I’ve got a few suggestions for him: 1. There are probably a lot more things, as a House representative, that he needs to be concerned about. This isn’t one of them.

2. If he has a problem with the play, then don’t go see it.

3. Someone might let him know that OKC Ballet is also doing The Nutcracker. We can always count on the Gazette to show us the ignorant and uneducated Bible-thumping hypocrites that “think” they are speaking for the entire state of Oklahoma. I’m very glad to say that I believe they are becoming less and less the majority and more and more the laughingstock.

— Joe Gatz

Marijuana story didn’t blow smoke
In response to your cover story, “Budding Prospects” (News, Oct. 30), I want to applaud the Gazette and Tim Farley for publicly addressing a very relevant and important topic for Oklahoma.

Human incarceration as an economic model in a state rich in resources, talent and industry is shameful and so thirdworld. Oklahoma has become a target of world observation in the area of prison population statistics in general, and especially the incarceration of women. “Nonviolent drug offenders” is the phrase that is dominant when Oklahoma is referenced in the discussion of prison populations and sentencing in Oklahoma.

I am a taxpayer and one of the 70 percent who believes it is certainly time for marijuana reform, both medical and recreational, and the penalties surrounding both. The private prison industry is secretive, vast, wealthy and powerful. When it comes election time, they are major campaign donors to politicians who then become obligated to help keep the prisons full for investor profits. Could it be that many politicians, both current and former, along with judges and lawyers, personally profit from a prison system that should never have been privatized?

Do the math. Approximately $30,000 per inmate, per year, is spent of your tax dollars to support this private prison system. Your tax dollars that could be spent for education, roads, infrastructure, public transportation, etc., are spent for the warehousing of nonviolent, low-level drug offenders.

Other states have seen the reality of continuing the “War on Drugs” and have decided to redirect their economic priorities toward more beneficial uses of their tax dollars and away from a relatively harmless plant that no one has ever overdosed on and has vast potential to be a great economic model with hemp, medical marijuana and the surrounding industries.

It appears our current governor and the Oklahoma government in general have no incentive to change the laws surrounding marijuana and subsequent prison reform. Perhaps it is time to put this subject to a statewide vote and let the people decide how they want their tax dollars spent to better improve life in Oklahoma.

— Ron Ferrell

Correction: In a Nov. 13 issue of Oklahoma Gazette, the commentary was written by Karen Davis, president of Woven.

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Joe Gatz

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