Pubdate: Wed, 13 Feb 2008
Source: Galesburg Register-Mail (IL)
Copyright: 2008 Galesburg Register-Mail
Author: Peter Guither


Judy Guenseth's guest column "Dangers, costs of legalizing marijuana
too great" is disappointing and a bit odd, as it seems to undermine
its own arguments. Ms. Guenseth properly notes the concerns regarding
drug use by young people, something that prohibition has done nothing
to stop (in fact, any gains in that area can be more properly
attributed to reality based education).

So what does she want? To continue putting the decisions regarding
drug safety and age of use in the hands of criminals, while feeding
enormous black market profits. Legalizing marijuana doesn't mean
giving up control -- in fact, it is exactly the opposite. She said,
"Our society is right to prohibit the use of cigarettes and alcohol to
underage youth." Yes, and we should do the same with marijuana by
regulating it. It would also put the drug dealers out of business and
away from kids.

On a separate note, it is disingenuous to equate health costs of
cigarette with marijuana use for adults, particularly since the
largest study of its kind (Tashkin, UCLA) has shown no increased risk
of lung cancer from even heavy use of marijuana. Let's stick with the
facts and find solutions that really address the problems rather than
the heavy-handed sledge hammer of prohibition, which all too often
misses the mark entirely.

Peter Guither,

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