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T here really ought to be more public debate about legalizing marijuana. Unfortunately, too many people still have a Reefer Madness attitude towards pot for the subject to get any serious consideration. It's anathema to politicians, who, understandably, don't want to be perceived as promoting drug use; and it doesn't help that the most outspoken proponents of legalization tend to be hippy-dippy types who inadvertantly hurt their own cause. Still, the facts remain: Pot will always find an underground market, nobody dies from it (unlike alcohol), fighting pot is a waste of law-enforcement energy and prison space, and hush-hush stigmatization only keeps young people ignorant about its use and abuse -- thereby encouraging them to toke up in rebellion.

I   submit this little editorial as an introduction to The Straight Dope, though it's not about marijuana but its cousin, hemp. Cultivated and used by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, hemp comes from the same plant species but must be grown in a different manner. According to the story, its fibers can be used for everything from paper and clothing to rope and boat sails, and it's quite inexpensive. Yet hemp remains illegal, and like Jimmy Carter avoiding Billy, advocates are finding they must distance themselves from hemp's relative to get taken seriously.

A mong the other Weekly Wire articles I'd like to point out is this hilarious piece about the sentiment market, which, thanks to widespread illiteracy and sub-literacy, is larger than you'd expect. Sentiments you can pay for range from the sweetly endearing to the downright bizarre.... Speaking of sweetly endearing, this Home Brood column from Margaret Renkl is the most touching piece about miscarriages I've ever read; and speaking of bizarre, somebody needs to tell the author of Time Zoned that it's time to get with the program, buddy. What, are ya stoned or somethin?

Opinion
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Time Zoned
John Bridges didn't ask for an extra hour of darkness, so knock it off with this Daylight Savings Time nonsense. [7]
John Bridges

Volume I, Issue 22
November 3 - November 10, 1997

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The Straight Dope
Hemp has been touted as the "miracle fiber" of our age, but its relationship to pot makes its cultivation illegal in the U.S. Mike Gibson investigates the relationship between the two plants in this controversy. [2]
Mike Gibson

Passion By Proxy
The same inventive nation that brought us the EZ-CD CD opener offers a range of reasonably priced professional writers trained to express your feelings. [3]
Ellen Barry

Coming Out In Salem
Utah High School volleyball coach learned that coming out in ultra-conservative Utah County can be dicey. [4]
Christopher Smart

What the Bears Know
Are we living in the end times? After surveying cocktail chatter and the week's market disasters, Bruce Dobie is worried. [5]
Bruce Dobie

Questions in the Air
In response to a Scene article, a U.S. congressman opens an investigation about potential safety hazards in DC-9 aircraft. [6]
Willy Stern


Columns
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Memorial Days
Margaret Renkl remembers the children who arrived in this world safely and the ones who didn't. [8]
Margaret Renkl

Light My Fire
Come on, Walter, light my fire. [9]
Walter Jowers

Odds & Ends
Timed-release news capsules from the flipside. [10]
Devin D. O'Leary


Now What?
Can't get enough news? You're in luck -- more news is created every day. Our Now What? page offers a plethora of recommended links to help keep you living in the present. [11]

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