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Legal cannabis sellers versus illegal weed dealers

When legal weed is purchased and taxes are paid, customers know what they are getting — and they can depend on getting the same quality product again.

“The illegal trade is in this for the immediate return,” writes a Sun-Times reader, “while legal dispensers of cannabis are looking to build a list of long-term customers.”
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Tom Schuba wrote a nice news report in Tuesday’s paper about legal and illegal weed, but it did not address one very large and real consideration. When legal weed is purchased and taxes are paid, customers know what they are getting — and they can depend on getting the same product, along with dependable advice about the product, the next time they go back to the store.

But when weed is purchased illegally from, in Schuba’s description, a “dealer operating in Chicago,” there are at least two nefarious issues:

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1) There is no quality control for the “dork” (the dealer’s word) who is getting ripped off price-wise.

2) And how many times has a dealer told a customer that he’s out of weed, but just happens to have some really nice cocaine, available at an amazing discount for first-timers. Several months later, that cocaine supply might “dry up,” but then the dealer would “just happen” to have some nice heroin.

The illegal trade is in this for the immediate return, while legal dispensers of cannabis are looking to build a list of long-term customers. It is a distinction that deserves some consideration.

Gerald King, Merrionette Park

Dangers of nuclear energy

As Illinois legislators get ready to vote on an energy bill this week, which includes another huge bailout for Exelon’s nuclear power plants, I see that a nuclear accident with a release of radiation appears to be unfolding in China, that the 35-year-old Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine is presenting renewed concerns about the melted fuel’s potential to react and create another form of disaster, and that Japan is preparing to dump radioactive water into the ocean from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

To top it off, we in Illinois are all watching the plume from a chemical plant fire work its way south from Rockton to Rockford. The evacuations and concerns people have about being exposed to the plume of burnt chemicals pales in comparison to what a nuclear accident would look like in Illinois. The plume from a nuclear accident is invisible and leaves behind a permanent evacuation zone.

But even with all this, legislators and others cross their fingers and hope that such accidents won’t happen in Illinois with old nuclear power plants. What could possible go wrong?

Gail Snyder, Homer Glen

Get rid of the Drive

After the 1987 earthquake, San Franciscans woke up and realized that the expressway they had built in earlier “car is king” days, the Embarcadero, was a big mistake. There was no reason to have an expressway separating their beautiful city from their beautiful bay.

So too Chicago. One day, hopefully soon, we will cancel the expressway, Lake Shore Drive, that separates us from our lakefront. We will replace it with “fun” public transportation that can move great masses of people from one world-class attraction to the next. They will ride shoulder-to-shoulder with daily commuters. There will be east/west feeders that bring folks to the lakefront from every neighborhood.

We will create the world’s greatest bike path (“bike the drive” every day) and create more green space. We will build a great public plaza that stretches for miles and attracts visitors from all corners of the globe.

And when we do all this, I will be delighted if we decide to call it the DuSable.

But — and here is my fear — renaming the existing Lake Shore Drive for Jean Baptiste Point DuSable could make it that much harder to reimagine, repurpose and replace the Drive. The folks leading the renaming campaign should “make no little plans” and work toward presenting a “DuSable of the future” that stirs the imagination for the next 100 years.

Carmen D. Caruso, the Loop

Manchin reflects West Virginia

I read Jesse Jackson’s Tuesday column about Sen. Joe Manchin with great amusement. Jackson claims Manchin is “under immense pressure” from the Koch Brothers and other right wing groups to stand up against the Biden administration.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Manchin is beholden to only one group — the voters of West Virginia. The state is generally conservative, but voters there keep re-electing the Democratic senator precisely because they believe he thinks in a bipartisan and fair way.

Tony LaMantia, Logan Square