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DEA should leave us alone

Washington has no business targeting legal activities in the states

The Supreme Court stunned many observers Tuesday when it let stand an appeals court ruling that said the federal government cannot punish doctors for discussing medical marijuana with their patients.

The Justice Department should get over the shock, wake up and smell the coffee and leave Oregon and other medical-marijuana states alone.

Based on the department's record so far, however, we have little confidence that it will. Earlier this month, Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided the home of a Lebanon man who grows marijuana for himself, his mother and five other ill people for whom he is a caregiver.

Oregon law allows caregivers to cultivate the drug for patients who hold state-issued medical marijuana cards. The state's voters approved the law, making Oregon one of nine states to allow medical use of marijuana.

But federal drug authorities won't accept that. Federal law recognizes no medical use for marijuana, and the DEA classifies it as a Schedule — narcotic ' the same as heroin and crack cocaine.

— The DEA has mounted what is clearly a campaign of intimidation against users of medical marijuana in states that have legalized it. In California, agents have raided cannabis clubs that distribute the drug to patients, doing so even against the wishes of local police agencies. In Oregon, where the law allows cultivation, raids have targeted growers and have seized their crops even when they were complying with state law.

This needs to stop.

The Bush administration claims sterling conservative credentials and pays lip service to the Republican values of states' rights and limits on federal authority ' unless states are doing something it doesn't agree with. Now the same high court that put this administration in power has effectively repudiated the government's efforts to trample on the rights of citizens to govern themselves.

But rather than taking the hint, a White House drug policy official said the government will continue its efforts against what he called the marijuana threat.

A threat to whom? Terminally ill marijuana smokers, or federal authority?

Much ado about little

Students, teachers, parents and others who check out RateMyTeachers.com on the Internet shouldn't get too excited if a teacher's rating is good or bad.

The Web site lets students use it to grade their teachers. Some educators feel the site could be used to get back at a teacher who had angered a student. But the ratings posted for Jackson County teachers this week were mostly favorable.

There were, of course, exceptions.

We do hope those operating the Web site are monitoring what is posted there and will reject comments that are libelous or threatening. But beyond that, we urge everyone not to get too worked up over this.

Kids have been rating their teachers as long as there have been teachers. RateMyTeachers.com does little more than take the comments out of the hallways and onto the Internet.

And that's another reason not to take this too seriously. Anyone who believes whatever they read on the Internet had best not take any calls from telemarketers.

So don't worry. Kids can usually figure out who the good and not-so-good teachers are anyway ' regardless of whether they are rated on the Internet.