Pubdate: Tue, 16 Jan 2007
Source: Burlington Free Press (VT)
Copyright: 2007 Burlington Free Press
Author: Vaughn A. Carney


John T. Quinn manages to cite every hot-button emotional red-herring in his 
argument against the decriminalization of marijuana in "Is legalizing 
marijuana a good idea?" ( Jan. 13). Especially 
"This-is-really-about-protecting-our children." You could substitute the 
word "alcohol" for "marijuana" in his piece and make the very same 
arguments. But do we hear Mr. Quinn arguing for the return of Prohibition? 
If not, why not? Are a couple of occasional glasses of wine a gateway to 
raging alcoholism? And his straw-man argument that decriminalization might 
lead to a major influx of America's "pot heads" (his term) is palpably 
absurd. Why on earth would they flock to Vermont when they can get it 
everywhere else in America?

First of all, a clear distinction must be made between marijuana and other 
controlled substances; they are not all the same. Second, regulating the 
sale of marijuana -- just as is done with alcohol and tobacco -- will amply 
protect the youths of Vermont. It is past time to take the emotion and 
hysterics out of this discussion. Too many scarce resources are being 
wasted, and a common-sense approach is overdue. Simple possession of 
marijuana has been decriminalized in Canada, Australia, Great Britain, 
Spain, The Netherlands and numerous other developed countries, and guess 
what? Life goes on just as before.


The writer is an attorney. 
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