Getting the message to parents DrugWarRant / Pete Guither / 11,25,2011 In the Ottawa Citizen: Kelly Egan: Pot problem: parents won’t go for legalization Ordinary people are not going to read academic studies, unravel complex science on addictions, or solve a harm-benefit equation. They are probably going to ask themselves: Would you buy a bag of weed and give it to your teenager? The hell you would, Mom and Dad. One afternoon this week, I sat down with a mother who wanted to quietly scream about the media’s depiction of marijuana as a soft, even helpful drug, that the state should legalize and control. She has a son, 20. He began using marijuana when he was about 14. It soon turned into daily use, sometimes before school. So school became a problem. “He just seemed so spaced out all the time,” said his mother, a 50-ish federal public servant. “He became very secretive about where he was going.” Within a couple of years, he was dealing. Then he was expelled. He was a good athlete, but gave up sports, gave up his sports friends and soon ran with another crowd. It changed the whole dynamic of the family. “I would dread coming home at night because I didn’t know who I’d find there.” Not a completely unfamiliar story. And there is so much going on in there that requires thoughtful analysis, particularly when you learn more about him… The boy grew up in a middle-class suburb, with many advantages. He was taken to counsellors, psychologists, doctors. He couldn’t seem to stick with a program. His parents have joined support groups and sought help from the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. The boy has an older brother, who is thriving. It vexes the mother how one could be so focused and the other so lacking in motivation. The young man suffers from depression. Is this a story about marijuana abuse or something else entirely? Seems to me that there were a number of issues here and that marijuana may have just been a symptom reliever. So what’s the conclusion from the author of the article? And, in a nutshell, that is why state-control of marijuana will probably never happen. Because an ordinary citizen, a garden-variety parent, does not want to be party to the creation of a nation of young pot-heads. Period. Really? Is that what we learn from this story? Is prohibition why the older brother didn’t abuse marijuana? How did prohibition help the younger brother? It seems to me that all his problems happened under prohibition. So why is that an argument against legalization? He dealt marijuana and hung out with that crowd. Would that have happened if marijuana was legal? Wouldn’t legal marijuana have an age restriction? It baffles me that people continue to look at the drug problems under prohibition and list them as reasons why legalization would be bad. There’s no evidence that legalization would exacerbate these prohibition-related problems and plenty of evidence that we’d have a better chance of helping people who abuse drugs without the sledge hammer of prohibition. Every time one of these parents comes forward we need to ask why they support having criminals control the drug market. How does that help their children?