Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | APRIL 20, 2015 5:00 AM

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Time for pot law reform

Did you know there have been no known marijuana overdoses in medical history?

Cigarettes, alcohol, and prescription drugs kill far more Americans each year. So do pet dogs, swimming pools, and automobiles.

Those things all remain legal, yet marijuana and our justice system ruin thousands of young people’s lives each year.

Today is known as 4/20, the pot smokers’ holiday. Millions of Americans will light up today, and precisely zero of them will suffer serious health consequences because of it. It’s past time for Iowa to do away with prohibition of the harmless cannabis plant.

Our government manufactures the gravest consequences of marijuana use. A drug-related charge sets off a chain of dire events for far too many Americans each day.

First, you’re put in a jail cell, and the cops’ version of the story becomes a public record for your family, news organizations, and anyone on the Internet to see. Hopefully, you can afford to bond out, but you’ll still be faced with months of legal proceedings and exorbitant fees from lawyers and the state government.

If you’re eventually convicted or coaxed into a plea deal, the incident could plague you for life. A 2010 Pew Charitable Trust study showed incarceration permanently curbs a person’s earning potential, dragging down annual earnings by as much as 40 percent.

Recent years have given us some promising signs of reform. About half of the states now have medical cannabis programs and a few places have even legalized recreational marijuana. But that’s not enough — just one person being thrown in a cage for a victimless crime is one too many.

In honor of 4/20, here are three things you can do to help:

• Contact local law enforcement. Cops do not have to enforce marijuana possession laws. Tell your police chief and your sheriff that nonviolent drug users do not belong behind bars.

• Call your lawmaker. Iowa legislators are considering bills this year to expand the state’s medical cannabis law and to reclassify marijuana possession offenses. These are good first steps toward reasonable reform, but they won’t pass unless lawmakers hear from you.

• Vet presidential candidates. The Obama administration has taken a harsh stance against marijuana, ordering more medical dispensary raids than the Bush administration. Our next president should let states manage this issue on their own — tell would-be presidents that as they stump for the Iowa caucuses.

Minds are changing, and the momentum is on our side. About half of Iowans support legalizing recreational marijuana, according to a recent Des Moines Register survey. With your help, real reform is possible.

Mike Corrie
chapter president, UI Young Americans for Liberty

Join the slow-food movement

The college lifestyle is a whirlwind mix of school, friends, work, and extracurricular activities. As students we are moving at a thousand mph trying to keep up with life.  Unfortunately, somewhere along the line we forgot how to properly enjoy a meal.

More often than not, students are throwing something in the microwave and taking it to go. Food has been reduced to simply being fuel for our bodies and nothing more. We have hit a low with food, it’s time we made slow food a part of our lives.

Slow food is a movement that encourages people to slow down and take the time to prepare and enjoy a healthy meal. I know that as college students we are strapped for time and living off tight budgets. Preparing our own meals probably sounds like a financial and time burden that is not worth it. Trust me, slow food is feasible and beneficial. Simply, take an hour a day to prepare and enjoy a healthy meal with good friends or family.

Slow food will help improve your health and relationships and reduce stress.  Preparing home-cooked meals minimizes the amount of unhealthy fast food that students often overload their bodies with. Sharing a meal also brings people together like nothing else, but only when done properly. Call over some friends and socialize during this slow food process, make new friends and catch up with old friends. This is also a time to forget about homework and obligations. Leave your stress where you dropped your backpack and just live in the moment for an hour. Enjoy the good food and good company.

I hope you will skip the freaky fast Jimmy John’s delivery and fire up the grill with friends and enjoy some slow food.

Joey Spaniol

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