Getting an MMJ Card Should Be as Easy as Getting a Handicap-Parking Placard

Regarding J.M. Smith's "Examining the Exam" (Medical MJ, Nov. 10): Getting a medical-marijuana card should be no more difficult than obtaining a handicap-parking placard.

I received my handicap-parking placard in about two minutes (after waiting about 20 minutes for my number to be called). I just handed the clerk the form filled out by my doctor, and two minutes later, I received my handicap-parking placard. No money was requested. My placard expires in five years.

On the other hand, getting a medical-marijuana card was a major hassle and expensive. I had to drive 35 miles and pay $50 for an outfit to take my photo for the ID badge, and then pay the state of Arizona $150 for the privilege of using a natural herb that has never killed anyone in the 5,000-year history of its use. This privilege expires in one year, and I'll need to pay another $150 to renew my medical- marijuana card.

Shouldn't adult citizens be able to self-medicate with natural herbs without seeking permission from the state?

Kirk Muse

Two 'Weekly' Features Said It All About Arizona Politics

Thanks to the layout folks who placed a spot-on piece about educational inequality in Tucson (Guest Commentary, Nov. 10) right next to a diatribe against the "bored morons" of Occupy Tucson ("Claim: 'Occupy' Protesters Are Mostly 'Bored Morons Who Want Handouts,'" Mailbag, Nov. 10).

This layout gave us the full spectrum of Arizona political reality. On the one side, we read a thoughtful and insightful piece about the so-called educational "achievement gap" that everyone is afraid to actually link to poverty. On the other side, we were treated to a screed that threw multiple insults at the Occupy protesters who have actually noticed that our enormous income inequality leads to social inequality and makes a mockery of the principles this country was supposedly built on. And not only have they noticed this, but they actually protest it, something that really gets the letter-writer's goat. While on the one side, each claim is backed up by the writers' actual experiences as a substitute teacher, on the other, each claim is completely unsubstantiated. On the one side, a solution was offered, while on the other, the letter just ended in vitriolic complaints. I felt like I got a complete tour of weirdo Arizona politics.

Whether or not the letter and the Guest Commentary were consciously set next to each other, Page 8 of the Tucson Weekly said it all!

Betts Putnam-Hidalgo

Don't Paint 'Occupy' Participants With a Broad Brush

I am writing in response to Lorin Wainwood's letter concerning the Occupy movement.

Like so many of the people who have a negative and hostile opinion of the movement, Wainwood is sadly misguided and misinformed. The movement is not about communism, tearing down the system or "bored morons who want handouts." Too many people rely on what they hear from the media instead of actually going down to the protest and talking to the diverse group of people involved.

If Lorin Wainwood had bothered to check out the protest and get information first-hand, he would have found that the protesters are a vastly varied group who are coming together to exercise their right to free speech. The most common objective of the movement is to hold the 1 percent of the people who control the wealth accountable for the injustices perpetrated against hard-working members of society.

One example of these very real injustices is outlined in the Feb. 25, 2010, Tucson Weekly article "Getting the Ax." The article is about 20-year Target employees who were forced out in favor of newer, lesser-paid employees. If you pay attention, you'll see that this is not an isolated incident, but a trend in our country.

Because the movement is open to the diversity of the 99 percent, you're going to get anarchists, radicals and people who just seem crazy. These people, as well as those who seem more moderate, are all welcome, because this is an inclusive movement. However, if Wainwood took the time to go down to the park and listen in on the general assembly, he'd find that decisions are made by consensus, and all people who want to participate are welcome.

Mr. Wainwood, if you open your mind and use it to assess the movement, you might realize that you are, in fact, part of the 99 percent, too.

Heather M. Lorenz

City Ballot Is No Longer a Secret Ballot

My objection to the mail-in/hand-delivery system in Tucson's Nov. 8 election is that it is not a secret ballot—and is hence a denial of our civil rights (Danehy, Nov. 3).

When I protested to city officials on Election Day that the denial of the option to slide my ballot individually into a chute, separately from my signature, means this was not a secret ballot, they assured me: "Thousands at a time are run through the machines, so no one has time to read individual signatures."

My objection is that someone opens those envelopes before they get to the machine, and has the opportunity to compare the ballot and the voter's signature.

If my deduction is erroneous, perhaps the Tucson Weekly could spearhead classes offered by the Pima County Elections Department to demonstrate how the write-in signature comparisons preserve our anonymity, because I, for one, do not care to rely on party representatives to oversee the process.

Diane Rau

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