Pubdate: Sat, 01 Nov 2014
Source: Virgin Islands Daily News, The (VI)
Copyright: 2014 Virgin Islands Daily News
Author: LeVelle T. Henry
Page: 23


Many community members seem to believe that regulated, 
decriminalization, and legalization of marijuana would cause an 
increase in juvenile marijuana use. Statistics present a 
contradiction to this belief.

As a person over 50 years of age, I remember the depiction of and 
reading about juvenile cigarette smokers in the 1920s and 1930s. By 
"juvenile," I mean young people between the ages of 8 to 16 years of age.

As the dangers of smoking tobacco increased - as result of 
applications of pesticide and herbicide - the regulations on 
cigarette sales increased.

Consequently, since the late 1970s, the campaign to reduce juvenile 
tobacco smoking, as well as adult smoking increased. Presently, there 
are severe fines for selling tobacco products to "underage" users. 
This has resulted in a 15 percent decrease in juvenile smoking since 
1991. I choose to presume the juvenile decrease is more than 10 
percent since the 1940s, when adult smoking was 42 percent of the 
population and more children smoked tobacco.

Current adult tobacco smoking in the USA is about 19 percent of the 
population, a 23 percent drop since 1965. Statistics on children 
smoking in the 1940s and adults prior to 1965 were not maintained in 
data I reviewed.

I propose that similar laws, regulations, and fines for marijuana use 
would also reduce use by minors.

Additionally, there would be a reduction of "unhealthy" cannabis that 
is sprayed with unknown substances to reduce the smell of the herb. 
This is done to avoid detection by law enforcement officers during 
the smuggling process.

Illegal, treated marijuana is bad for our health - similar to treated 
cigarette. Furthermore, illegal marijuana provides no revenue to our 
government's economic base.

We should all acquiesce that smoking is not a natural behavior for 
humans. However, the habit will not miraculously vanish - especially, 
because of the revenue the legal and illegal industries produce. 
Consequently, society should do its best to regulate the plants that 
humans smoke and consume to reduce health issues due to additives, 
pesticides, and herbicides.

Strict regulations for organic growth of both marijuana and tobacco 
plants would produce healthier plants and less toxic cigarettes. 
Again, strict regulations would also decrease juvenile use since 
there would be strict fines for licensed vendors who sell marijuana 
products to juveniles - as is the case now with tobacco products.

It is time we stop fooling ourselves into believing that illegal, 
black market marijuana is the best action for our community.

We might find that if we start getting illegal marijuana off the 
black market, sales and use of other drugs might decrease - because 
the dealers of would stick out like sore thumbs and would not be able 
to hide behind illegal marijuana sales.

LeVelle T. Henry, St. Croix
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom