Pubdate: Tue, 20 Jul 2010
Source: Denver Daily News (CO)
Copyright: 2010 Denver Daily News
Author: Peter Marcus, DDN Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United States)
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


Pot Advocates Ask DARE Officers to Read Book on Pot Vs. Alcohol

Local pot advocate Mason Tvert is daring officers to read his book.

The publisher of Tvert's 2009 release, "Marijuana is Safer: So Why 
Are We Driving People to Drink?", is distributing free copies of the 
pro-marijuana book this week at a Drug Abuse Resistance Education 
(DARE) conference in Cincinnati.

DARE officers and instructors at the training conference are being 
encouraged to read the book and then take its message back to 
students that marijuana is safer than alcohol N a message that has 
propelled Tvert into local and national stardom for his efforts to 
legalize marijuana.

Tvert is encouraging DARE officers and instructors to "dare to admit 
that marijuana is safer than alcohol."

"For years DARE has been sending a very dangerous message that 
alcohol is a perfectly acceptable and enjoyable form of intoxication 
for adults, yet marijuana is just too harmful and should never be 
allowed as an alternative," said Tvert. "DARE conference attendees 
will surely be encouraged to continue spreading this misguided and 
potentially dangerous message, so we decided to offer them a 
comprehensive, fact-based examination of these two substances that 
they can take home and share with their students."

For his part, Sgt. Brian Saupe, state coordinator for the Colorado 
Association of DARE Officers, said yesterday from Cincinnati where he 
is attending the conference that marijuana can be a deadly drug when 
used with alcohol.

"One fact that really illustrates against what they're saying, and 
that's that marijuana prevents nausea, and there's numerous cases 
where college kids who are binge drinking have smoked marijuana, and 
it prevents the nausea, so when they overdrink, they don't vomit up 
the excess alcohol, and then they die," he told the Denver Daily News 
by phone. "So, right there, I can tell you that marijuana is a 
danger, and particularly when it comes to partying - they party heavy 
at college, they're smoking marijuana and they're drinking in excess 
- - the anti-nausea effects of the THC prevents their body from purging 
the excess alcohol."

Tvert fired back, arguing that he does not know of a single 
documented case of an alcohol-related death being attributed to 
marijuana use. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
attribute more than 30,000 deaths per year to alcohol use, whereas 
they do not list a single death attributable to marijuana, he said.

"Officer Saupe makes the case that marijuana is safer than alcohol 
far better than I ever could," quipped Tvert. "Since he understands 
that alcohol can kill someone in one sitting, I trust he agrees that 
college students would be safer using marijuana instead."

Saupe said that if he is handed a copy of Tvert's book, he would read 
it for "informational" reasons.

As executive director of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation 
(SAFER), Tvert compelled Denver voters to legalize the simple 
possession of marijuana in 2005.

When police continued to arrest people for the possession of one 
ounce or less of marijuana, Tvert convinced voters in 2007 to make 
the police department promise to make marijuana their "lowest law 
enforcement priority."

His book - co-written by fellow pot experts Paul Armentano, deputy 
director of The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana 
Laws, and Steve Fox, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana 
Policy Project - uses research and scientific evidence to compare and 
contrast the relative harms of both marijuana and alcohol.

In August 2009, the book made its way to No. 14 on's top 
100 bestsellers, making "Marijuana is Safer" the all-time top-selling 
marijuana-related book on

The pro-pot community is also concerned that DARE America Chairman 
Skip Miller recently released an op-ed to the San Jose Mercury News 
opposing a marijuana legalization initiative facing California voters 
this November. He claimed that marijuana "mushes up your brain," 
"lowers inhibitions," and "makes users engage in risky behavior."

Tvert is also concerned that the DARE America Web site highlights the 
"Official Parents Guide" by DARE founding director Glenn Levant, 
which describes social drinking as "an acceptable and pleasurable 
activity for millions of Americans."

"It relaxes you, curbs stress, and chases away inhibitions" continues 
the description.

Marijuana advocates take great offense to this description.

"If lives weren't at risk this would almost be comical," said Tvert.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake