I found Larry Gross' "Reefer Madness" column interesting but not very surprising (issue of Aug. 23). In the time I spent in your city, I found the thinking very backwards when it comes to race -- you're almost a Southern state -- and when it comes to culture. Having strict reefer laws doesn't surprise me at all.
I'm a woman in my early thirties, single, a professional, work 50-60 hours a week, make good money and smoke reefer every day of my life. If I were still in your city, if I got caught smoking a joint walking down the sidewalk like your friend did and if my good looks couldn't talk the cop out of it, I would probably be in jail.
Gross makes the point that it's backwards and silly, and of course he's right. I'm not a threat to anybody. People in California know that; people in Ohio don't. The Midwest is uptight, and I'm glad I'm gone.
I've read Gross' columns for quite a while now, and he seems to have the pulse of what's going on. I can't imagine people in your city even responding to this column if they smoke pot -- no one wants to go to jail, after all. I'm sure the Cincinnati Police Department could find an easy bust just reading letters sent to CityBeat, but they can't get at me.
-- Alexis Cox, Los Angeles
Pot Vs. Liquor
What a pleasure it is to see some balls back in the front pages of CityBeat ("Reefer Madness," issue of Aug.
23). Larry Gross seems to have the ability to point out issues in this city that should be no-brainers to the people who run it. His recent "Trashin' the 'Nati" column (issue of Aug. 9) was on the money, and so is his column about Cincinnati's restrictive marijuana laws.
Of course it's ridiculous to put someone in jail for a small amount of grass. How "Cincinnatish" indeed.
I'm a professional working and living downtown. After work, I watch some of my co-workers go into the local bars for their cocktail hour and I think how unfair it is for me to have to go home and smoke my weed in private. I often think about smoking it openly, but I don't want to get busted and, in turn, lose my job.
If I did get arrested, who does city council think they're protecting society from? I'm a middle-aged man who would rather smoke pot than drink, so I'm a criminal.
I know pot laws are screwed up all over the country, but let Cincinnati take it to the extreme. This city is so good at that. Once I save some money, I'll be gone.
-- Name withheld by request
War on Drugs Is Genocide
Using marijuana to make a point about the war on drugs ("Reefer Madness," issue of Aug. 23) is the same as using eminent domain to make a point about the government's overreaching. It's a matter of perception.
Eminent domain hold-outs are seen as a bit sharper and willing to use their sharpness. Marijuana users are seen as a bit duller and willing to use their dullness. Bottom line is the point is missed by John Q. Public in both cases.
The way to end the war on drugs is to get more African Americans to testify as to how it is genocide. Here's why that isn't happening: African Americans are overwhelmingly Baptist. Baptist preachers, in league with bootleggers, are why we had to endure Prohibition for as long as we did.
Bottom line is the war on drugs really is genocide, but African-American Baptist preachers are unable to perceive it, just as Japanese cannot hear the difference between "r" and "w."
-- David E. Gallaher, Over-the-Rhine
Don't Forget the State Elections
Kudos to John Fox and to CityBeat for your political coverage ("Electing to Cover Politics," issue of Aug. 23). It's a breath of fresh air in this restrictive environment we call Cincinnati.
I look forward to your coverage this year especially, as the winds of change build strength. But I would urge you not to overlook the races for the Ohio Legislature amongst all the other interesting things going on.
In this area, the race between Connie Pillich and incumbent Jim Raussen (28th House District) looks especially interesting. Raussen, voters will recall, was reprimanded along with Jean Schmidt for failing to report freebies from lobbyists in the not-too-distant past. At the moment, much like Schmidt, he's claiming endorsements he does not have.
The era of Coingate, of "pay to play," of fear-based politics and of backward thinking in Columbus needs to end. This year the cards are really on the table, and Ohio's future depends on it.
It would be a shame if state legislative races faded into the shadows cast by the larger races we will all hear so much about.
-- Caleb Faux, Northside