Pubdate: Thu, 15 May 2014
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2014 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Paul Armentano
Page: 18


A public policy that regulates and controls marijuana will likely 
make it easier, not harder, for parents and educators to rationally 
and persuasively discuss this subject with young people ("Teens want 
real talk about pot," May12).

After all, many parents who may have experimented with cannabis 
during their youth - or who continue to indulge occasionally - will 
no longer feel the social and legal pressures to lie to their 
children about their own behavior.

Rather, just as many parents presently speak to their children openly 
about their use of alcohol - instructing them that booze may be 
appropriate for adults in moderation but that it remains 
inappropriate for young people - legalization will unburden parents 
so that they can talk objectively and rationally to their kids about marijuana.

Today adolescents' consumption of alcohol and tobacco - two legal 
intoxicants that pose far greater harms than marijuana - is at an 
all-time low. These outcomes were not accomplished by instituting 
criminal prohibition, but rather by legalization, regulation and 
public education.

Criminalizing marijuana is a disproportionate response to what, at 
worst, is a health issue, not a criminal justice issue.

Paul Armentano, Washington, D.C. The writer is deputy director of the 
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
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