Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kids These Days: Adult consistency has gone to pot

Lots of kids in Newport-Mesa smoke marijuana. Weed does not discriminate
on the basis of income, gender, race or religion. Unlike powder cocaine,
it is an equal-opportunity drug.

The 2008 Monitoring the Future study by the University of Michigan
revealed that nationally, 10.9% of eighth-graders, 23.9% of 10th-graders
and 32.4% of 12th-graders have smoked pot.

About 95 million Americans have smoked marijuana at least once,
according to the U. S. Government’s Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Data Archive.

Americans age 18 to 34 and those age 35 to 50 each count about 36% of
their respective groups as current or former pot smokers, also according
to the data.

Marijuana is the most tested drug in the history of the world. Mounting
evidence shows that marijuana has legitimate medicinal purposes.

Long before the latest evidence, Golden Staters chose medical marijuana
at the polls: In 1996, California voters overwhelmingly passed
Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, which allows patients with a
valid doctor’s recommendation, to grow, possess and use marijuana
for personal medical use.

After the proposition’s passage, the federal government decided
that our vote did not matter and tried various tactics to enforce the
federal law, which does not allow marijuana for personal use, medical or

As a candidate for president, Barack Obama said he would end the Drug
Enforcement Administration raids on pot dispensaries.

Almost a year ago, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder announced “a shift in
the enforcement of federal drug laws,†and indicated that the
Obama administration would end the Bush administration’s frequent
raids on distributors of medical marijuana.

But talk is cheap. On Feb. 18, federal agents raided a dispensary in
Culver City.

Locally, Costa Mesa does not allow the sale of medical marijuana and, on
March 4, Costa Mesa officials “ordered three medical marijuana
dispensaries operating in the city to stop selling pot,â€
according to the Daily Pilot article Friday.

But it was a line near the end of the report that got my attention:

“Costa Mesa has recently begun enforcing its anti-dispensary
ordinance more stringently.â€

My concern is not about medical marijuana and whether it should be
allowed. My concern is about the mixed messages that are being sent to
our children by government officials â€" those in whom they are
supposed to have tremendous faith and trust.

The issue happens to be medical marijuana, but it could be about any
product or service that has been deemed by state voters to be OK and by
the executive branch of the federal government as a low priority, even a
nonexistent one.

The story is not really about pot, it is about ensuring that the torch
we are passing to our kids is bright, not dimmed by those who have
decided on our behalf that a state law and the change in the federal
focus are meaningless.

Kids should want to vote. They should want to be engaged in the orderly
process of elections and majority rule. But it is difficult to get them
engaged when they can legitimately look around and say,
“What’s the point?â€

No comments: