LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Alcohol’s dangers undersold to youth

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I was disappointed that Rebecca Hagelin’s column, “Marijuana is a dangerous drug, not a joking matter” (Jan. 8), made no mention of the legal drug that does far more harm than her exaggerated dangers of marijuana; namely, alcohol.

Alcohol causes tens of thousands of deaths each year through disease and overdose. There has never been a single death attributable solely to marijuana. Alcohol use is associated with violence and aggression, but marijuana is not. Every objective study that has compared the two substances has concluded that marijuana is safer than alcohol.

Yet Ms. Hagelin is more worried that allowing responsible adults to make the safer choice by legally purchasing marijuana from regulated businesses that check IDs will somehow lead to a generation of lost youth. She doesn’t seem particularly concerned with the fact that a much more dangerous drug is widely available in far more places and is heavily promoted in pop culture and advertising. That is the real joke here.

While it is unfortunate that the child she mentioned accidentally got slightly ill from a marijuana cookie, we should be thankful the kid didn’t find a bottle of alcohol. This story could have ended much, much worse. Yet no one is using this incident to call for a return to alcohol prohibition.

Instead of continuing the expensive failure that is marijuana prohibition, we should regulate the marijuana market to help keep it away from youth. We should also be honest with children about the relative harms of drugs. We cannot have honest drug education when we arrest adults for using marijuana while allowing and promoting a much more dangerous substance.


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