Pubdate: Fri, 07 Jul 2006
Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2006 The Denver Post Corp
Author: Karen P. Tandy


Re: "One soccer mom's take on the drug war," June 28 Colorado Voices column.

Jessica Peck Corry hopes her daughter will never smoke marijuana.
Since that's the case, she should hope it remains illegal. The
American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the legalization of marijuana,
cautioning that "any change in the legal status of marijuana, even if
limited to adults, could affect the prevalence of use among

Marijuana is against the law because it's a dangerous, addictive

This is a health issue. According to the American Lung Association,
marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more cancer-causing material
than cigarette smoke. A June United Nations report refers to cannabis
use as a "pandemic," noting an increase in cannabis-related health
damage. This might explain why more teens now enter treatment for
marijuana dependency than for all other drugs combined, including alcohol.

Today's marijuana is at least eight times more potent than marijuana
of the 1970s. Accordingly, thousands of adolescents, whose brains are
still developing, suffer from depression, memory impairment and
diminished judgment because of marijuana.

Under most legalization plans, drugs would remain illegal for those
under 21. But nearly a third of current drug users are teens - so a
black market would still exist to supply them.

You only need to look at Prohibition to see that criminalizing an
activity suppresses it, and legalization increases it. During
Prohibition, alcohol consumption fell almost 60 percent and related
liver cirrhosis and deaths fell dramatically. Today, alcohol
consumption is more than three times greater than during Prohibition,
and is estimated to cost our country at least $184 billion a year in
lost productivity, crime, and health-care costs.

In addition to directing the DEA, I'm a soccer mom, too. I'm doing
everything possible to keep drugs away from my own children and
everyone else's - not making drugs easier to get.

Karen P. Tandy, Administrator, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
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