David Frum – once a conservative speechwriter for George W. Bush, then a liberal who ridiculed conservatives, is now a liberal who says you are too stupid for marijuana to be legal.
He recently wrote an op-ed piece on CNN’s website, describing why he is against legalization. In a nutshell, he favors keeping marijuana illegal because “drug are bad, mmmkay,” is the only thing kids and teens understand.
You see, according to David Frum, marijuana comes with all kinds of risks, according to studies he cherry-picked for his purposes. He cites a study that says marijuana harms the lungs; well, another study says otherwise. He says marijuana damages brain function, yet another study says otherwise. He says marijuana triggers psychosis but another study says troubled teens may just seek marijuana out for some relief.
But the main thrust of Frum’s argument is that marijuana has to be illegal so teens think it’s bad. According to him, teens won’t understand “weed is legal, but here are the reasons you shouldn’t use it” argument.
Yet as a parent of three, two exiting adolescence and one entering, I’ve found that the argument that makes the biggest impression is: “Marijuana is illegal. Stay away.” I think many other parents have found the same thing.
When we write social rules, we always need to consider: Who are we writing rules for? Some people can cope with complexity. Others need clarity. Some people will snap back from an early mistake. Others will never recover.
The only thing I got from those paragraphs is that David Frum thinks his kids are dumb. That seems like a personal problem that is best left in private. Be that as it may, most kids don’t use cigarettes, and use them at a much lower rate than adults. Why is that?
The main reason is that anyone under 21 can’t walk into a store and buy a pack of cigarettes, but as we’ve pointed out many times before, drug dealers don’t check I.D. If cigarettes were illegal, kids would be able to buy them on the black market much easier than they can get them now.
Another reason kids avoid cigarettes is because it is common knowledge that they cause cancer. These two things combined are enough to keep the vast majority of teens from smoking tobacco.
What David Frum really means is that it will be harder to lie about marijuana if it’s legal. More information getting out about something is what those who are wrong fear the most. We welcome research into the cannabis plant; our opponents block it. We welcome scrutiny, they would rather everyone ignore us.
If you have to lie to teens to keep them away from something, is it worth keeping them away from it? Shouldn’t education be focused on the myriad of things that teens can die from, instead of focusing on marijuana?
The entire argument of people like David Frum is based on the assumption that making something legal makes it easier for teens to get, when the opposite is true. Prohibition does not equal control.