Pubdate: Mon, 12 Dec 2005
Source: Brandon Sun (CN MB)
Copyright: 2005, Brandon Sun
Author: Russell Barth


Regarding the article Valleyview Wins Drug-Awareness Award (Dec. 4),
in which the following is said by a student:

"They're (drugs) bad because they make you stupid," said 11-year-old
Desiree Moar.

No Desiree, what makes you stupid is being lied to by

I applaud anyone's efforts to keep kids from using drugs, but as a
federal medical marijuana licence holder (who is also married to one),
I deeply resent this D.A.R.E.-style hyperbole and dogmatic
"indoctrination." It is discriminatory and wrong-minded.

"Don't do drugs, they can hurt you." And "Drugs are bad for you,
ALWAYS SAY NO!" What about medical marijuana? Is hasn't hurt me or my
wife -- in fact, it has been saving our lives daily for years. Should
we go back to the dangerous pills that nearly killed us?

For every person I have met or read about who has had their life
"ruined" by pot, I can show you a thousand whose lives have been saved
by it.

I am sure that school principal Shawn Lehman had a cup or two of
coffee that day and the occasional drink now and then, yet tells kids
to "not use drugs"? It demonstrates the hypocrisy inherent in our
culture, especially in the school and law enforcement systems.

What if little Desiree saw my wife having a violent epileptic seizure?
Which is more stupid? Using cannabis for its long history of medical
benefits, or not using it and allowing someone to suffer or possibly
die without it?

It is hard enough for me to live with my fibromyalgia. The last thing
I need is some brainwashed child coming up to me and telling me I am
"stupid" for smoking my medicine.

Marijuana is a medicinal herb, not a "dangerous narcotic." When kids
find this truth (which is just a Google search away) they will realize
that adults have lied to them.

Naturally, they will conclude that if adults lied about pot, they are
probably lying about other drugs, safe sex, weapons and safe driving.
Kids know when they are being conned. Once bitten, twice shy, as they
say. And this isn't a harmless set of "white lies" like Santa Claus
and the Easter Bunny rituals we engage in annually -- these are life
and death issues.

What we need to do is tell kids the scientific truth without the
slogans and hyperbole and help them make smart choices. If they screw
up, teach them again until they get it right.

For those interested in teaching kids about drugs in a sensible way, I
suggest you contact Educators For Sensible Drug Policy at

Russell Barth

Federal medical marijuana licence holder

Former speaker's bureau co-ordinator

for Educators For Sensible Drug Policy

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