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Call & Response

Shelton handles a heckler

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I’ve written almost  70 of these columns so far, and up until now, the response has been entirely positive. That’s hardly surprising, given that Amendment 4 passed by a nearly three-to-one margin in each of the four counties in which Folio Weekly is distributed. Lo and behold, however, we did get a bit of shade thrown our way recently, and that is rare enough to be noteworthy.

An anonymous reader read my Dec. 26 column, written in remembrance of marijuana martyr Peter McWilliams, and was moved to inveigh. “I couldn’t help but notice this article’s placement directly on top of a medical marijuana card for-profit enterprise,” he begins. (Pro tip: Print media is funded mainly through advertising, and sometimes businesses like to advertise in the vicinity of content that relates to their business. This is nothing new.) Our critic then spends a whole paragraph dancing around his question, which is quite reasonable: “Has Mr. Hull ever been a recreational user of marijuana sourced through non-legal means?”

The answer is–wait for it–YAAAAS. I have token on pots several times over the years, as recently as tomorrow.

“Readers deserve to know the answer so they can judge whether Mr. Hull’s advocacy of medical marijuana is only for public health reasons or whether his advocacy is really designed as a Trojan horse for full legalization.”

Well, after 65 weekly columns, my position is perfectly clear. My advocacy for medical marijuana is about public health, but my advocacy for full legalization is about national security and human rights. To me, they are essentially separate issues, though of course in terms of policy, the “Trojan horse” concept is spot-on.

He does raise a good point: “If you are a recreational user, then it would be OK for an informed reader to doubt the legitimacy of your advocacy for medical marijuana.”
Well, sure. Informed or not, the reader is always entitled to doubt my legitimacy, just as I doubt this guy’s legitimacy for putting two spaces after a period.

The reasons he cites are interesting, but also silly. “First, you may personally be using this advocacy to gain access to medical marijuana for your own recreational use. There are many unscrupulous physicians who will consent to a medical marijuana card for anyone. Just look at the ads in Folio Weekly. Second, as a recreational user you may believe that legal medical marijuana is simply a first step in the path to full legalization.”

This is true, to an extent. It is a first step toward full legalization, and that is something that I–along with the majority of Americans–desire. But the idea that recreational users are exploiting the medical system in this manner betrays total ignorance of both the system and the supply. We’re talking about low-THC cannabis derivatives here, not Fentanyl.

He then asks the question again, this time with an air of impatience, as if he didn’t understand that I couldn’t answer his question until he actually sent the email. (My ability to read the minds of strangers and respond via telepathy is extremely limited, almost nonexistent.) He asks yet again at the close of his letter. I assume the writer to be male, because of the smug, self-important tone of his writing (which I, as a male myself, am quite familiar with, as readers will attest). It’s hard to imagine anyone, on vacation in Florida during the holidays, taking so much of their precious time to call out a writer on such an innocuous subject, especially given that they probably won’t even be around to read my response. I think this guy might have other issues going on. If so, I have something that might help: medical marijuana.

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