Re: Jere Robings' Dec. 10 commentary, â€śSpiral toward despairâ€?:
Mr. Robingsâ€™ heartbreaking story of his grandson raises many issues, and one can only hope this young man finally gets the sort of serious, structured help he needs. But one point Robings makes needs some further thought.
Robings writes of the boy as a seventh-grader trying marijuana â€” "you know, that harmless drug that some want legalized." But it was under our present marijuana laws â€” and indeed, because of our present marijuana laws â€” that this child had easy access to the drug. The only way that will ever change it to replace our failed laws with a system that works.
Consider: If you walk into any store that sells cigarettes, you'll see a large red and yellow sign saying, "Under 18, No Tobacco: We Card." Have you ever seen a drug dealer with a sign like that?
Because tobacco merchants are licensed and regulated, we have some control over them and can take away their license if they sell to kids. And that's why, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen use of cigarettes is dropping twice as quickly as teen marijuana use.
No one wants to see 13-year-olds smoking marijuana. Until we replace the failure of prohibition with common-sense regulation, kids will continue to have easy access.
â€” Bruce Mirken, San Francisco
(The writer is director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, based in Washington, D.C. â€” Editor)