Pot Wars 

Thursday, Feb 23 2012

Last week's cover story, "L.A.'s Pot Prohibition Playbook," by Hillel Aron, was our journalistic attempt to explain the inexplicable — namely, how is it possible that Los Angeles is considering a ban on medical marijuana? Isn't it 2012? Aren't we in California? City officials claim they have no choice but to go for a so-called "soft ban" — but if Denver has figured out how to regulate the stuff effectively, why can't we?

Readers couldn't believe things have gotten to this point.

"California has to get it together for the rest of the country, which continues to use California as a role model and inspiration," writes Lady Liberty. "And the feds have to back off. The only way to fix the situation is not to differentiate marijuana as medicine vs. recreation. Both need to be OK, and the federal government needs to decriminalize or legalize marijuana and hemp! It's insane that the fights continue over the pettiness of who needs it who doesn't. We have a right to medicate however we wish. Odd that the woman in the article felt better about taking Cymbalta than marijuana! Many of us suffering great pain are on daily pain medications that are literally killing us!"

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Patrick Duff observes, "I don't see the sky falling in Los Angeles from all the pot shops. In fact, I see a lower violent crime rate in our city, even though we are in a recession. So what is the problem?"

Reader Tabbycatfight agrees. "Every industry in this country is allowed free enterprise — isn't that the American way?! It's amazing how much effort is being put forth to prevent dispensary owners from entering a higher tax bracket — which of course is reserved for the CEOs of the corporations that manufacture, distribute and sell pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, with politicians being among the biggest profiteers," she writes.

Shelby Hazelett notes the city's ordinance required that pot dispensaries be nonprofit. Why not hold others to that standard? "How about making all drug companies be nonprofit?" she asks. "Then it might be fair."

Others lashed out at City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, who courted medical marijuana activists while campaigning, only to try to run dispensaries out of town after taking office.

"Trutanich made a mess of regulating medical marijuana in L.A. because he chickened out of taking a progressive and permissive approach that contemplated an independent commission to supervise dispensaries (like liquor stores), in favor of his typical scorched-earth restrictive ordinances that have been struck down," writes Warren. "Oakland doesn't have the problems that L.A. has because its city attorney worked with the medical marijuana community, instead of working against it — the Trutanich approach."

Rick Abrams agrees: "Trutanich is worse than lazy. There is no law against making a profit from selling marijuana. It is one of those lies, which has been repeated 1,000 times by Trutanich, that people believe to be true. The statute actually takes no position on whether one may make a profit selling medical marijuana.

"As everyone who has basic education (which disqualifies most graduates from LAUSD) knows, immoral, amoral and corrupt politicians who want to be district attorney tend to promote some morality campaign. Trutanich is basing his run for DA on the false claims that law enforcement associations have endorsed him and the equally bogus claim that the state's medical marijuana law outlaws making a profit."

For much, much more on Trutanich, we recommend this week's cover story, "Carmen the Barbarian." You're welcome.

The First Amendment Does Not Apply to Music Criticism

This week's mailbag also brought with it a greater-than-average number of angry missives from music lovers, who were pissed about both our list "The 20 Worst Bands of All Time" (admittedly, it's not like we weren't asking for it!) and staff writer Dennis J. Romero's suggestion that Dave Grohl had wrongly dissed electronic music at the Grammys ("Dave Grohl: His Grammys Speech About Electronic Music Was Bullshit," posted online Feb. 13).

Some of the responses were vicious. Many were mean-spirited. A few were, let's face it, downright funny.

Without further ado, we present the ravings of one Alexandra Marie Levine, who wrote to inform Romero that he is "a load of shit," that his ears are "wasted flesh" and that, yes, he should "eat a bag of dicks." She also accused him of blasphemy! Really!

An excerpt (yes, the original was longer):

"Obviously you are not a musician. You have put your name and company to shame by writing such a blasphemous article. I once respected your magazine and the edgy city it represented, and tonight I spit on you and your beloved techno music. You have deeply offended me, my friends and any musician who knows what the fuck they are doing.

"Techno is not music and does not require any skill or musicianship to make. ... You are a load of shit, as are the thousands of dumb-witted humans who think electronic buzzing is art. Your ears are wasted flesh, because even if you didn't have them you could still enjoy your drum and bass to the same revolting extent as you do now, if you even know what enjoyment is. Why don't you take a listen to some real musicians like the ones you have slandered and realize how wrong and stupid you are.

"I am appalled that this biased piece of shit was published. You had no right to voice your sorry and untrue opinion.

"P.S. Please write back. I would love to hear your terrible rebuttal, you cock-smoking fuck face. Go eat a bag of dicks."

Hey, at least she said "please."

You Write, We Read

Please send letters to Comments, L.A. Weekly, 3861 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230; or to ReadersWrite@laweekly.com. Full name and contact info preferred.

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