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WITH BILLIONS WASTED, WAR ON WEED IS POUND FOOLISH

(Source:Boston Herald)

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19 Dec 2010

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Massachusetts

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We're changing our minds about tobacco and marijuana.

 

This week a Boston jury found it so disgusting that tobacco company Lorillard pushed free cigarettes on a 9-year-old in a poor neighborhood, they awarded crazy money to the estate of the now-dead Marie Evans. Jurors blamed Lorillard for hooking her as a child even though she died at 54 of lung cancer decades after everybody found out that smoking kills.

 

This week we also learned that more high school seniors are smoking marijuana than cigarettes and that high schoolers viewed weed more favorably than tobacco.

 

Asked what they'd view as worse -- their teens smoking pot or Marlboros -- the majority of parents who spoke with or e-mailed me at 96.9 FM said, given a choice, they'd take the pot.

 

Why? Let's call it "the jig is up" argument.

 

Many of these parents smoked pot. Some admitted they still do. Nonetheless, they claimed to be responsible taxpayers, business owners or employees who scoff at the brain-dead stoner stereotype. How many smokers can smoke just a cigarette or two a week? Yet recreational marijuana smokers get "high" on just three or four hits.

 

Typical was a 42-year-old I'll call "John," a government worker who said his own 68-year-old father, a contractor, still smokes pot watching sports on TV. John himself smoked pot in college but quit once his children reached school.

 

"There was no place to smoke," he said. He wouldn't in front of his kids, in the car, backyard or basement. Then work started drug testing. "I can't lose my job," he said. "Do I think it's worse than drinking or cigarettes? No. I know people who've died from drinking and emphysema. I never even heard of anybody dying from weed."

 

Those inclined to support marijuana's continued prohibition were those who'd seen drug abuse up close. Tobacco may kill you, they say. But it won't alter your behavior, argued a woman whose sister moved up to heroin and couldn't "handle" the pot.

 

That makes no sense: Most handle it fine. But equally senseless is law enforcement's line, just repeated in a Herald story about increased violence in marijuana trafficking since Massachusetts voted 2 to 1 in 2008 to decriminalize less than an ounce.

 

District attorneys Gerard Leone, Dan Conley and John Blodgett never addressed the obvious: If we could buy marijuana at 7/ 11 -- and tax it like mad -- that ends the pot black market and crime.

 

It's time we stop wasting billions on the pot war, which will never be won, and which, along the way, makes criminals of good Americans.

 

 

MAP posted-by: Richard Lake

 

 

 

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Pubdate: Sun, 19 Dec 2010

Source: Boston Herald (MA)

Copyright: 2010 The Boston Herald, Inc

Contact: letterstoeditor@bostonherald.com

Website: http://news.bostonherald.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/53

Author: Margery Eagan, Herald Columnist

 

 

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