Pubdate: Thu, 20 Dec 2007
Source: Hickory Daily Record (NC)
Copyright: 2007 Hickory Daily Record
Author: Allan Erickson - Drug Policy Forum of Oregon


Jonathan Troutman makes several erroneous statements in his op-ed,
essentially spouting the same myths the government has been making
since cannabis (marijuana) was banned in the 1930s.

For instance, Troutman says, "Legalization of marijuana will create
more drug-dependent users and increase accessibility to the youth."

Actually, cannabis has little potential for dependence, what little
does exist is mostly psychological. The "gateway effect" has been
repeatedly proved false.

Studies dating to the Indian Hemp Commission of the late 19th century
and including government studies - the Panama Canal Zone Military
Investigations (1929), The LaGuardia Committee Report (1944), the
Shafer Commission (1972), the NAS Committee on Substance Abuse and
Habitual Behavior (1982), the DEA's Chief Administrative Law Judge
Francis Young's 1988 ruling and the Institute of Medicine's 1999
report - concluded that at the least cannabis should be

The point Mr. Troutman ignores is that harms are relative and
cannabis, as stated by Judge Young said, "is one of the safest
therapeutic substances known to man."

Leaving cannabis a prohibited substance makes it easier for youth to
acquire, not more difficult (what happens when a liquor store gets
caught selling to minors?). Education and legalization, not arrest and
prison, is the proper and effective deterrent for keeping our kids
away from drugs.

Allan Erickson,

Drug Policy Forum of Oregon,

Eugene, Ore.
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