June 30, 2010 in Letters, Opinion

Jail more dangerous than pot


Over this weekend you will see volunteers collecting signatures to place Initiative 1068 on our November ballot. I-1068 would remove all criminal and civil penalties for marijuana. As a father, I am writing to encourage you to sign this petition.

Although I want my children to avoid using any substances, I understand that they will not always heed my advice. My school-age children make independent decisions now as preparation for responsible adulthood, and they make mistakes and don’t always do what I prefer, and I don’t anticipate this changing as they grow into young adults.

If my children choose to try or use marijuana, then that is a matter for our family to address.

The government does not have an interest in this relatively benign private behavior.

There is ample evidence that marijuana is a far more benign substance than alcohol or illicit drugs.

The legal consequences for marijuana, which in Washington state include a mandatory day in jail for simply possessing marijuana, pose greater risk to users than marijuana itself does.

I encourage everyone, especially my fellow parents, to compare the risk of using marijuana with those of incarceration and sign the petition to place I-1068 on the ballot.

Ed Byrnes


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