I was a cop in Maryland for 34 years. I'm the last person who wants to see teenagers using marijuana or any other drug. But what I learned in my 34 years is that if you don't want teens to have access to something, prohibiting that thing is the worst thing you can do ("Harms of marijuana use," Dec. 17). Prohibition just puts it in the hands of unregulated, unlicensed dealers who sell product of unknown quality to anyone, which is why teens consistently tell us it's easier to buy marijuana than to buy alcohol.
If you want to address the problem of underage use, and to ensure marijuana is safer for everyone, put it in the hands of licensed sellers accountable to the government. Not only will this cut back on teen use, it ensures that the profits created go back into our communities — where they can be used for education, treatment and prevention problems — rather than into the pockets of the violent gangs who control the trade on the streets.
Neill Franklin, Silver Spring
The writer is executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
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