Nov. 9-15). It's interesting that anti-gay groups reported the donors for only $13,000 of the $2.4 million they spent on elections last year. What are they hiding? Shameful homophobic contributors?

I'm treasurer of one PAC and on the board of another. We have to list the name and address of every single person who gives us more than $25 and file the reports with the secretary of state.

Equality Cincinnati has complained to the Ohio Elections Commission that these anti-gay groups did not follow those rules. What, or who, do those groups know that I don't?

— Kathy Helmbock, Oakley