Pubdate: Wed, 06 Oct 2010
Source: Arizona Daily Sun (AZ)
Copyright: 2010 Robert Chambers
Author: Robert Chambers


To the editor:

I first tried marijuana like many people in college. By the time I
graduated I had long realized that "reefer madness" and the idea of
pot as a "gateway drug" was a myth invented by people who had either
never tried pot, who stood to profit from its prohibition, or who had
misdiagnosed social problems rooted in the more complex issues of
social inequality, cycles of poverty, and the environmental conditions
that create addictive personalities. This failed logic has been on
brilliant display this last week on the Daily Sun's op/ed page, where
the prospect of legalizing medical marijuana has been mischaracterized
(once again) as a scourge worse than the seven plagues of Egypt.

Over the years I outgrew pot but remained fascinated by our society's
failure to have an honest, calm discussion about it, especially as
marijuana's medicinal value becomes more recognized by the medical

Aside from the lost revenue a broke state government could reap by
regulating and taxing marijuana, the most tragic result of our failed
debate is that while DARE programs, uninformed parents and
after-school specials are wrong about pot, they are absolutely right
about heroin, cocaine and crystal meth. When kids experiment with pot
and realize that the dangers of marijuana have been wildly exaggerated
by the authorities of their youth, they suspect that the same might be
true for the drugs that actually will destroy their lives. Acting on
this suspicion is the price we pay for demonizing instead of educating.

Robert Chambers

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