Pubdate: Thu, 16 Feb 2006
Source: Anchorage Daily News (AK)
Copyright: 2006 The Anchorage Daily News
Author: Tim Hinterberger
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Attorney General David Marquez's recent commentary ("Opportunity to 
Toughen Drug Laws," Voice of the Times, Feb. 2) grossly misrepresents 
the data on marijuana use. Marquez writes, "Studies show (children) 
often get (marijuana) at home, or at a friend's home," implying kids 
get it from their parents. In fact, no studies indicate this. In 
testimony last year, his office cited the U.S. government report "How 
Youths Obtain Marijuana," which simply says if youths obtained 
marijuana for free, they "obtained it ... inside a home, apartment, 
or dorm," but if they paid for the marijuana, they more likely 
obtained it "in a public building, outside in a public area, inside a 
school building, or outside on school property."

Marquez also claims, "Marijuana was found in the urine of nearly 70 
percent of adult male domestic violence abusers arrested in 
Anchorage, but only 5 percent of men arrested for other crimes. ... 
(T)here must be a reason why so many more domestic violence abusers 
use marijuana compared to other criminals." This is nonsense. 
Researchers at UAA's Justice Center note "the consistency in rates of 
marijuana detection across categories of charges (approximately 45 
percent of offenders across all offense types)." The percentage for 
domestic violence arrestees was lower than for assault or robbery 
arrestees, and the percentage for all violent offenses was slightly 
lower than property and other offenses.

Sadly, these examples are just part of a pattern of distortion of the 
facts about marijuana by the attorney general's office.

- ---- Tim Hinterberger, Ph.D.


Editor's note: The writer is chair of the Alaska Drug Policy Forum 
and a past sponsor of an initiative to legalize marijuana.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom