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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 9, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 49
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Letters

MCDERMOTT'S VIEWS ON MARIJUANA POSSESSION

The following letter was written by Jim McDermott in response to a letter asking about possession of marijuana. Thank you for contacting me about repealing the federal laws prohibiting the possession of marijuana. I appreciate you taking the time to write, and I welcome this opportunity to respond.

I have contacted Representative Barney Frank's office and requested to be added as a co-sponsor of H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011. I share your concern about the problems associated with marijuana in regards to enforcing drug laws, creating a black market for illegal drugs, and punishing drug users who need treatment. Federal law enforcement should concentrate its efforts on measures that truly protect the public, and I do not believe that prosecuting those found in possession of small amounts of marijuana should be a federal priority.

Law enforcement agents are forced to operate under scarce resources and I believe it is irresponsible to spend those resources prosecuting the personal use of marijuana. Far more pressing problems demand attention. I think marijuana use for non-medical reasons is a bad idea, and I would discourage anyone from using it, but I don't believe making it a crime has been a useful or just policy.

If you are interested in following a particular piece of legislation through the legislative process, the website hosted by the Library of Congress at http://thomas.loc.gov is extremely helpful. It provides a wealth of information about legislation under consideration in the current Congress as well as bills introduced in earlier sessions. The site is called Thomas to honor President Thomas Jefferson and his belief in public access to the workings of government.

Again, thank you for contacting me. I welcome your views, and look forward to hearing from you in the future. Jim McDermott



ONE SURVIVOR FEELS 'STRONGER TOGETHER' AT WORLD AIDS DAY


The World AIDS Day Breakfast 'Stronger Together' was held last Thursday at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center here in downtown Seattle. You can also read about the event in the SGN at www.sgn.org/sgnnews39_48/page3.cfm.

The event featured Actress Amanda Bearse from Married with Children as the emcee, also the Seattle mayor and at least four members of the Seattle City Council as well as some noted speakers in the community. You can read about all that in the article, however, I will just add that I found the experience to be a moving one as I was moved almost to tears by the speakers and the visual presentation - I felt a real sense of 'community' being a part of this event.

I was seated at one of the Rosehedge/Multifaithworks tables as I had given my suggested donation to them and was a volunteer there until I returned to work at Macy's this past August. The event allowed me to reconnect with people I have volunteered with at Rosehedge/Multifaithworks, Gay City, and SASGCC, so that was cool.

I also discovered a pleasant surprise: I was published yet again for a second time by the HIV-30 project (www.hiv-30.org). While I had my own story of living with HIV published last summer (www.hiv-30.org/page/5), I had also been asked to write a shorter two-paragraph 'blurb' for publication on hardcopy postcard sized cards as part of a group of stories that were to be presented via the HIV-30 Project at this year's World AIDS Day Breakfast. So yeah, I was pleasantly surprised when I happened to pick up one of the postcards and see that there was my story. I had quickly written this story last August then over time had forgotten about it&.

So that being said, I had a fabulous time last Thursday and the World AIDS Day Breakfast was a good way for me to mark both the 30th anniversary of the identification/naming of HIV/AIDS as well as my own 20 years (HIV-20) of being a person living with the virus.

Mike L.

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