Legalizing marijuana makes it harder for kids to buy pot

February 08, 2010

I fail to understand why Mike Gimbel is so concerned about the potential negative effect of marijuana dispensaries to "our communities, especially our children" ("Md. couldn't control marijuana dispensaries," Readers respond, Feb. 5). All evidence from California's experience is to the contrary.

WIth a physician prescription, adults have no problem obtaining marijuana from legal dispensaries there. An unintended consequence of the dispensaries is that marijuana drug dealers have been largely put out of business, thereby eliminating sources for teenagers to get marijuana. In addition, the medical marijuana dispensaries pose less nuisance to communities than a liquor store. Finally Mr. Gimbel's puritanical stance toward marijuana is baffling. Today no reasonable person can argue that the act of consuming the chemical tetrahydracannabinol (THC) is more dangerous than drinking alcohol -- operation of heavy machinery aside.

I have seen alcohol destroy lives, disrupt families and lead to violent behaviior. I have never experienced similar situations from marijuana use. Moreover, in my experience, the true "gateway drug" to harder drug use has always been alcohol.

It is now 2010. Medical marijuana is a step in the right direction. However, It is time for Maryland to legalize marijuana for adults and tax marijuana as a revenue source. Imagine the possibilities if some of this tax revenue was earmarked for substance abuse programs.

Christopher I. Moylan, Towson

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