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Are Potshots at Marijuana Undeserved?

June 09, 1991

Well, it appears that the marijuana issue is upon us again ("Smoking Pot: the Hidden Addiction," May 30).

If I could rule the country, I would decriminalize pot. I would ban all advertisements for beer and wine in the broadcast media. I would ban all print advertisements for any type of liquor or tobacco product.

Twenty-five years ago, we had a drug problem in this country. Middle-class kids were smoking a lot of marijuana, some were taking psychedelics. Heroin was a problem in the big cities, and the American housewife and college student was having a love/hate relationship with amphetamines.

We now have armed insurrection in our inner cities. People are smoking something called crack that turns them into physical, emotional and spiritual wrecks.

Perhaps we should turn our attention to the effect of advertising on addiction. Perhaps it is very dangerous for people to hear over and over that relief is as close as the nearest pharmacy or supermarket. Insecurity is considered a social vice to be treated with designer labels, pimple medication and $100 "sneakers."

We live in a world of sound bites and slogans. The environment is dying, our children are getting shot, our health system is a tragedy about to overwhelm us. I am now 41 years old, and I no longer believe that our society really cares about addressing these problems. We are interested in profit.

I don't like this cynicism. I would like to go into the back yard, smoke a joint and watch the hummingbirds. However, that is against the law, so I will sit and listen to my neighbor drink his beer and beat his wife and kids, and I will remember what the Weekly Reader told me life was going to be like in America in the 1990s and I will probably cry.

CHARLES HOOPER III

Los Angeles

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