Pubdate: Mon, 05 Apr 2010
Source: Daily Pilot (Costa Mesa, CA)
Section: Kids These Days
Copyright: 2010 Daily Pilot
Author: Steve Smith


I wrote a month ago about the mixed message being sent  to Costa Mesa
residents through the enforcement of the  city's medical marijuana
dispensary ordinance versus  the mandate in Proposition 215, which
California voters  passed in 1996 ("Adult consistency has gone to
pot,"  March 9).

I also discussed the widespread use of marijuana  nationally and in
our school district.

This November, California voters have an opportunity to  formally
legalize weed by voting in favor of a new  initiative that would allow
adults 21 or older to  possess up to an ounce for personal use.

My column a month ago prompted an anonymous response  posted on the
Daily Pilot's website by someone claiming  to be a police officer.

"As a patrol officer over a decade in Santa Ana, I can  tell you
without a shadow of a doubt that marijuana is  not a enforcement
priority in O.C. agencies," this  person wrote. "It only becomes a
priority when  squawking babbling citizens complain to the City
Council which then sends an e-mail to the city manager.  It's a waste
of time and resources during cutbacks and  layoffs. Alcohol is far
worse. Over 70% of calls for  service are related to alcohol. Not once
have I ever  encountered a person violent under the influence of
marijuana. Legalize/tax it."

It doesn't matter to me whether this person is actually  a patrol
officer in Santa Ana or anywhere else, because  the points are valid.

Parents and other guardians of our children often want  to focus on
educating kids about the dangers of  "drugs," a catch-all term that
could include heroin and  marijuana.

But as the commentator indicated, there is a far more  serious problem
with alcohol, which is found in most  homes and although it is
extremely destructive, is  rarely found under lock and key.

Our own home is a good example. I like my cocktail or  glass of wine
in the evening, and over the years I have  been careful to make sure
that our two children never  see alcohol abused. But this dangerous
drug is in a  cabinet in a common area of our home, with free and
easy access to anyone.

The alcohol is not locked up because our kids know that  until they
are 21, they are not allowed to drink it. So  far, they have not
touched the stuff.

But there is another reason. By their actions in other  parts of their
lives, our kids have earned our trust  and so the alcohol remains in a
simple cabinet.

Several years ago, I wrote in this space that the  nation did not need
another drug and that legalizing  marijuana was the easy way out to
the control we should  have over its illegal importation.

But that opinion has changed. Despite spending billions  of dollars
over the past few decades to prevent  marijuana's importation, we have
failed. Marijuana is  easy to obtain and so, instead of doing the same
thing  over and over again hoping for a different result, it  is time
to try something new.

Come November, I will vote to legalize marijuana in the

I will do so not because we need the tax revenue or  because I smoke
pot - I don't and I won't start if it's  legalized come November.

I will vote to legalize it because I want to put an end  to the
colossal waste of resources we've committed to  trying to stamp out

I'm not happy about legalizing another mind-altering  drug and sending
that message to our children.

I wish that marijuana never existed. But it does, and  our focus
should now be on trying a new tactic to see  if it works. After all,
the only sure way to determine  whether legalized marijuana is bad
idea is to legalize  it.

And if legalizing it doesn't work, we can always go  back to the war
on drugs. Next time around, though,  this parent is going to insist on
including alcohol. 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D