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Readers React

No sympathy for federal prosecutor in marijuana case

To the editor: I really sympathized with the Department of Justice lawyer profiled in your article about a recent federal medical marijuana prosecution. ("Pot's popularity, state law create trying times for U.S. prosecutor," July 9)

Sure, it may be somewhat "trying times" for the defendant, "a father of two young children" who "faces about 24 years in prison without the possibility of parole" for selling marijuana legally under state law. But the person most deserving of our sympathy is clearly the prosecutor, a "self-described 'nice Jewish girl' from a liberal family in Connecticut" who "has no grievance with" marijuana or those who use it and isn't against legalization, but nonetheless feels duty-bound to prosecute anyone who violates the conflicting federal law and demand a minimum 10-year sentence — no matter how morally questionable or unpopular that law may be.

Thank goodness we repealed the Fugitive Slave Acts.

Alexandra W. Yates, Los Angeles

The writer is a deputy federal public defender for the Central District of California. The opinions expressed in this letter are her own.


To the editor: There is only one important point to make when it comes to marijuana: There is no logical legal rationale for harassing, arresting or jailing anyone for possessing, growing, buying or selling marijuana, other than those people who provide it to minors.

Marijuana is no worse than alcohol or tobacco, and laws regulating these substances should be equal. That Americans can smoke tobacco and drink alcohol with few legal consequences, while those who use or sell pot risk prison terms, job loss and confiscation of property, is insanity.

And let's not forget that full legalization would increase the potential for medical benefits and tax revenues, let alone the savings from defunding the useless war on drugs.

As for the prosecutor profiled in the article, I have absolutely no sympathy for her cause.

Mark Johnson, Vista

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