The ad just shown is the latest attempt by the Office of National Drug Control Policy to distort fact and opinion when it comes to marijuana. Now I have never used marijuana nor do I harbor resentment toward those who have. I can’t seem to ignore however increasing reports that have become public recently touting the potential health benefits of smoking marijuana and myriad medical research coming to light.

“These findings that cannabinoids work both to prevent inflammation and to protect the brain may set the stage for their use as a therapeutic approach for [Alzheimer’s disease],”

I also find it compelling that the National Youth Anti-Drug Campaign used leeches as a metaphor for all illicit drugs, when they are in fact approved by the FDA for medical applications. That’s right, leeches are still used medicinally in hospitals to prevent clotting and restore circulation to extremities after some surgeries.

Some may be asking why marijuana was criminalized in the first place. This article is not an attempt to chart the drugs history, although you will find a good article on the subject here. The purpose is to ask an old question, what would be the effect of legalization. It now appears that marijuana has become the United States largest cash crop ahead of corn, soybeans and hay. What would be the effect of regulation and levied taxes not to mention the potential drop in crime rates coupled with recidivism rates of minor drug users not exposed to the prison population?

Perhaps we should use the $120 Million set aside for the Youth Campaign in 2007 to study this possibility. An OMB assessment in 2003 of the Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign found that despite a solid design, it was only 6% successful. Furthermore the following GAO report suggests teens and girls who watched the ads were more likely to use marijuana and Drug Czar John Walters admitted

anti-drug advertising was failing and may have tempted more kids to try
marijuana. He called for more rigorous testing of the ads.

With a majority of Americans supporting the introduction of medical marijuana, let’s hear what you think with regard to the effectiveness of ads aimed at youth and what should be the next step.

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