Drug testing students not the answer | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Drug testing students not the answer

Tahoe Daily Tribune Staff Reports

This is not your father’s marijuana. That is exactly why the federal government and local law enforcement agencies are wanting to not only go after the suppliers, but stop the demand.

As the potency of the drug became significantly stronger, the rate of dependency kept a parallel course. It is 12- to 17-year-olds who are starting off with the potent drug, unlike their parents who, if they used, smoked a much milder crop. And because of the potency this age group is more dependent on pot than other illicit drugs, cigarettes or alcohol.

The same cannot be said for everyone 12 and older. Marijuana dependency is at the bottom of the list for this group. This is attributed to older people either not using or using less potent marijuana.

If drug czar John Walters had his way, he would drug test students, eliminate medical marijuana use and abolish all talk of legalizing the drug in any form. Walters spoke to nearly 250 frontline enforcers at Embassy Suites this week.

It was a pep talk of sorts for the audience filled with clean-cut narcs and undercover agents, dressed for the part, who looked like they could offer hotel guests something to buy. Theirs is not an enviable job. Enforcement of any kind never is. What they do, though, is commendable. For the most part they are getting the bad guys.

It is the policy set in Washington, D.C. that needs to be questioned. Walters says science proves medical marijuana is a farce. Those who are advocates for its use and the patients who have benefited from it would bring their own science to the table.

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In a regulated manner there is no reason to not provide patients with medicinal marijuana. It has been proven that it brings relief to glaucoma sufferers, stimulates appetites of nauseated cancer patients and relieves pain in others.

Already the federal government is in our lives in ways it should not be. How is it that President Bush can push for drug testing, when the Republican Party’s mantra is for less government? Though Walters says the testing would be used for education and treatment and never punishment, our government does not have a good track record for keeping such a promise.

Education and treatment are critical components to eradicating use whether it be youngsters or adults. However, it is more important to look at why people are trying any drug. Those reasons will provide the answers to squelching the growing trend of marijuana use among our children.

Just saying no and random drug testing are not the answers. After all, if there is no punishment, then where is the incentive to stop using? Clearly, those in Washington are not thinking logically.