No Logical Reason To Punish Adults for Marijuana

No Logical Reason To Punish Adults for Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on October 21, 2006 at 07:52:32 PT
By Mason Tvert 
Source: Rocky Mountain News
Colorado -- Boo! That's a preview of the strongest argument opponents of Amendment 44 - the Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative - will put forth in the last two weeks of the campaign. Don't expect an open and honest discussion about the merits of making marijuana possession legal for adults. Instead, expect every possible scare tactic related to children you can imagine. Before our opponents are done, you will think we are trying to make marijuana part of the free lunch program at elementary schools.
And why are our opponents hiding behind children? Perhaps it is because there is no logical reason to punish adults for making the rational choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol. Here are just a few reasons why:  Alcohol is deadly; marijuana is not. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 20,000 Americans die every year as the direct result of alcohol consumption. The number for marijuana is zero. In addition, alcohol overdose deaths are not just possible, but an all-too-frequent occurrence in Colorado, as the on-campus deaths of students like Samantha Spady and Gordy Bailey have made tragically clear. Marijuana, on the other hand, has never caused an overdose death.  Alcohol increases the likelihood of violent behavior; marijuana does not. This is not a surprising statement to individuals who have been around users of each substance. But it is also backed up with statistics. For example, the U.S. Department of Justice has reported the following about crime in the United States: "Two-thirds of victims who suffered violence by an intimate (a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend) reported that alcohol had been a factor. Among spouse victims, three out of four incidents were reported to have involved an offender who had been drinking." Every objective study has concluded that marijuana use does not contribute to violent or aggressive behavior.  Alcohol is especially problematic on college campuses. Drinking by college students, ages 18 to 24, contributes to an estimated 1,400 student deaths, 500,000 injuries and 70,000 cases of sexual assaults or date rapes each year, according to a 2002 study commissioned by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Task Force on College Drinking. While these numbers are staggering, some statistics are even more powerful when conveyed as percentages. For example, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health College found that nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of all college female rape victims experienced rape while under the influence of alcohol. Our opponents, including the top elected officials in the state, will completely ignore these facts and recklessly defend a system designed to punish people for using marijuana, which only pushes more people toward alcohol. To justify this irrational policy, our opponents will claim they are protecting our kids. In doing so, however, they ignore even more statistics. Marijuana is already "universally available" to teens. Our opponents make it seem as if marijuana prohibition is needed to keep marijuana away from kids. Yet today, 86 percent of high school seniors say it is "very easy" or "fairly easy" to get marijuana. Moreover, the authors of the Monitoring the Future report on teen substance use reported, "Marijuana has been almost universally available to American high school seniors over at least the past 30 years." Anti-marijuana propaganda is pushing kids toward a more dangerous drug. As a result of anti-marijuana propaganda, 12- to 17-year-old Americans believe smoking marijuana once or twice a week is more dangerous than having five or more drinks at a time once or twice a week, according to a federal government survey. Yet binge drinking can kill these kids in one night; marijuana cannot. For better or worse, alcohol and marijuana are a permanent part of our society. Young people determined to use alcohol will probably find alcohol, and those determined to use marijuana will probably find marijuana. Nevertheless, reducing teen use of either substance requires honest and open conversations with our kids. Pushing adults (with our laws) and kids (with misinformation) toward alcohol instead of marijuana is not a solution to the problem. Rather, it is making societal problems worse. Don't let our opponents scare you into maintaining the current, failed system. Help reduce alcohol-related harms and make Colorado safer by voting yes on Amendment 44. Mason Tvert is the campaign director for Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) and the lead proponent of Amendment 44.Complete Title: No Logical Reason To Punish Adults for Using Marijuana Over AlcoholNewshawk: Global_WarmingSource: Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)Author:  Mason Tvert Published: October 21, 2006Copyright: 2006 Denver Publishing Co.Contact: letters rockymountainnews.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Safer Choice Use a Safer Choice Than Alcohol Time for Pot Law, Supporters Say Should Be Allowed To Choose 
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Comment #5 posted by potpal on October 22, 2006 at 10:34:34 PT
No Logical Reason To Punish Adults
Funny how with so much attention given this topic that there isn't any occupanying forum or blog on the Rocky Mountain News site on the subject. Or am I missing it?The media is still evolving with the reader feedback being instantaneous now. Takes away much of the spin room. Some papers allow it, some fear it.Yes on 44. Come on, lucky 7!
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Comment #4 posted by rchandar on October 21, 2006 at 19:59:17 PT:
mason's article
this is an excellent article and exactly the kind of focus that our society needs in understanding this issue. mason lays out the facts, and challenges us to think morally instead of stereotypically.
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Comment #3 posted by whig on October 21, 2006 at 14:54:42 PT
Mason is the best at what he does.
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Comment #2 posted by Dankhank on October 21, 2006 at 09:05:14 PT
Happyplant, you have the right idea ...My local rag has the story now.This is the first time I have noticed your handle ...Great to see you here ... Welcome ...Peace to all who fight ...
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Comment #1 posted by Happyplant on October 21, 2006 at 08:21:40 PT
Right on!!!!
Send this to every paper in the nation.
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