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Kids Smoke Marijuana, White House Drug Czar Shocked and Outraged, Blames Medical Marijuana

“Alarming” increases in marijuana use upon teenagers according to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Reporting that they’ve smoked pot in the last month: 6.6% of teenagers in 2009 increased to 6.9% in 2010 (I can hear society crumbling around me as I write this).

I can’t find a video of Gil Kerlikowske’s press conference (the drug czar aka head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy) talking about the results of the survey, but supposedly he said this:

“Emerging research reveals potential links between state laws permitting access to smoked medical marijuana and higher rates of marijuana use,” Gil Kerlikowske, director of National Drug Control Policy, said in a written statement. ” I urge every family – but particularly those in states targeted by pro-drug political campaigns – to redouble their efforts to shield young people from serious harm by educating them about the real health and safety consequences caused by illegal drug use.”

Here is my added emphasis in bold: “Emerging research reveals potential (what does that mean? I am potentially a millionaire if I buy a  lotto ticket) links between state laws permitting access to smoked medical marijuana and higher rates of marijuana use, (ah duh… giving people the right to do something usually leads to some people exercising that right). I urge every family – but particularly those in states targeted by pro-drug (I could get all syntactical but what’s the point) political campaigns – to redouble their efforts to shield young people from serious harm by educating them about the real health and safety consequences caused by illegal (but not legal) drug use.”

Couldn’t agree more that we should shield young people from the serious and real health and safety consequences, of which with marijuana there is very few. Despite the commercials, there has never been a reported case of any kid smoking weed and blowing his brains out on accident with his dad’s gun, or running over a little girl as you exit the drive thru (I could be wrong, if so, please link me to a story, I would like to know). I can’t find any news stories or anecdotes that are of concern when I search for “marijuana related deaths” except for stories about law enforcement killing Mexican Mafia members. “Marijuana related injuries” returns similar stories of people being hurt while being arrested by police.

Here is an open letter to the drug czar that I probably wouldn’t have the motivation to write if I was stoned. (For the record, I used to smoke A LOT of weed, nowadays I don’t smoke at all, and I turned out to be a productive and relatively successful member of society… maybe because I did smoke weed? That sounds like the kind of conclusion Gil’s highly scientific mind would come up with…)

Dear Gil Kerlikowske,

Kids are always going to be using drugs, especially since the politicians and bureaucrats seem unwilling to fix any of the socioeconomic problems that inspire drug use. The way I see it, as long as these kids are going to be doing drugs, its probably a good idea that they are doing marijuana and not heroin or crystal meth. Your Office of National Drug Control Policy has actually done a really good job of informing the public of the dangers of these “hard drugs” and I applaud your efforts. Perhaps you should see the slight uptick in teenage marijuana use, and the subsequent decline in crystal meth and heroin use reported by your office, as a reason to celebrate the efficacy of your propaganda. You have educated the youth of America about the dangers of drugs, and they have chosen to use the drug that is the least harmful to them, and by least harmful, I mean harmful only to their motivation to do anything but eat and play video games.

While we are on the subject, I would also like to point out the hypocrisy of going after marijuana and leaving alcohol alone. I am not sure if your Office is mandated to protect the public’s health, or if you are just stooges for the alcoholic beverage industry, but there is a startling statistic that you may not be aware of (I’m not sure how much information you are privy to, what with your head being so far up your own ass and all): the number of underage drinkers, legal drinkers, and innocent nondrinkers who die from alcohol or alcohol related injuries every year: a whole lot. Number who die from marijuana: . I have heard you throw around the statistic of intoxicated drivers testing positive for marijuana, but using this statistic to imply that the drivers were impaired on marijuana at the time of their arrest is a failure to understand the science behind drug testing. Marijuana is fat soluble and someone can test positive for it 3-4 weeks after a single instance of use. I know that you know this, but it doesn’t serve your purposes to mention it, so of course you do not.

I applaud your efforts to have parents talk to their children about the effects of drugs, and I hope that by starting that conversation, parents can also take the chance to extend the dialogue into the subject of the disastrous policy that has been America’s War on Drugs, and specifically the prohibition of cannabis. The billions of dollars wasted on law enforcement is dwarfed by the incalculable costs to America families who have a love one imprisoned or fighting their way through the legal system. One of your favorite statistics to flaunt, that most people who are in drug treatment are there for marijuana, ignores the realities of court-ordered drug treatment for non-addicts who are caught in the unjust legal web of prohibition. Your insinuation is analogous to saying that every person who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic, or every person who wants to have sex is a sex addict.

Again, I am not sure what your Office’s exact mandate is, or if you personally have the critical thinking skills and moral backbone required to positively impact the society that you are supposed to be serving, but it would seem to me that the most reasonable thing to do would be to discourage people from using drugs that are actually harmful to them, rather than imprisoning and persecuting people who use substances that are less harmful to the body than aspirin.

If you are following me so far, I’d like to share with some more of my thinking: the only reason alcohol is legal, and marijuana is illegal, is because marijuana can be grown in your backyard with no formal training or horticultural aptitude, ergo there is no money or lobbying interest for marijuana (there is NORML, but their revenue base is donations from stoners, whereas Ambev and Diageo had did more than $45 billion in sales between the two of them last year), and no campaign contributions from the Marijuana Growers Association of America (because that trade group doesn’t exist <yet>). There is also the ever insidious pharmaceutical industry, which probably benefits from more artificial scarcity than any other industry on earth thanks to the protections and regulations afforded to it by the government that you work for. They sure as hell don’t want you to be able to grow something that can replace 90% of the things in your medicine cabinet; it would be really bad for their bottom line.

The moral of the story is that businesses (and by extension, politicians) can profit from producing and selling alcohol, but not so with marijuana.

Maybe you should run this by your boss, the President of the United States of America, who has admitted to his own use of marijuana and cocaine (and yet still managed to attain the position of the most powerful person in the world).

Yours Truly,

Anyone with half a brain

P.S. Your crack team of scientists might want to examine the correlation between teenage unemployment and teenage drug use, and then get your boss and his friends to do something to give these kids some hope for the future.


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