Following this "Guest Commentary" is my letter to the Daily
Targum (not to be confused with the Weekly Targum, circulation rival with TIME
Yes, I am reduced to writing letters to college newspapers, but after
reading Mr. Teleposky's piece, you will see how difficult it is to resist.
Fri, 8 Oct 1999
Daily Targum of Rutgers University
Targum Note: Chris Teleposky is a Livingston College senior majoring in administration
LEGALIZE MARIJUANA? NO WAY!
Recently, there has been a flurry of articles regarding the legalization
illicit drugs, especially regarding marijuana. This no doubt coincides with
the current views accepted by most of the college population. The problem I
have with these groups is that most of the arguments they use in regard to
marijuana legalization are trivial and hold no credibility whatsoever, but
end up commanding so much respect among so many people. The fact is that
many of these people get their information from popular misconceptions and
hearsay. Most people don't even know that out of the three basic
classifications of drugs (i.e. stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens) that
marijuana is a hallucinogen.
Among some of the popular arguments from proponents of legalization is the
relation to alcohol and how alcohol is a bigger problem than marijuana.
Now, I agree that there is a problem with alcohol in this country, but what
does that have to do with the question at hand? Absolutely nothing. When
asked about this relation, Dr. Franz Winkler stated, "An illness does not
become more attractive by a statement that another one is just as bad."
This comparison used by advocates of legalization is comparable to telling
a terminally ill cancer patient that AIDS is just as bad. Do you think that
makes them feel any more comfortable with what they have?
Now, I'm a fair person and I feel that this comparison between
and alcohol should be discussed in order to clarify why the two drugs
cannot be compared. By comparing the two of these drugs you are literally
comparing apples to oranges. First, if you examine the metabolism rates of
each of the drugs you will find a profound difference. By metabolism rate I
mean the time it takes for the body to get rid of the drug. The human body
can rid itself of alcohol at the rate of 0.015 percent an hour. That means
that if you have a blood alcohol level of 0.06, which is still under the
legal limit, it will take you four hours to get rid of all the alcohol.
Marijuana, on the other hand, can be detected within the body forty-five
days after use and can be found in brain tissue up to six months after use.
An another criterion that must be looked at is the addiction rates of the
two drugs. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol has a 10 percent addiction
rate. Marijuana has an addiction rate of 26 percent. This means that two
and half times more people become addicted to marijuana than alcohol.
There are some smaller points I would like to touch on regarding
the arguments used by groups such as NORML. They state that if the drug was
made legal the government could regulate its manufacture and distribution,
thus rendering everything OK. The problem is that government regulation
does not mean a whole hill of beans to anything. For example, alcohol is
government regulated and this country has a big problem with that. I'm
surprised that these activist groups do not agree with me on this. I mean
weren't they the ones who first used the alcohol argument to justify
legalization stating that it was a bigger problem than marijuana?
Marijuana is illegal for a reason. It was made illegal a long time
because of persistent efforts from countries such as India and Egypt to do
so because of the wide spread health and social problems this drug caused
within their societies. It is illegal because it is addictive. It is
illegal because of the physiological harm it causes to the body. Smoking
one "joint" is equivalent to 20 tobacco cigarettes in damage to your
It causes profound brain deformities after prolonged use. It depresses your
body's ability to reject poisons, which becomes extremely dangerous when
taken with large amounts of alcohol. It greatly impairs motor skills and
dexterity. The drug increases your heart rate. It also causes dysfunction
with your body's immune system. The list can go on and on.
Medical technology in the 70s could only detect marijuana in the
days after use. Today it can be found 45 days after use. Medical technology
will only get better and more will be learned about this drug. Marijuana
will never, ever be legal.
Dear Distinguished Editors of the Daily Targum,
One cannot help but comment on the journalistic efforts of one Chris
Teleposky, of the eminent Teleposkys of Edison, New Jersey, who graced your
October 8, 1999, issue with more than a little piece of his mind by way of his
Guest Commentary, “LEGALIZE MARIJUANA? NO WAY!” One is, of course, tempted
to quote the immortal Wayne Campbell—surely Mr. Teleposky’s intellectual
equal—by simply responding, “WAY!” and leave it at that. But, no. When
Mr. Teleposky takes it upon himself to quote the noted man of science, Dr.
Franz Winkler, whomever he may be, one must respond at length, although not
necessarily not in depth.
The Daily Targum informs us that “Chris Teleposky is a Livingston
College senior majoring in administration of justice.” Indeed. He is
obviously not majoring in logic, reason, science, history, or English
composition. “Administration of justice” is about right. His command of
grammar and syntax, with a little work, is just about up to the arduous
literary task of filling out police reports. In fact, one suspects Mr.
Teleposky has a job awaiting him at the New London, Connecticut Police
Department, those stellar administrators of justice who refuse to hire anyone
with an IQ over 90.
But I digress. The subject is “Marijuana Legalization? Way! or No
Way!” When faced with the argument from the evil legalizers that if
alcohol—more harmful than marijuana—is legal, then marijuana should be
legal, too, Mr. Teleposky responds: “When asked about this relation, Dr.
Franz Winkler stated, ‘An illness does not become more attractive by a
statement that another one is just as bad.’” Indeed. But for how long has
the consumption of alcohol been considered an “illness”? And just who the
hell—you will pardon my French—is Dr. Franz Winkler? A faculty search
shows no such Dr. Winkler at Livingston College, or at all of Rutgers
University, for that matter. An Internet search reveals only an Austrian Dr.
Franz Winkler, an authority on algorithmic algebraic geometry, polynomial
system solving, and symbolic geometric commutation. An expert on alcohol and
marijuana comparisons? I think not.
But enough quibbling over experts. I cannot pretend for a moment
that Mr. Teleposky and I disagree on everything. When, for example, he points
out in his inimitable style "that government regulation does not mean a
whole hill of beans to anything," well, amen to that! Although I must
admit it is an unorthodox observation coming from one who plans to devote his
life to the administration of justice. And when Mr. Teleposky informs us that
marijuana “is illegal because of the physiological harm it causes to the
body. Smoking one ‘joint’ is equivalent to 20 tobacco cigarettes in damage
to your lungs,” it surely makes me want to imprison each and every one of
the 61 million cigarette smokers in this country for their own damn good.
Administration of justice, ho!
And how could I pretend that I learned nothing from Mr.
Teleposky’s Guest Commentary? For example, I discovered that marijuana and
alcohol have “metabolism rates.” Surely, this must mean these drugs are
alive, as only living things have “metabolism rates,” no? And how
astonishing to learn that marijuana has "an addiction rate of 26
percent." Wherever did this information sally forth? Fortunately, Mr.
Teleposky doesn't clutter up his commentary with references or citations. How
considerate of him!
Oh, but let us not forget history, Teleposky style. Marijuana, we
are informed, “was made illegal a long time ago because of persistent
efforts from countries such as India and Egypt to do so because of the wide
spread health and social problems this drug caused within their
societies." Ah, yes, indeed: our legal system is, of course, grateful to
the "persistent efforts" of India and Egypt. In fact, isn't our
Constitution based on Indian and Egyptian Common Law? I think it is.
How proud Livingston College must be to turn out such prize
administrators of justice as Christopher Teleposky! It would be a lot more fun
to read the arduous prose of such thinkers if only they didn't control the
law, and if only one person in this country wasn't arrested for a marijuana
offense and a human life destroyed every 39 seconds with such logic and