Letter to the editor- Compassion is theme of forum | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Letter to the editor- Compassion is theme of forum

To the editor:

As more states legalize the right for an individual to possess and use marijuana for purposes authorized by a medical doctor, the issue has grown large. It has been tried to the United States Supreme Court. It is being tried in both local media and the El Dorado County Superior Court system symbolized through a 28-year-old South Shore defendant named Matt Macosko; a self-described “medicinal marijuana caregiver.”

Lake Tahoe’s South Shore is without metaphorical borders so it is relevant that California and Nevada voters have said yes to those wishing to use marijuana for medical purposes. The federal government has sent mixed messages. It is now up to the U.S. Congress to eventually decide the issue: Federal law vs. states’ rights.

In the meantime, there reportedly exist a significant number of medicinal marijuana cardholders at the South Shore of Lake Tahoe. Macosko, through his legal travails – (he has been charged with two felonies: Transportation of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to sell) and through the Tahoe Daily Tribune publishing his post office box number and e-mail address – has become the most visible provider of marijuana to individuals who have a legal right to obtain it.

It is heartening to know that the City Council of Sparks recently held a public forum on the issue. Moreover, Nevada’s Department of Agriculture has taken a proactive role in implementing the state’s medicinal marijuana law shortly after it was passed.

The city of South Lake Tahoe has failed to take a leadership role in addressing the conundrum facing a large portion of the citizenry: California says I can, the United States says perhaps I cannot … what do my local officials feel?

In July 1999, I appeared before the South Lake Tahoe City Council to suggest that the councilmembers find a way to sanction a method that would permit qualifying citizens to obtain marijuana for medical purposes.

I like to say the suggestion was met with stony silence.

Henceforth, on Sunday, Sept. 9, Tahoe-Douglas Chamber executive director, Kathleen Farrell, Douglas County Librarian Patty Timmens and I will be hosting the Lake Tahoe Medicinal Marijuana Forum 2001.

As a trio, Kathy, Patty and I have been involved in the planning and execution of special events that have addressed issues that are fundamentally humanitarian. We view the issue at hand, marijuana for medicinal purposes, as nothing short of compassionate humanity.

Our mission statement for the event is, “To establish an atmosphere of support and compassion for those who choose to have the legal right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes at Lake Tahoe.”

We have invited a broad spectrum of local officials (including the City Council) and regional individuals as panelists and they will be announced in a forthcoming press release.

As for Matt Macosko, he has been described on this page as a “hero” by one letter writer. Whatever one’s opinion of Macosko, he did what he did, and continues to do, with the eyes wide knowledge that he could face a loss of his personal freedom (he now faces a possible five-year prison sentence). From my understanding of democracy, his behavior exemplifies the philosophy of personal choice. I would not call him a hero straight up, but I would call him a folk hero; a hero to the folks.

If you would like more information on the Lake Tahoe Medicinal Marijuana Forum 2001, please contact us at (530) 544-6959, or dregisbilar@earthlink.net. There will be no charge for this event.

Don Regis-Bilar

South Lake Tahoe

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