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THE TIME HAS COME TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA

Hats off to The News for its approval of Gov. Pataki's recent willingness to reform the state's most non-sustainable and failed drug policies in the March 5 editorial, "Pataki is right to back a change in the drug laws."

Missing from this editorial, however, is mention of the tragic fact that many thousands of people sit in jails all over this country for the non-violent offense of using marijuana.

Judge John Curtin recently made a drug policy reform suggestion that should be considered as well; that is, the outright legalization of this very substance. Millions agree.

It makes no sense at all to stigmatize and vilify certain members of our communities simply because government does not like their choice of intoxicant. There is no moral difference between a person who likes to use alcohol and someone who chooses to instead use marijuana.

Why should some adult Americans be allowed to go to a bar and get themselves intoxicated if they wish, but the equally adult and responsible neighbor down the street who prefers a milder sort of intoxicant risks arrest, public vilification, asset forfeiture and possible loss of a job, simply because a bad law managed to get ramrodded through Congress more than a half century ago?

It's time to make marijuana legal, and time for government to stop telling responsible adults to either drink booze or get high on life. For many, that's no choice at all.

MARILYN M. CRAIG
Buffalo

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