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Just Saying Meh

See, this is the kind of reactionary thinking that, IMO, clogs efforts to carve out effective and progressive drug policies in this state and in this country.

Nowhere in this editorial does the writer point to concrete evidence that marijuana use causes significant harm. Instead, there's an emotional cry of "what about the children"—stemming from new reports from the University of Michigan suggesting that teens' attitudes about marijuana use may be softening—and some vague alarms about what "some studies are indicating." Worse, there's the suggestion that people's attitudes are changing about weed simply because Mary Jane has better PR...

In the 1960s the drug became well known and many thought legalizing it was only the right thing to do. Today, a group backing legalization of marijuana said the figures show the futility of trying to ban pot, rather than regulate its use.

We disagree with this group's conclusions. The fact is those backing legalization have been louder and more constant proponents.

In other words, they've done a better job of marketing.

Are you serious? This nation has spent decades--not to mention trillions of dollars--churning out official, government-sanctioned overblown distortions about the harmful effects of weed and engaging in all sorts of anti-marijuana draconian crackdowns on everyone from casual users to the seriously ill. Sorry, but NORML can't hold a Bic lighter to the Office of National Drug Control Policy when it comes to marketing.

I think what we're really seeing is a PR failure by those who want to continue to demonize weed.

I'm not encouraging teen marijuana use, mind you. But I also don't think that because young people aren't as uptight in their perceptions about marijuana that that means they're all on the verge of becoming heavy users. No, I think that, like a lot of us, they're more exposed to the arguments for and against marijuana and to the evidence that puts the lie to the traditional scare tactics used to buttress the "Just Say No" rhetoric. And it's becoming harder for them to take that rhetoric seriously.

Living in the information age has put adults in as strong a position as ever to have serious discussions with young people about drugs and their effects. But I worry that we forfeit that position--as well as our ability to have reasonable statewide and national discourse with adults, too--when we traffic in lies, exaggerations and alarmist editorials built on dubious arguments.

What do you think?

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