Pubdate: Wed, 11 Jul 2001
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Copyright: 2001 Watertown Daily Times
Author: Larry Seguin
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


The U.S. Department of Justice report on youth marijuana use should be 
viewed with skepticism. (Marijuana is the drug of choice for young 
arrestees, Saturday June 30) According to the report, there is an 
"epidemic" of marijuana use among youth offenders.

That many arrestees should test positive for pot is no surprise. If 
subjected to mandatory drug tests a sizeable percentage of the general 
population would test positive. Marijuana is, after all, the most popular 
illicit drug.

The National Institute of Justice report is unethical in that the 
politicized conclusions deliberately confuse correlation with causation. 
The report is the latest taxpayer-funded "reefer madness" junk science 
intended to bolster support for the war on some drugs. Like organized 
crime, the drug war gravy train is financially dependent on a never-ending 
war without victory.

The two deadliest recreational drugs are both legal. Alcohol is the drug 
most often associated with violence. Tobacco is perhaps the most addictive 
drug and easily the deadliest.

Marijuana is not physically addictive and has never been shown to cause an 
overdose death. As far as drug "epidemics" are concerned, alcohol remains 
the most popular recreational drug. Alcohol kills 6.5 times more young 
people than all illicit drugs combined. It's not health outcomes that 
determine America's draconian drug laws, but rather cultural norms.

The $50 billion per year drug war is an expensive and quixotic quest for 
cultural purity. Taxing and regulating marijuana is a cost-effective 
alternative. Right now, kids have an easier time buying pot than beer.

Once again a report that points out the myth of marijuana being a "gateway 

The European nations (EU) that unseated the U.S. from the International 
Narcotics Control Board view marijuana as harmless. Those nations have had 
marijuana decriminalized or legalized for years.

11 EU Member States report hard drug use by adults, 1 to 4% use of 
Amphetamines, 0.5 to 4%  use of Ecstasy, 0.5 to 3% use of  Cocaine, and 
under 1% use of Heroin. (European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug 
Addiction, "2000 Annual Report on the State of the Drugs Problem in the 
European Union").

Crime and drug use by youth is one-forth that of the U.S.

Larry Seguin  Lisbon, New York
- ---
MAP posted-by: GD