Letters to the Editor

Central Kitsap Reporter Letters to the Editor | April 2

Medical marijuana

Time to reflect

the public’s will

In 1923, Washington state passed a racially-based law prohibiting marijuana. Many other states passed similar laws, all intent on driving Mexicans out of our country. It was absurd to think that all Mexicans smoke pot for one, and two, to think that would force them to move back to their “native” lands. There have been drives to make marijuana legal ever since then.

In November 1998, Initiative 692, legalizing medical marijuana for certain medical patients with a doctor’s authorization was passed overwhelmingly by Washington state voters. Currently, there are 13 states that have passed similar laws and more are considering such legislation.

In September 2003, Seattle voters passed I-75, a marijuana prioritization law that set police enforcement of adult offenses to the lowest level. Gil Kerlikowske, the Seattle police chief, made this mandate police department policy and he made it clear that going after people for possessing marijuana was not a priority for his force.

On March 12, 2009, President Obama selected Gil Kerlikowske to head the Office of National Drug Policy. This position is more commonly known as the “Drug Czar.” Kerlikowske will take with him experience as police chief of Seattle and continue the low priority classification of medical marijuana.

On March 13, 2009, Time did a story on legislation currently in the houses of California and Oregon looking to pass legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana. Washington currently has a bill on the floor, HB 1177, to reclassify possession of 40 grams or less to a Class 2 civil infraction, down from a misdemeanor.

On March 18, 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that states should be able to make their own rules for medical marijuana and that federal raids on pot dispensaries would cease. The move signaled a softening of the hardline approach to medicinal pot use previous administrations have taken.

Kitsap County has had two high-profile medical marijuana cases in the past six months. Last week, Bruce Olson was acquitted by a jury of 12 of his peers.

Last September, Robert Dalton was not so lucky, being found guilty by Judge Anna M. Laurie. She reasoned he was not a qualifying patient and could take opiate-based painkillers instead, even though Dalton said opiates made him sick. I personally find it offensive that Judge Laurie ignored a medical doctor’s opinion and declared by her verdict that she knew medicine and treatment better than a doctor and his patient.

Since Nancy Reagan’s famous phrase, “Just Say No,” was first spoken, more than $2.4 trillion has been spent on the losing “War on Drugs.” Boy, could we use some that money today. Even worse still, our country spends more money on building prisons than on building schools. One out of every 100 U.S. citizens is in a jail or a prison. That’s three million people, folks! And many of those are for, you guessed it, marijuana offenses. One thing history teaches us: prohibition proved you can’t legislate morality. People are going to do what they want to do. We might as well legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. We sure could use the tax dollars right about now.

With our economy in shambles and our state and county running enormous deficits, why are our elected leaders wasting taxpayers’ money prosecuting and incarcerating people that we, with our votes, made legal? Renegade judges and prosecutors who choose to go against the public’s will should be recalled and removed from office.

Judge Anna M. Laurie and Prosecutor Russ Hauge must be shown the door. Let’s put some responsible people in their place who reflect the public’s will.

GREG JABLONSKI

Bremerton

Campaign contributions

Their corrupt influence

We never have to look far to see the corrupting influence of campaign contributions.

Each year, Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) introduces legislation that would cap interest charged by payday lenders at 36 percent (down from currently allowed fees equal to about 391 percent).

And each year her bill dies in committee because some legislators seem more interested in campaign contributions from these predatory lenders than in protecting the vulnerable poor.

The same sort of legislators oppose banning toxic chemicals in plastic baby bottles and curbing the misuse of workers compensation program refunds by the BIAW (Building Industry Association of Washington), which routinely diverts this money to fund their ultraconservative attack ads.

GENE BULLOCK

Poulsbo

Kitsap Spay Day

A great success

The first ever Kitsap Spay Day on Feb. 24 was a huge success with 574 discounted cat and dog surgeries performed, preventing countless unwanted litters and decreasing health risks for animals all over the Kitsap Peninsula.

We would like to thank the following veterinarians and rescue groups for participating (the animals thank you too). Listed with the total number of discounted spay/neuters done by each in honor of Kitsap Spay Day.

Kitsap Humane Society — 277 (whole month of February); CATS (Linda Dennis) — 140 Kitsap area cats and The Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project in Seattle, Shelton Vet Hospital, Bayview Vet Hospital and Bremerton Animal Hospital (whole month); Bremerton Animal Hospital — 55 (whole month); Bethel Animal Hospital — 44(whole month); Woodside Animal Hospital — 17; Poulsbo Animal Clinic — 9; All Creatures Animal Hospital — 8; Peninsula Mobile Vet Clinic — 7; Purdy Veterinary Clinic —6; Wheaton Way Veterinary Clinic — 6; Companion Animal Wellness Center — 2; Evergreen Animal Hospital — 1; Peninsula Pet Hospital — 1; Pet Medical Center —1.

We also would like to thank the Bremerton Wal-Mart and Naturally 4 Paws for letting us hold our bake sales there. Thank you to McGavin’s Bakery and Susanne’s Bakery and Delicatessen for donating to our bake sales. Thank you to Dana Lerma and the Kitsap Humane Society for all the much needed and appreciated support and for taking time from your already busy schedule to attend our meetings and offer support. Thanks to Frances Jung for dedicating many hours to taking more than 200 phone calls from people needing low cost spay/neuter help and keeping track of it all. Thanks to Tara Trezona for organizing everything and providing the spark to try to get more low cost spay/neuter help in our area. Thanks to Doreen Dickson for her many hours spent baking goodies for the bake sales. Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers, together we can make a difference for the animals.

The tremendous community response proves spay and neuter assistance should be a top priority in our area. The Kitsap Spay & Neuter Council is committed to increasing awareness and will continue to hold fundraising and education events throughout the year. We are proud to announce that Kitsap Spay Day 2009 has been proclaimed at the county level and in the cities of Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Poulsbo and Port Orchard. We also will focus on getting spay and neuter state legislation passed, specifically State Senate Bill 5329/House Bill 1406, which would provide funding for low-income families in need of spay and neuter services by raising an existing pet food fee.

All of us would love to see a day when every animal has a loving, responsible home. Reducing shelter euthanasia and alleviating needless suffering is something we can all strive to do. Thanks to everyone who participated and please remember to spay/neuter your pets to save lives.

TARA TREZONA

LINDA DENNIS

THE KITSAP SPAY & NEUTER COUNCIL

Medical marijuana

Time to reflect

the public’s will

In 1923, Washington state passed a racially-based law prohibiting marijuana. Many other states passed similar laws, all intent on driving Mexicans out of our country. It was absurd to think that all Mexicans smoke pot for one, and two, to think that would force them to move back to their “native” lands. There have been drives to make marijuana legal ever since then.

In November 1998, Initiative 692, legalizing medical marijuana for certain medical patients with a doctor’s authorization was passed overwhelmingly by Washington state voters. Currently, there are 13 states that have passed similar laws and more are considering such legislation.

In September 2003, Seattle voters passed I-75, a marijuana prioritization law that set police enforcement of adult offenses to the lowest level. Gil Kerlikowske, the Seattle police chief, made this mandate police department policy and he made it clear that going after people for possessing marijuana was not a priority for his force.

On March 12, 2009, President Obama selected Gil Kerlikowske to head the Office of National Drug Policy. This position is more commonly known as the “Drug Czar.” Kerlikowske will take with him experience as police chief of Seattle and continue the low priority classification of medical marijuana.

On March 13, 2009, Time did a story on legislation currently in the houses of California and Oregon looking to pass legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana. Washington currently has a bill on the floor, HB 1177, to reclassify possession of 40 grams or less to a Class 2 civil infraction, down from a misdemeanor.

On March 18, 2009, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that states should be able to make their own rules for medical marijuana and that federal raids on pot dispensaries would cease. The move signaled a softening of the hardline approach to medicinal pot use previous administrations have taken.

Kitsap County has had two high-profile medical marijuana cases in the past six months. Last week, Bruce Olson was acquitted by a jury of 12 of his peers.

Last September, Robert Dalton was not so lucky, being found guilty by Judge Anna M. Laurie. She reasoned he was not a qualifying patient and could take opiate-based painkillers instead, even though Dalton said opiates made him sick. I personally find it offensive that Judge Laurie ignored a medical doctor’s opinion and declared by her verdict that she knew medicine and treatment better than a doctor and his patient.

Since Nancy Reagan’s famous phrase, “Just Say No,” was first spoken, more than $2.4 trillion has been spent on the losing “War on Drugs.” Boy, could we use some that money today. Even worse still, our country spends more money on building prisons than on building schools. One out of every 100 U.S. citizens is in a jail or a prison. That’s three million people, folks! And many of those are for, you guessed it, marijuana offenses. One thing history teaches us: prohibition proved you can’t legislate morality. People are going to do what they want to do. We might as well legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. We sure could use the tax dollars right about now.

With our economy in shambles and our state and county running enormous deficits, why are our elected leaders wasting taxpayers’ money prosecuting and incarcerating people that we, with our votes, made legal? Renegade judges and prosecutors who choose to go against the public’s will should be recalled and removed from office.

Judge Anna M. Laurie and Prosecutor Russ Hauge must be shown the door. Let’s put some responsible people in their place who reflect the public’s will.

GREG JABLONSKI

Bremerton

Campaign contributions

Their corrupt influence

We never have to look far to see the corrupting influence of campaign contributions.

Each year, Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo) introduces legislation that would cap interest charged by payday lenders at 36 percent (down from currently allowed fees equal to about 391 percent).

And each year her bill dies in committee because some legislators seem more interested in campaign contributions from these predatory lenders than in protecting the vulnerable poor.

The same sort of legislators oppose banning toxic chemicals in plastic baby bottles and curbing the misuse of workers compensation program refunds by the BIAW (Building Industry Association of Washington), which routinely diverts this money to fund their ultraconservative attack ads.

GENE BULLOCK

Poulsbo

Kitsap Spay Day

A great success

The first ever Kitsap Spay Day on Feb. 24 was a huge success with 574 discounted cat and dog surgeries performed, preventing countless unwanted litters and decreasing health risks for animals all over the Kitsap Peninsula.

We would like to thank the following veterinarians and rescue groups for participating (the animals thank you too). Listed with the total number of discounted spay/neuters done by each in honor of Kitsap Spay Day.

Kitsap Humane Society — 277 (whole month of February); CATS (Linda Dennis) — 140 Kitsap area cats and The Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project in Seattle, Shelton Vet Hospital, Bayview Vet Hospital and Bremerton Animal Hospital (whole month); Bremerton Animal Hospital — 55 (whole month); Bethel Animal Hospital — 44(whole month); Woodside Animal Hospital — 17; Poulsbo Animal Clinic — 9; All Creatures Animal Hospital — 8; Peninsula Mobile Vet Clinic — 7; Purdy Veterinary Clinic —6; Wheaton Way Veterinary Clinic — 6; Companion Animal Wellness Center — 2; Evergreen Animal Hospital — 1; Peninsula Pet Hospital — 1; Pet Medical Center —1.

We also would like to thank the Bremerton Wal-Mart and Naturally 4 Paws for letting us hold our bake sales there. Thank you to McGavin’s Bakery and Susanne’s Bakery and Delicatessen for donating to our bake sales. Thank you to Dana Lerma and the Kitsap Humane Society for all the much needed and appreciated support and for taking time from your already busy schedule to attend our meetings and offer support. Thanks to Frances Jung for dedicating many hours to taking more than 200 phone calls from people needing low cost spay/neuter help and keeping track of it all. Thanks to Tara Trezona for organizing everything and providing the spark to try to get more low cost spay/neuter help in our area. Thanks to Doreen Dickson for her many hours spent baking goodies for the bake sales. Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers, together we can make a difference for the animals.

The tremendous community response proves spay and neuter assistance should be a top priority in our area. The Kitsap Spay & Neuter Council is committed to increasing awareness and will continue to hold fundraising and education events throughout the year. We are proud to announce that Kitsap Spay Day 2009 has been proclaimed at the county level and in the cities of Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Poulsbo and Port Orchard. We also will focus on getting spay and neuter state legislation passed, specifically State Senate Bill 5329/House Bill 1406, which would provide funding for low-income families in need of spay and neuter services by raising an existing pet food fee.

All of us would love to see a day when every animal has a loving, responsible home. Reducing shelter euthanasia and alleviating needless suffering is something we can all strive to do. Thanks to everyone who participated and please remember to spay/neuter your pets to save lives.

TARA TREZONA

LINDA DENNIS

THE KITSAP SPAY & NEUTER COUNCIL

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