Pubdate: Sat, 5 Apr 2003
Source: Plain Dealer, The (OH)
Copyright: 2003 The Plain Dealer
Author: Joseph Zoretic
Note: Zoretic is director of education for the Ohio Cannabis Society


Congratulations to Ohio's 9th District Court of Appeals for its
decision to let Teresa Scott keep her children even though she is a
marijuana smoker. I hope this is a sign of things to come.

For decades, marijuana users have been nearly as misunderstood as
their intoxicant of choice. Although marijuana produces mood-altering
effects, its impairment is nowhere near the level that alcohol is
capable of producing.

Most adult marijuana smokers don't see why this behavior subjects them
to harsh penalties while beer drinkers are free to do what they want
as long as they don't drive drunk. I have never heard of parents
losing their children because they enjoy alcohol. While it may
sometimes be necessary to remove the children of an abusive alcoholic,
it should never be standard practice to remove any child who seems to
have all of his needs met.

The lone dissenter, Judge Lynn Slaby, believes that there is a
distinction between the use of an illegal drug and a legal one. This
implies that the difference is the ability to tear your family apart
if you don't conform to the drug laws. Never mind the fact that
marijuana, when used responsibly, doesn't usually ruin families in and
of itself.

With the information age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to
perpetuate the myths that keep marijuana illegal, and one day it will
be as OK to smoke a little pot, just as it is OK to drink a few beers
after a hard day's work. Until that time comes, marijuana smokers may
have a legitimate reason to be a little paranoid.

Joseph Zoretic


Zoretic is director of education for the Ohio Cannabis Society. 
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