Marijuana: Legalization vs Prohibition and Children
One thing that prohibitionists use to keep marijuana illegal is the fear that legalization will be a danger to children. Children seems to be the door into the heart of a parent. Prohibitionists lie about marijuana’s use, effects, and its users. One on side, you have the local, state, and federal authorities who get people to believe that marijuana users are dangerous. On the other side, you have organizations who want you to believe that potheads are lazy, unemployed, losers. In both of these ways, they strike fear into parents about what their children will become if they started using marijuana.
What mother wants to hear that her child will become from raving maniac after using marijuana? What father wants to hear that his son might end up lazy and worthless in the home after trying marijuana? If you’re a parent that doesn’t know anything about marijuana, you’d play it on the safe side doing what you can to keep your children from using marijuana. It makes sense to me. I’d do the same thing if I were walking in their shoes.
But, the difference between myself and these parents is that I know all about marijuana. I know the good and I know the bad. Although this is not about the safety of marijuana, I’d be foolish to not at least mention this once: Marijuana is safe! The point of this is to present the argument to a parent who believes that marijuana is dangerous.
I prefer to compare prohibition to legalization as it pertains to the safety of children.
Prohibition vs Legalization
We know what prohibition brings us. We’re living it. Every year, billions of tax payer funds are spent fighting this war on drugs. Millions of marijuana plants are eradicated every harvest season. Hundreds of thousands of people are arrested and/or incarcerated for anything from a joint to pounds of marijuana. Hundreds of indoor grow ops are torn apart.
That all sounds good. If you pay attention to what law enforcement is doing, you’d feel they were doing a lot. But, how does this all factor into the protection of your children?
Well, if it’s fair, we can say that the amount of marijuana that gets into the United States is directly related to the ease of access by your children. The more marijuana in the US, the more available it will be in your area. To get a good idea of how much marijuana gets into the US, we have to look at what law enforcement’s eradication efforts really mean as a total of all marijuana. In other words, how much does law enforcement shave off of the total supply? The answer – law enforcement’s eradication efforts account for only 5-10% of all the marijuana that gets into the nation. In other words, the remaining inventory of marijuana in the US is about 90% and higher. That means your children have a much better chance of finding marijuana than law enforcement is admitting. The point is that marijuana is free flowing and freely available in the United States.
The first time I ever tried marijuana was when I was 14. I didn’t get high so I didn’t think about it again. The next time I smoked marijuana was when I was 16. I got very high but it wasn’t something that would stay with me. My friend got that marijuana from a dealer both times. I didn’t smoke again until I was 23.
I am now 30 years old. About 3 weeks ago, I was on Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, NY. I went into the store with friends to buy cigars (used for rolling marijuana blunts) and the clerk asked me for ID. I found it hilarious. I hadn’t been carded in a long time. My friends told me that I still have a baby face. It reminds me of times when I go into ask for an alcoholic drink in a restaurant and the server asks for my ID. They ask for IDs in clubs, bars, and lounges. If it’s got an age requirement, they want to see ID.
If you’re a parent, like my own parents, my friends’ parents and some of my friends now, you know you can not be there all of the time. The best you can do is teach your children right from wrong and hope they don’t get into any trouble. But, they do. You were once a child, as I was, and the one thing we did was get into trouble.
The question that I have for parents: When your children are introduced to marijuana, do you want it to be from a dealer on the street or store clerk that will ask for ID?
Think about it.
How many children have you seen walk into a liquor store? Even in regular grocery stores, what are the chances that a baby-faced kid can walk out with a bottle of beer or a pack of cigarettes?
Under legalization, regulation is necessary. That means, the same controls in place for adult items – tobacco, alcohol, pornography – is the same controls that would be placed on marijuana. Chances are it would be sold alongside tobacco products in a tobacco shop. Maybe, marijuana would be sold in grocery stores. The common thread here is that all these locations offer control, more control than what is offered by a dealer on the corner.
Prohibition won’t protect your children
Prohibitionists claim that marijuana is dangerous to children. How can they advocate for a system that gives control of such a dangerous substance to criminals? How can they claim that they want to protect children while promoting a black market that don’t have a reason to care about children?
You can believe that marijuana is the most dangerous substance in the world. It doesn’t matter how you feel about marijuana. What matters is that we protect children. Prohibition didn’t protect me then, it doesn’t protect your children now, and it won’t protect your children tomorrow.