The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 23, 1999, Page 4, Image 4

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Erin Gibson
Cliff Hicks
Nancy Christensen
Brad Davis
Sam McKewon
Jeff Randall
Bret Schulte
Just say
! War on drugs needs
to come to an end
Through decades including the “Reefer
Madness” scare, the government loudly
claimed marijuana had no medical benefit.
Politicos leading the nation’s drug war
claimed it was a “gateway drug” that lead to
using harder drugs such as heroin and
cocaine. Crushing marijuana use was essen
tial to winning the war on drugs.
Then, last week, the Independent
Institute of Medicine released a study that
found marijuana has legitimate medical
uses, and it’s one of the best treatments for
some symptoms of people suffering from
cancer, AIDS and other debilitating dis
eases. It relieves pain, prevents nausea and
increases appetite, which can prevent or
slow wasting in terminally ill patients.
Then, the claim that marijuana was a
gateway drug drifted away. The study reject
ed that claim and didn’t find the drug to be
particularly addictive. Even in smoked
form, the study found the drug’s medical
benefits for terminally ill patients can out
weigh the side effects of inhaling toxins.
The sounds of chins dropping in
Washington echoed. This study wasn’t car
ried out by the Jerry Garcia society; the
IOM is a respected medical group, and its
findings couldn’t be summarily dismissed.
IOM also suggested developing an
inhalant containing THC, the active chemi
cal in marijuana. It’s an idea that could allow
us to sidestep the base issue: Should smok
ing marijuana be nationally legalized for
medical treatment?
We think so. But marijuana’s social stig
ma prevents the nation from seriously eval
uating this question. As politicians hit us
again and again with the necessity of The
War On Drugs, we hear that marijuana is a
bad drug for everyone - even people in pain.
Their message still sticks, even now that
their entire war on drugs seems to be a los
ing one. Studies show crime rises after
major drug busts, because addicts have to
steal more to support their habit when prices
spike because of low supply. Last week,
allegations arose that the U.S. government
pulled out of drug investigations in Mexico
when it appeared a Mexican government
officer could be leading the drug ring. And
don’t forget the millions of minority men
and women dumped into prisons, rotting
with taxpayer dollars under mandatory sen
tencing laws for drug possession.
The IOM study, coupled with the cur
rent state of the drug war, points to one fact:
America must take a long, hard look at its
war on drugs and reevaluate its purpose,
leadership and effectiveness. Federal legal
ization of prescription marijuana should be
a first step in any overhaul.
Instead, we have federal drug gurus, in
typical form, sitting on their hands, saying,
‘^Interesting study. We’ll look into it,” while
their agents keep fighting a losing war on
the streets and dying people wait in pain.
Editorial Policy
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of
the Spring 1999 Daily Nebraskan. They
do not necessarily reflect the views of the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its
employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
A column is solely the opinion of its author.
The Board of Regents serves as publisher
of the Daily Nebraskan; policy is set by
the Daily Nebraskan Editorial Board. Trie
* UNL Publications Board, established by
the regents, supervises the production
of the paper. According to policy set by
the regents, responsibility for the editorial
content of the newspaper lies solely in
the hands of its student employees.
» m mm m m. m -am. a* m m m m **
Letter Psllcy
The Daily Nebraskan welcomes brief
letters to the editor and guest columns,
but does not guarantee their publication.
The Daily Nebraskan retains the right to
edit or reject any material submitted.
Submitted material becomes property of
the Daily Nebraskan and cannot be
returned. Anonymous submissions will
not be published. Those who submit
letters must identify themselves by name,
year in school, major and/or group
affiliation, if any.
Submit material to: Daily Nebraskan, 34
Nebraska Union, 1400 R St. Lincoln,
NE. 68588-0448. E-mail:
- ^
Flight lesson
Columnist learns much from game of tic-tac-toe
A.L. FORKNER is a junior
news-editorial major and a
Daily Nebraskan columnist.
I hadn’t planned on writing about
Spring Break. Heck, I figured, every
one else will and besides, who cares?
Then I got to Las Vegas.
/ Bear in mind, I’m a gambler at
heart, but I could spend a year in that
city without ever gambling a cent.
No, I’d eat, shop and show myself
into the poor house.
So, I decided I could write a col
umn about the trip after all.
How Las Vegas Changed My
Life, by A.L. Forkner, was the head
line in my mind.
How could I pass on this opportu
nity? Think about the material.
First, there was the airport. Never
before have I seen such a collection
of people. Somewhere, a trailer park
was dark.
Then, there were Marlin and
This lovely couple (he’s a fired
cabbie, she recently moved to Las
Vegas) were ironing out their marital
problems at the booth next to ours at
the Peppermill.
Apparently she suffers from
migraines and thinks he talks about
people behind others’ backs.
He says she should go to a “Head
Doctor” and that his therapist charges
too much.
Of course Las Vegas would make
a great column. It’s a city built on
hopes and dreams.
It’s also a city built on having
those hopes and dreams snatched
away because that third Wild Cherry
wouldn’t drop one more spot.
I really could’ve used that BMW
Let’s look at everything I learned.
I realized a small expensive meal
can be more satisfying than a cheap
I discovered I really do like to
Finally, I learned trams and mov
ing sidewalks are just what this uni
versity needs. I’m lazy.
However, the most important les
son I learned was on the flight home.
I was mad because the only flight
I could get left at 7 a.m.
I was tired because the only flight
I could get was at 7 a.m.
I was also alone, because the ...
Well, you get the idea.
After dealing with the sheep
herding methods used by a certain
shuttle service to Denver, I was in my
seat. I was looking forward to spend
ing the entire flight with my compli
mentary beverage and my live,
acoustic Barenaked Ladies CD.
’Twas not to be.
Instead, the flight attendants
decided to put a little kid that was
flying alone next to me.
Poor little guy looked terrified.
He was clutching a blue, tattered
Doodle Bear and was scrunched
down in his seat like he was trying to
I knew I had a decision to make. I
could continue to stare out the win
dow ffom behind my sunglasses and
tune out me mgni wim music.
Or, I could make a friend.
What the heck, I’ve heard that
CD lots of times.
Dalton is 6 years old and this was
his fust flight. At least that he could
remember, he was just a baby the
first time.
H$. lived in Denver and was on
his way back after visiting his dad in
Las Vegas.
Because of scheduling problems,
he had to fly alone.
Maybe it’s because my first flight
ever was also to Denver when I was
his age. I remember being a bit over
whelmed (but too “grown-up” to say
it) and I was with my mom, dad and
Maybe it was his Winnie the Pooh
No matter, I stowed my CD play
er and leaned over to reassure the lit
tle dude that he’d have fun on take
Dalton’s eyes opened wide when
the pilot fire-walled the throttles.
I pointed out the strip to him as
we climbed out. From his center seat
he could see the buildings that used
to loom over him, now tiny little
boxes on the ground.
The quiet, scared little guy soon
became quite the talker.
First, he wanted to get some stuff
out of his carry-on. When he couldn’t
quite get to it, I helped him with the
bag and the zipper.
He had to get his Cartoon
Network NASCAR hat and a note
book out.
Seeing the notebook gave me an -
idea. At this point I wasn’t quite sure
if I wanted to spend my whole flight
as a baby-sitter or not. Before I could
decide, he had put his notebook away.
That made up my mind. If I didn’t
do something, I’d spend the whole
flight helping him with his bag.
So I reached into my briefcase
and took out my ever-present
reporter’s notebook. I never go any
where without a notepad. (I hope
you’re reading this, Professor Tuck.)
(And his camera, Tuck. I never
see the Fork without his camera. -
Cliff, helping out any way he can)
I then challenged Dalton to a bat
tle of wits.
Oh, it was a grand battle. The
wizened veteran against the gritty
Final score: 18-4 in favor of
Hey, it was a lot closer than the
score indicates.
I was really having fun, and so
was Dalton. He was so busy concen
trating on the game he barely noticed
his 7-Up or his cookie.
Naturally, I paid close attention to
After tic-tac-toe, we tried a made
up version of Connect Four.
I’m not telling you that score.
When we landed at Denver
(which he enjoyed) he had to stay in
his seat until the flight attendants
helped him off the plane.
When I stood up to leave, he
tugged on my briefcase and gave me
my greatest lesson.
“You’re pretty good, but let me
tell you my trick. First, you put your
circle in die top middle box, then you
go down. If that doesn’t work, try
another trick. That’s how I win.”
If that doesn’t work, try another
trick. How can you argue with that
Dalton Terry, wherever you are in
Denver, thank you. Thank you for
sharing your lesson with me.
If only you had shared your cook*