California Forum

The Conversation / Legalized pot and children


Last Sunday’s Conversation asked the question: If recreational marijuana is legalized in California, what are your concerns about the impact on children?


Stop wasting money on war on pot

Re “Don’t hop on magic weed bandwagon yet” (Forum, Dan Morain, Nov. 8): These anti-legalization arguments are strikingly weak.

While no responsible person wants children to experiment with marijuana, any child who wants it already has access. Whatever we do to discourage access of children to alcohol and tobacco should be applied to marijuana.

We do know that most meth and heroin addicts had previously used marijuana, but we also know that most of them drank milk when they were growing up. Gateway drug? Most serial murderers previously used caffeine. Gateway drug?

I personally know marijuana smokers who became judges, lawyers, professors and doctors. One user became the winningest Olympic champion and one became president. But it would be just as silly to infer that marijuana is a “gateway” to high achievement.

The only issue is, should we continue to waste billions of dollars in a hopeless war against marijuana or should we reap billions of dollars in sales and income taxes?

Fred Hayward,


The pretty poison pleasure of pot

Marijuana is a pretty poison. Its pleasure is transitory, falsely distorting the mind, slowly damaging it and people’s lives. Its recreational use diminishes lives and can destroy them.

I knew young people who smoked it occasionally, five of whom became regular smokers. Two went on to harder drugs, one is now dead. The other three eventually chose it over their families, leaving their wives and children. These are good people, not bad. But it has left their lives, and others’, worse.

Only the pushers really benefit. If your life is lacking, and you are searching for anything pleasing, it will give you a brief trip to a magic land of pleasure. But there is a cost, and it can be high.

Bill Jurkovich, Citrus Heights

Legalized pot brings environmental loss

The Bee’s editorial board laid it all out in a July 3 editorial: “Thousands of growers are doing the same despicable things to the environment all over California.” The board’s focus then was on the illegal pollution of rivers and streams by pot cultivators. Since then, I have not seen a reference to the impact on our environment in articles over the past few months.

Dan Morain’s column is no different. He comments on many aspects of legalization but omits any reference to the inevitable huge demands on water and habitat.

Anyone who expects that clean water laws will protect us from the exploitation of our environment by well-heeled pot growers lives in a world of denial. Current state policy is simply to work with growers through regulation and education. When really big money arrives on the scene, can we really believe that water laws will be enforced?

Alan D. Wade, Sacramento

Focus on lobbyists, influence

So corporate interests and well-funded lobbyists are problematic for the future of pot. Rather than attack this initiative, wouldn’t Dan Morain’s efforts be better directed at that issue?

Wade Sammis, Sacramento

Weed law will not protect kids

I agree with Kevin de León’s stand on legalizing recreational marijuana. Although pot is a nonaddictive substance, it is without question an entry drug for those who will come to embrace a drug culture.

Having taught the children of drug-addicted mothers, I saw the consequences of drug usage. Babies born with drugs in their bodies and raised by addicted mothers are the innocent victims. Without exception, all of the mothers whom I came to know, began with marijuana and then moved on to meth, heroin and cocaine.

The new legislation is supposed to protect children. Believe me, kids will find ways to get pot; and for the California Teachers Association to back this legislation is shocking. Legalizing recreational marijuana sends a clear message to young people that it’s an OK substance. Well, it’s not.

Doris Concklin, Carmichael

Paul Caetano – To answer the question: No more than the impact beer and alcohol and prescription drugs has on kids.

Wesley Rodericks – Making it legal will likely make it harder to get. It’s far more difficult for a minor to get alcohol than pot.

Jason Hammond – By the way, legalizing marijuana does not mean that kids will use it more. They already do.

Aaron Linder – It is readily available as a street drug. It won’t affect teen usage much.

Russell Stearns – I think alcohol is much more of a risk factor with young people than marijuana.

Zack Hill – What impact? Cigarettes and alcohol are hundreds of times more deadly, and they are totally legal.

Phineas Worthington – The concerns of legal marijuana are no different than alcohol, prescription drugs, prostitution, or gambling. Just because something is legal does not make it a good choice.

Audrey Jimenez-Steele – When you work with troubled kids who started smoking weed at age 11 and then alcohol and then other drugs, then you’ll have a different perspective.

Anthony Watson – Illegality has made the drug easier for children to get. As a frustrated parent, I urge people to recognize that a legal operator is motivated to keep the product out of children’s hands while the illegal operator just does not care.