Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jan 1997
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Author: Adam J. Smith

In response to your editorial regarding the medicinal use of marijuana
("Feds should bear down until new laws are redrawn," Jan. 6), and
specifically your point decrying the concept of the overall legalization of
marijuana in the face of the spread of its use among young children, 1
offer the following observation:

Prohibition has diverted the energies of the Salvation Army from the
drunkard in the gutter to the boys and girls in their teens The work of the
Army has complelety changed in the past five years . . . Prohibition has so
materially affected society that we have girls in our rescue homes who ore
14 and 15 years old, while 10 years ago the youngest was in the early 20 s.

Those are the words of Col. William L. Barker, head of the Northern
Division, Salvation Army, as quoted in the St. Cloud, Minn., Daily Times,
Feb. 9, 1925.

Considering the fact that America has. over the past 20 years, escalated
the War on Drugs to levels heretofore unimagined, and the concomitant fact
that we now have alarming numbers of very young children smoking marijuana,
perhaps it is time that we examined our own history a little more closely.
With nearly 90 percent of teenagers surveyed nationwide listing marijuana
as easier "easy" or "fairly easy" to obtain, it would be difficult to argue
that our current "drug control" strategy of Prohibition is really
controlling anything.

Assistant director,

Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, D.C.