Pubdate: Tue, 01 Oct 2002
Source: Omaha World-Herald (NE)
Copyright: 2002 Omaha World-Herald Company
Author: Eric J. Petersen


Susie Dugan (Sept. 24 Pulse) believes marijuana should remain illegal so 
kids won't use it. This has been the government strategy for decades, and 
what do we have to show for it? Millions of arrests for non-violent 
marijuana offenses. Billions of our tax dollars spent for law enforcement 
and incarceration. Gaping holes blown in the Constitution to accommodate 
the drug war.

Worst of all, we have terminally ill people being denied medical marijuana 
by a federal government that disregards states' rights.

One thing we don't have to show for it is a reduction in marijuana use by 
adolescents, as Dugan pointed out.

If we are serious about reducing marijuana use by children, we should 
legalize and regulate it the same way we regulate alcohol. The Dutch did 
this more than 20 years ago, and their rate of adolescent marijuana use is 
about half of ours. In addition, we should shift our focus from law 
enforcement and incarceration to education and treatment. By education, I 
mean telling our kids the truth about dangers and effects of drugs, not 
stale propaganda and lies.

My daughter is 14. I do not want her using alcohol, tobacco or marijuana. 
The drug she has the easiest access to at her age is marijuana, precisely 
because it is illegal.

I am not "pro-marijuana." I am pro-common sense.

Eric J. Andersen

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