By Sarah Lovering
A group of local leaders in Santa Barbara seems to have been stricken by a particularly nasty form of Reefer Madness. Last week, the “Don’t Cannabis Our Kids” campaign (huh?) held a press conference to tell the world about a very disturbing “public health threat” to the local children. I had the (apparently) silly notion that they were going to raise awareness about the relative dangers of marijuana versus alcohol, given that alcohol abuse kills more than 70,000 people a year and marijuana kills zero.
I thought that perhaps they were going to express concern about the number of licensed alcohol vendors in the county (more than 1,000), and the fact that our federal government’s policies toward marijuana would have you believe that it’s far more dangerous than alcohol and has no valid medical applications.
Sadly, though, it turns out that the “Don’t Cannabis Our Kids” campaign is actually trying to convince us that medical marijuana collectives are a public health threat to children and should therefore be banned. So, let me get this straight … Allowing people to buy medical marijuana in an establishment that is regulated by its local government, pays taxes, and is so forthright about its operations that it has brick and mortar location, is somehow MORE harmful to children than forcing those transactions to take place in the shadows of the black market?
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I’m sorry, Santa Barbara, but you’re really asking me to toss out my critical thinking skills on this one. Here’s a little advice: if you want to send children helpful messages about drug use, don’t lie to them. Because if you lie to them about marijuana, they might not believe whatever you tell them about alcohol, cocaine, or methamphetamines. And then you’ve really failed them.