March 26, 1997

Ann Landers

Reader says marijuana is bad news, any way you smoke it

Dear Ann: I was interested in the letters from readers who want to decriminalize marijuana.

How nice it would be, they said, if we would just make the wacky weed legal. People would be free of tension and the world would be a better place. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? I am glad you didn't agree with them.

Studies show that marijuana is stronger than it used to be. Even years ago, that "harmless" stuff helped transform a lovely, witty, bright-spirited teenage family friend into a manic-depressive, strung-out, frightened girl who wound up not knowing who or where she was.

My ex-husband tried pot when he was 10 years old. The stuff was given to him by his 12 year-old sister, no less. I married the man 20 years after his first experience with pot, believing him when he told me he would never touch it again. I was wrong. I could never figure out why we never had any money, even though we both worked. I found out the answer when I caught him sniffing cocaine in the garage. Soon after, when I discovered 15 marijuana plants growing in our yard, I left him. I knew he'd rather give me up than give up the stuff.
Don't tell the relatives of those who were killed by someone driving under the influence of drugs that marijuana is harmless. Don't tell the teachers whose lethargic students are blowing their minds on the stuff and flunking out of school that they will give it up when the novelty wears off. Don't tell parents crying over their dead children who threw their lives away on drugs that the dangers of pot have been exaggerated.

Don't tell suicide hotline workers that their data is wrong about most suicides being drug and alcohol related. Don't tell those rock stars, actors and actresses who have gone to rehab clinics to get that monkey off their backs that marijuana is harmless. It is known that many who smoke pot graduate to harder stuff like cocaine, speed and LSD.

My message to those who think marijuana is harmless is this: get out from under the cloud you're in and wake up and smell the coffee. I know this letter is too long to print but hearing people say we should legalize pot makes me boil.


Dear J.S.: Thank you for the voice of truth. I am in favor of decriminalization (decreasing penalties for possession) and medicinal use but not legalization. I took that position years ago and have stayed with it.

Gem of the Day: Virtues are almost always learned at your mother's knee. Vices are generally picked up at other joints.