Pubdate: Tue, 20 Jun 2000
Date: 06/20/2000
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Author: Diana LaRose

What confuses young people is not the proposed decriminalization of
marijuana, but the arbitrary way we classify substances as legal or
illegal, hazardous or safe. We label marijuana "dangerous" while far
more toxic drugs are perfectly lawful. Just a drop of nicotine in an
adult's bloodstream can kill, and smoking poses well-known health
risks. Alcohol destroys countless lives. Many narcotics and sedatives
available through the pharmacy are more addictive than street drugs.

A sensible policy is one that tells the truth about a substance's
health risks, allows people to make informed choices - and reserves
prisons for those who commit actual crimes, not those who occasionally
choose to take in their recreational substances through a joint
instead of a martini glass.

Diana LaRose,