Prohibition is not the way to control use of marijuana
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Sen. Daylin Leach has laid out a very strong argument for responsible regulation of cannabis ("Legalize Marijuana: We're Locking Up Pennsylvanians at Great Cost for No Reason," Jan. 9 Perspectives). I would add a couple ideas on how that could work.
Prohibition has proved the opposite of control. If you want to keep cannabis away from your kids -- and you should -- you will want government agents checking IDs at point of purchase. We have that mechanism already with the state store system, assuming Gov. Tom Corbett doesn't give that away, too. Sales controlled by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board could ensure no advertising or other promotion of the drug, as well as quality control of the product.
Worried that legalization would "send the wrong message" that consumption of this intoxicant would now be "OK"? Remember that use of tobacco, an extremely addictive substance, has been cut in half through public health campaigns that did not arrest a single smoker.
The heavy taxes collected directly by the state would provide funding for effective programs that would discourage use by minors, something the criminal justice system and laughably false propaganda have utterly failed to do.
First Published January 14, 2013 12:00 am