Education and regulation worked for tobacco and will work for marijuana

To the Editor:

It’s a fact: Today, more New Hampshire teens are using marijuana than tobacco.

Why is that? Is it because some do-gooder made it a crime for adults to possess tobacco? Of course not. It’s because education and regulation have proven to be much more effective than the failed War on Drugs approach we have taken to marijuana.

The success of our national tobacco policy is truly worth celebrating. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the percentage of high school students who said they had smoked a cigarette in the last month peaked in 1997 at 36.4 percent, but by 2011, that number had cut in half, to 18.1 percent.

Given this remarkable record of success, wouldn’t you think we’d want to learn what actually works and consider a similar policy for marijuana?

Kids today know tobacco is addictive and very harmful to their bodies, and as a result, there has been a remarkable shift in our societal attitudes against smoking.

By contrast, it’s clear that kids today are believing the federal government’s dishonest line on marijuana less and less. For decades, policy makers have insisted on keeping marijuana in the same category as much more dangerous drugs, such as heroin, an absurdly unscientific classification that has undermined our ability to educate young people about the facts.

As a parent of two teenagers, I would be very pleased to see HB 492 pass into law. This marijuana regulation bill has already been approved once by the New Hampshire House this year, but it will need to pass again next week in order to reach the Senate.

HB 492 would do what the War on Drugs could never do, which is to finally get marijuana under control. With sensible regulations, we can limit legal sales to 21 and we can begin educating teens about the true risks of marijuana use.

Please listen to a father who is concerned about marijuana’s easy availability now. If you are a state Rep, please vote in favor of HB 492. Or please call your rep and urge him or her to better protect our kids, get it under control, enable education to begin.

Thank you.


State senator 1990-2004

New Castle