Arts & Entertainment
Protect Our Youth From Dangers Of Substance Abuse
By Craig Covey
Originally printed 10/3/2013 (Issue 2140 - Between The Lines News)
As voters debate the merits of decriminalizing marijuana for adult private use in three Michigan cities this fall, there is one thing that we can all agree on, and that is the need to prevent its use by teens. No one working to pass these ballot initiatives in Ferndale, Lansing, or Jackson wants this issue to allow more use by youth. On the contrary, we believe that taking marijuana sales away from the underground market, and regulating and taxing the product, will enable better systems to restrict its availability to students.
That marijuana use by those underage is accepted as deleterious is not disputed. We also know that alcohol and tobacco use can be dangerous to young people. That is why we have made progress in limiting sales of tobacco and alcohol to minors. Prohibition of marijuana in society has not worked over the past 50 years, and finally taking it out of the black market economy will allow society to better regulate it, and even tax it for prevention education programs.
The price of marijuana has gone down over the past decades, while the potency has gone up. It has always been readily available on campuses since the 1960's. The highest use of pot ever measured was in the mid to late 1970's, when half of all graduating high school seniors admitted to trying it. We must continue to strive for prevention of substance abuse among our young, focusing on the most addictive and dangerous ones like heroin, meth, and the pills in the medicine cabinet like Oxycontin, codeine, and Vicodin.
Voters in Ferndale, Lansing, and Jackson will most likely vote to decriminalize marijuana for adult private use in the upcoming November elections. We should use these developments to renew and strengthen efforts to educate and prevent substance abuse by those who are underage.
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