I WANT TO THANK MATT Labash for coming out to National Marijuana Day (“Pot Roast,” The District Line, 4/7). It is good to know that there are journalists who remember Alexander Cockburn’s First Law of Journalism: “to confirm existing prejudice, rather than contradict it.”

However, Labash is naive if he actually believes his statement that “The Man has lost a step.” With the Clinton administration reclassifying established religions as “cults,” prosecutors seeking the death penalty for marijuana dealers, and alleged marijuana users having their assets seized before trial, it is clear to me that The Man is as vigilant as ever, if not more so.

I will grant the possibility that The Man has lost a step, but I would argue that he wishes us to think he has, in order to lull people into letting down their guard. The latter is a common military strategy, and since the war on drugs is viewed by the drug czar and the Drug Enforcement Agency as a criminal problem of epidemic proportions, often requiring the involvement of the National Guard and various branches of the armed forces, it is a military mind-set that we are dealing with.

Fourth of July Hemp Coalition, Rockville, Md.