Pubdate: Tue, 21 Mar 2006
Source: North York Mirror (CN ON)
Copyright: 2006 North York Mirror
Author: Russell Barth


As a federal medical marijuana licence holder who is also married to
one, I resent most of the so-called drug education programs aimed at
kids. The rhetoric hasn't changed since I was a teen back in the 1980s.

I applaud anyone's effort to keep kids off drugs, but most of these
programs (DARE in particular) spout half-truths and bald-faced lies,
while failing to mention the other side of the story. They do more
harm than good, in my view.

Adults - especially police - have lost all credibility when it comes
to drugs, because they lie and exaggerate the so-called "dangers" of
marijuana. They tell kids that marijuana "is 10 times more potent than
before," will cause cancer, schizophrenia, impotence, permanent
stupidity and an addiction to hard drugs.

When kids find the truth on their own (which is just a Google search
away), they will realize they have been systematically lied to by
people they once trusted. They will likely conclude that if adults
lied about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and marijuana, they must be
lying about meth, crack, heroin, ecstasy, booze, weapons, extreme
sports, safe sex and safe driving, too. And who can blame them?

We live in a "drug culture" that advertises booze, fast cars, fast
food, violent movies and video games, and drugs of all kinds on TV.
Then we tell kids to say no to drugs. We give kids Ritalin, instead of
just reducing their sugar and Game Boy intake, and then tell them
marijuana is dangerous. They see right though this hypocrisy. A ruse
by any other name...

Taking the marijuana business out of the hands of teens and criminals
and putting it into the hands of responsible adults is socially
conservative. Generating tax revenue from that industry is fiscally
conservative and using that money to teach kids why they should avoid
drugs is morally conservative.

By not legalizing and regulating marijuana production and sales, we
subsidize criminals, make pot easier for kids to access than either
tobacco or alcohol, waste valuable police resources and billions of
dollars annually, deprive ourselves of a source of valuable medicine
and miss out on $3 billion in annual tax revenue.

For those keen on educating kids about drugs - without all the
fear-mongering, hyperbole and absurd hypocrisy of the standard "drug
education" programs - I recommend the Educators For Sensible Drug
Policy website at

Russell Barth, federal medical marijuana licence holder

via e-mail from Ottawa 
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