Pubdate: Fri, 21 Jun 2013
Source: Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN)
Copyright: 2013 The Knoxville News-Sentinel Co.
Author: M. M. Hine


Opponents of marijuana decriminalization oppose replacing prohibition
with government-controlled regulation, saying ,"We don't want to send
our kids the wrong message" This message is: "We think it's OK if our
kids abuse marijuana, suffer harmful effects and destroy their lives."

But consider the messages that continuing to support prohibition send:
That it's not possible to responsibly consume marijuana; that there is
no difference between marijuana use and abuse; that as a recreational
substance, it's better to drink alcohol, even though alcohol causes
more health problems and greater costs to society; and that it's right
to continue a 45-year-old policy that has not reduced demand, cost
billions of dollars and inflicted criminal records upon hundreds of

But let's be honest. Responsible parents help their kids avoid abusing
any substance. Parents should speak with their children about the use
of alcohol: It's appropriate only for adults, and in moderation.

We didn't need to outlaw all cigarettes to reduce use among minors. A
policy of education and regulation created an environment in which
cigarette usage has fallen to an all-time low.

Regulating marijuana will allow parents to have conversations with
their kids in the same way.

M. M. Hine, Chattanooga
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