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End Marijuana Prohibition: Vote Yes On Measure 3

As parents and grandparents, we want our children to be safe from harm. We do not want them to use alcohol, tobacco or marijuana. However, we are not naive; we know that some of our children will make bad choices. Tobacco and alcohol are manufactured and sold by ethical businesses who must meet certain standards before they can be offered to the public. Prohibited products like marijuana are not subject to those same standards therefore, our children are at risk for death, imprisonment or impaired bodies and minds.

Imagine your grandmother, 80 years old, going to a street corner to buy Prilosec and Xanax from a 19-year-old who offers the two drugs in a crumpled plastic bag with no markings, labels or dosage amounts and handles it all with dirty hands. This is the type of dealer your kids will buy

their prohibited drugs from.

Children can access marijuana anywhere because it is not sold in stores -- it is sold on street corners and in schools. The seller has no obligation to prove dose or sanitation. The seller does not care how old the customer is. The quantity of the dose is unknown. The quality of the produce is unknown. The cleanliness of the product is unknown.

When a child approaches a seller for marijuana, the seller would rather sell something highly addictive so that the customer comes back more often. The seller will typically have other drugs to offer including methamphetamines, heroin, cocaine, speed, downers and various legal drugs like Valium or Ativan. Therefore, marijuana is a gateway drug to other illegal drugs as long as it remains illegal.

Let's say that, regrettably, your child does make an error and buys an illegal drug. If your child is one of the unlucky ones to be caught by law enforcement, the penalty is to be locked in a cage as punishment. Under current law, your child will have a felony status permanently attached to his

name which will make employment very difficult.

Because marijuana is illegal, when a problem occurs the child is likely to be deceptive instead of helpful.

Marijuana has never killed anyone by consuming too much.

After legalization, most users will never smoke it again. Prohibition only offers marijuana in dry, smokable leaf form. The free market offers marijuana in pill form, or transdermal patch, vapor, capsule, tincture etc.

For thousands of years, the human race has used marijuana as a medicine. There are thousands of receptors in the human body ready to incorporate its use. Man made drugs have no receptors in the human body, therefore pharmaceutical drugs have bizarre and upsetting side effects, some of them potentially lethal.

The drug trade has long been a source of income for organized crime. But now that four states have legalized marijuana, domestic product is beating imported Mexican marijuana in both price and quality. Mexican farmers growing for the drug cartels have seen their returns drop from $100 per kilo to under $25.

Here's another way to look at it: Why should we continue to give business opportunities to violent criminals who don't pay taxes and follow no regulations?

For these reasons, I choose to vote Yes on Measure #3 to make marijuana legal in North Dakota.

This is a paid endorsement letter to the editor.