Pubdate: Sat, 05 Oct 2002
Source: Tri-City News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2002, Tri-City News
Author: Matthew M. Elrod


The Editor;

Allow me to be the exception to letter writer C. Grindley-Ferris' rule that 
"Every 40-year-old parent knows that to legalize drugs, specifically pot, 
is an absurd response to an ongoing problem."

As a 40-year-old parent of three who has been studying cannabis and drug 
policy for over a decade, I am convinced that prohibition has always been 
an absurd response that has turned an ongoing public health problem into 
ever worsening disaster.

Cannabis prohibition comes with a hefty price tag, both socially and 
fiscally, yet there is no international evidence that usage rates and 
availability have any statistical relationship to cannabis laws and their 

How will children benefit from cannabis legalization?

For starters, teens currently report that cannabis is "very easy" to 
obtain, easier to obtain than beer. Unlike drug dealers, alcohol vendors 
are not motivated to sell to minors, hence no alcohol dealers in our high 
schools. We currently have more control over cat food than the so-called 
"controlled drugs and substances."

Secondly, cannabis regulation will remove cannabis from the black market 
for truly addictive and dangerous substances, closing the "gateway." Once 
hooked, youth are recruited into the black market and prostitution to 
support their own artificially expensive habits.

Finally, the drug-peace dividend coupled with cannabis revenue, 
proportional to usage rates, could be directed toward proven solutions: 
education, treatment and alternative activities for youth. Cannabis 
prohibition represents enormous opportunity costs.

Surely most parents do not want their children to become obese, yet few 
would prohibit snack foods and ask taxpayers to pay $400 million annually, 
sacrifice civil rights and live with power-diverting "bake ops" in their 
communities to send an ineffectual message to their kids.

Matthew M. Elrod,


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