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Pot Parents: Smoking's Better Than Drinking!

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A controversial new movement promotes pot use instead of alcohol. These parents want to ban pot prohibition because they believe it will save lives.

teen smoking

Gina Kaysen Fernandes: Alcohol and marijuana are the two most popular -- and easily accessible -- substances on college campuses, but they're not treated the same under the law. Possessing pot can land you in jail, but drinking too much at a keg party can kill you. "This highlights the absurdity in how we treat these two substances," said Mason Tvert, the co-founder and executive director of the group Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, or SAFER. Mason has made it his personal mission to debunk the government's anti-marijuana message. "The fact that we have students drinking themselves to death made us realize we had to start some awareness on college campuses," says Mason.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20,000 Americans die every year as a result of drinking too much. It's a tragedy that Mason narrowly escaped. He nearly died from an alcohol overdose in the summer of 2000. The high school senior guzzled beer all day at a country music festival in Arizona. "Beer was widely available, and my friends gave it to me," recalls Mason. Paramedics rushed him to a nearby hospital, where doctors pumped his stomach. Mason's mother didn't know what happened to her son until the next day, because he was 18 years old and the hospital was not required to notify his parents. "He could have died -- I was so worried about that," said Diane Tvert. As a practicing physical therapist, Diane is supportive of her son's efforts to dispel marijuana myths. "I would so much rather he smoke pot than drink and get behind the wheel of a car," said Diane.

Many like-minded moms share her opinion. "I want my children to grow up to believe that laws are just and rational, and if there's injustice, they should fight it," said Jessica Peck Corry, a Denver-based Republican political strategist. Jessica, a former GOP candidate for state senate, is also a cannabis activist who campaigned for a ballot initiative that would decriminalize marijuana possession in Colorado. "We can no longer afford to wage war on a substance that people can grow in their backyard. It's a war we can't win," says Jessica. As a mother of two young children, Jessica says she plans to have an open dialogue with her kids about drug and alcohol use, even though, she says, "I want to place them in this bubble where I can protect them." Jessica believes that by arming her daughters with accurate information, "they will respect their bodies and make good decisions." These moms insist they're not pushing their kids to abuse drugs, but prefer they choose the lesser of two evils. "Things have gotten so skewed. People look at pot like it's the bogeyman. It's not going to kill you; alcohol can kill you," said Diane.

The statistics on the dangers of alcohol are staggering. Drinking on college campuses led to 1,400 deaths, 500,000 injuries, and 70,000 cases of sexual assault or date rape, according to a 2002 study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) task force.

The risks associated with getting stoned are fuzzier. No studies have found a direct link between marijuana overdose and death. There's no objective research that finds pot use contributes to violent or aggressive behavior. "They're correct. Typically people don't get violent; I'll be the first to admit that," said Ken Winters, Ph.D., a psychiatry professor at the University of Minnesota-Fairview who specializes in adolescent substance abuse. "But there are plenty of issues with marijuana. It's not a healthy option," says Winters, who believes parents are fooling themselves if they think smoking pot has no long-term consequences. "Prolonged marijuana use appears to increase memory and learning problems," said Winters, who adds, "like tobacco, habitual pot smoking can also lead to cancer and respiratory diseases." Winters also warns there's new research emerging that suggests marijuana can effect your DNA, which has risky implications. He thinks that parents who rationalize marijuana use are being naïve. Instead, Winters recommends we teach our kids to drink responsibly by sticking to the two-drink rule. "It's no fun to be the 'no-fun police,' but that's what you got into, that's part of parenting."

The so-called "Marijuana is Safer" movement is gaining momentum among college students, but is facing a lot of resistance from campus officials. Mason believes the institutions are part of the problem. On one hand, school administrators are trying to promote responsible drinking, yet "universities are fostering this behavior," argues Mason, by allowing beer companies to sponsor campus events like fraternity parties.

A number of well-known party schools are starting to mellow out on pot penalties. Students are adopting SAFER measures at about a dozen college campuses nationwide, including Colorado State University, University of Colorado-Boulder, Florida State University, University of Maryland, University of Texas-Austin, University of Central Florida, and Ohio State University. Students on these campuses are working to make sure the school penalties for marijuana use are no greater than those for alcohol use.

Mason makes his case for SAFER Referendums in a new book hitting shelves this month, titled "Marijuana is Safer, So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?." Mason co-authored the book along with two other prominent legalization advocates, Steve Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project, and Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

Marijuana is so easily accessible that one in three Americans have tried it at least once, including the three most recent U.S. presidents. The nation's marijuana business is estimated to rake in $113 billion in annual sales. That's not far behind the alcohol industry, which pockets $130 billion per year. For parents like Jessica, it's the fiscal concerns that make her blood boil. "It costs $30,000 a year to incarcerate a pot dealer, and we spend $10,000 a year to educate a child." Jessica thinks it's time that more mothers come forward "because for so long, others have been exploiting our children by perpetuating this war on drugs in the name of our children."

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142 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jeff August 29, 2009, 7:03 PM

Ken Winters should not be quoted as an expert on the effects of cannabis use. His claim that long-term use causes memory problems and respiratory disease is completely contradictory to most recent research, which suggests the opposite. Some studies even show cannabis potentially helping prevent certain types of cancer.

Furthermore, the supposed respiratory effects can be mitigated completely by eating or vaporizing it.

Enough with the fledgling attempts to keep this illegal by unenlightened people with no understanding whatsoever of the vast array of physical, psychological, and spiritual benefits of this incredible plant.

Paul S August 29, 2009, 11:54 PM

This is the continuation of my comment, the third one back (Posted 08/29/09 04:10 PM). Apparently URLs are not allowed in these comments. Nonetheless here are Google search key words for all who want to educate themselves on cannabis science or if you are already knowledgeable on this topic put these studies in your arsenal to debunk reefer madness rhetoric.

Google these headings for some cannabis studies that tell the truth. A few comments within these studies are outdated but the newer ones correct the previous such as when an earlier study says cannabis “may” be related to lung cancer then and later study confirms that it does not.

1) Memory loss can be beneficial for PTSD and Manic depressive disorder:
YouTube search -> Dr. Explains Benifits of Smoking Weed for American Soldiers coming home from IRAQ!

2) Fox News Marijuana Does Not Raise Lung Cancer Risk

3) PubMed Effects of cannabis on lung function: a population-based cohort study.

4) Marijuana’s Active Ingredient Targets Deadly Brain Cancer

5) ncbi A Population-Based Case-Control Study of Marijuana Use and Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

6) WebMD Heavy Marijuana Use Doesn’t Damage Brain

7) ScienceDirect Assessing the impact of cannabis use on trends in diagnosed schizophrenia in the United Kingdom from 1996 to 2005

8) Marijuana Research: Debunking the amotivational syndrome

9) Cannabidiol: from an inactive cannabinoid to a drug with wide spectrum of action

10) WebMD Chemicals in marijuana may fight MRSA

11) ncbi The endocannabinoid system and multiple sclerosis

Dangerous drug? Sience says no!

So why do prohibitionists promote the black market and all its woes over regulation and taxation? It is because the sheeple feed on the fear and lies the Drug Warriors spew. In turn the Drug Warriors feed on our tax money that fund their unwinnable war on humanity and freedom.

Watch the best marijuana documentary ever!-> Google:The Union A very well built documentary about cannabis and drug prohibition.

Paul S August 30, 2009, 3:14 AM

I didn’t expect my comment above to lay out in the way it did. It all runs together. To make it more clear number 1) is a YouTube video so cut and paste The key words after “YouTube search ->” to the YouTube search feild and press “search”. The key words from 2) through 11) are to be used in a Google search.

Joe August 30, 2009, 4:48 AM

All the myths people come up with about Mary j are ridiculous. Sure if you smoke blunts all day everyday your probably going to have some sort of lung problems down the road; and if you smoke, sit on the couch and eat cookies all day your gonna get fat, out of shape, and are most likely never gonna get a girlfriend/boyfriend. But Ive been smoking happily everyday for the past 5 years with no negative effects. I’m in the best physical shape of my life, and I’m more physically and mentally active than I ever was before I started smoking. I’m 19, I go to college and I have plenty of friends. quite frankly smoking pot does not make me a loser, quite contrary to all the ridiculous anti-pot adds we are forced to watch on TV… I find that pot greatly increases my attention span and aptitude for physical things that I am highly interested in such as snowboarding and driving. I laugh at people who tell me smoking makes me a worse driver..Ive been to multiple driving schools including advanced racing schools and emergency handling schools. In every one I was the top performer against older and same aged drivers who were not high, and every time I was stoned…

“The city driving study measured the subjects’ ability to operate a vehicle in urban traffic. for reasons mentioned in the respective chapter the THC dose in that study was restricted to 100 ug/kg. For comparative purposes another group of subjects was treated with a modest dose of alcohol, producing a mean BAC of about 0.04g%. Results of the study showed that the modest dose of alcohol, but not THC, produced a significant impairment in driving performance, relative to placebo. Alcohol impaired driving performance but subjects did not perceive it. THC did not impair driving performance yet the subjects thought it had. After alcohol, there was a tendency towards faster driving and after THC, slower”

Its time to legalize it Sheeple!
“realize the power of love over the love of power”

Mark August 31, 2009, 5:41 PM

Check out that guy down there Matt talking about how he used pot hibitually for 8 years and is blaming it for his insolence.. Hate to break it to you buddy but your own irresponsibility lead to that.. Marijuana is 100% safer than booze.. I’m 19 years old and i’ve almost died numerous times from alcohol abuse and decisions made while intoxicated.. Being high on the other hand has done nothing but good for me mentally and drives me to become active socially and physically.. I guess its all how you go about using pot but theres no doubt that its way more productive mentally and spiritually than alcohol

john September 1, 2009, 1:28 PM

i had a head on with a 18 wheeler in 94 i’ been on doctor med’s from that time.know i am haveing my body swell up gained 54 lbs in 2 weeks. so i stoped taking it blood presure went as high as 265/215 with out any meds. ijust went thru my 28 operation’s a hip replacement. but my swelling went down,my legs got so big that they had blood coming out of them. but the doctor told me in the er if i do not take something to control my pain i will have a heart attack. back in my late teens up in my twenty’s i smoked mj.know at 47 & after reading up on mj that is what i need but the law in my state say’s no by one vote. it is sad to know all the good mj can do for me but i can’t do it legal. i got two boy’s 11&12 that need me. there mother has no right’s to them cause of not feeding them,they had to get food & hide from i’m stuck in a rock & a hard place. if we grew hemp & made fuel out of it it give off no c02,the first diesel run off hemp. my uncle was a logger all he bought was hemp cable till they stoped selling it then he had to go from 5/8 to 3/4 inch cable to do the same the way god made mj & he made all thing’s good. man made alcohol & all the other drug’s that kill people. mj has never killed anybody.the goverment in 1946 was giving this man to go around when mj grew wild on side of the road every where. to kill it. but i do not recall when he started, but in46 is when they caught him putting 1 millon of it in his account. he is the one made movie that if you smoked a joint you would chop your mom &dad head’s off LOL . if this is a free country why can’t a grown men or woman do mj at home it is nobody’s buiness.GO TO THE NORML SITE & FIND OUT THE FACT’S BEFORE YOU PEOPLE SAY BAD THINGS ABOUT IT. THEY HAVE SOME OF THE TOP COLLEGE’S IN OUR NATION SAYS. (ENOUGH SAID) JOHN

georgie September 1, 2009, 4:18 PM

To Matt: Are you sure you didnt have problems before u started smoking? iv smoked for ten years now. im younger but i started younger. im 23 and have my ten year pin! i went to school just fine even middle and high school. i have a 40 hour a week job that it doesnt interfere with at all. I still have a very nice social life and im in better shape then alot of the cigarette smokers i know. sounds like you just got lazy and used it as an excuse.

andrew September 2, 2009, 12:05 AM

matt your stupid if you smoke you just have to keep control of your life. and the drinking age 21?!?! wtf is that we have people dying for us every day who arent even old enough to drink and you think thats ok??? i might just be stupid but i think war is just a little bit more dangerous than having a drink or smoking a blunt. just my opinion

thomasxstewart September 2, 2009, 10:38 AM

For Youth to learn Family Oriented values & starting with friendly encounters, NOT Drug Lua’s, are certainly better basis for teenagers.

Birth control meds be far safer than Marihuana substitute.


only Daily ADDICT Is Better off with Marihuana.

maxwood September 2, 2009, 1:00 PM

1. The picture showing a child with a 1-gram hot burning overdose spliff partly spoils the value of the article. Readers should be guided to moderate safe smoking practices (25-mg. single tokes in a long-stemmed one-hitter made by 14-year-old nearsighted nuns in a garage near you), or vaporizer. 2. “Amotivational syndrome” is tobacco culture (and carbon monoxide) masquerading as an effect of cannabis. Dubious mentors instruct many beginners to relax and wait for something to happen to their head; the activist approach is better, do your work and find out what the herb adds to your effectiveness. Expect to experience, and use, LEAP = Long-term Episodic Associative Performance memory. 3. Binge drinking is God’s gift to the cigarette companies— kids try to selfmedicate on nicotine to recover from a hangover in time to study for the big test, and wind up hooked for life. Cannabis legalization will destroy Big 2Wackgo’s slave empire which is why they support politicians who oppose it, like “pot arrest king” Giuliani (see 2008 campaign statistics).

Anonymous September 2, 2009, 1:43 PM

Do not blame marijuana for your personal choices. It was you that detached yourself, you that skipped your class, and you that made the decisions to do these things, not the weed. Do you only skip class when you smoke? Probably not. Do you only have feelings of detachment while high? Again, I’m guessing it’s not likely. Why people need a scapegoat to blame their personal choices and actions on is baffling. Try taking some responsibility instead of passing it off on to something else.

Pharmf988 September 16, 2009, 12:35 PM

Very nice site!

Jorge October 9, 2009, 8:33 PM

SmithThis article has a lot of truth. It is much healthier than drinking at higher doses, people will not get violent when they smoke as oppose to drinking, pot is not the boogeyman etc. But, PHD Ken Winters says Marijuana smoking causes Cancer and respitary diseases? Pot affects long term memory and learning? Where is the evidence?
I would put money on it that diet does more to affect learning and memory, as does drinking. PHD Ken Winters probably studied nutrition for about 3 hours his entire life.
It’s the poison in our food, that’s what’s frickin us up!
In understand we must be careful with generalizations but since were on the subject: If you put a stoner and a drunk in a classroom, I’ll place my bets on the stoner to retain more information.
… Read More
The most telling: “It costs $30,000 a year to incarcerate a pot dealer, and we spend $10,000 a year to educate a child.”

What a waste of money. I could see how Jessica’s blood would boil when all one wants to do is chill out after a little smoke. If you get drunk, your way more likely to do something irrational.

brandon rodriguez October 10, 2009, 9:35 PM

matt ur a LIAR im 16 and been blazin up since i was 12 and smoked my first sweet at 8 im a junior in highschool taking college classes and kicken butt at it(if someone sees this and wants to film me for tv or ask a question my email adress is

brandon rodriguez October 10, 2009, 9:45 PM

(i hit the wrong button and closed out my last comment continueing last post) to that guy matt i hate you your the reason why its illegal your the person on those above the influence commercials i smoke (im high right now)and i try hard in school im bout to get a job and i talk to people and hang with chicks YOU CONTROL THE SMOKE DONT LET IT CONTROL YOU

jasmine williams November 24, 2009, 8:52 AM

why are they smoking and drinking?

Anonymous January 4, 2010, 1:15 AM


Genie March 12, 2010, 3:05 AM

I cant help but notice when the people leaving comments about the bad effects on marijuana only state just that, million of people each year die from sorosis of the liver due to drinking. Not to mention the millions that die from Drinking and driving accidents. The list goes on. Personally i have went threw dui and alcohol posioning and either are fun. But I got my medical marijuana card and I have not been pulled over, My driving has actually gotten better, i am not temped to drive faster then the speed limit, I dont get too high, and if i do, i simply take a nap? I am not throwing up, I dont feel like i am dying and i am not going to end up in the hospital!! We could tax the marijuana and use it to benfit or society. Also there are plenty of ways to get thc you dont need to smoke it, so if your not smoking it and it has benifical ingredients then why isnt it legal? I think the government has dug themselves into a hole and until everyone can just speak up about it and vote and write letters and protest against it, nothing will change, nothing will ever change unless we the people do something about it! And to all the people saying that you just want your kids to say no! You obivously have some problems with identifing the truth of reality! And should probably smoke some pot yourself!! No teenager is going to say no! Pick the one that isnt going to make you die.

Jen April 21, 2010, 12:55 PM

I have to jump in here. I am a 41 year old woman who has taken up pot smoking. Yes I said it, now deal with it! For me the benefits have been enormous, and I mean huge! I have been on anti depression pills for years. And after finally sinking so low I was afraid when I was driving thinking I could easily end all the pain. Sad I know, but since finding pot, I am a new woman. My hubby is very happy, he gets to have sex everynight! I am more in love with him now then I ever was. The kids are happy, mom no longer yells! I spend time with my kids, and hubby, laugh alot and letting my hair down. I feel gorgeous, my apetite is on track (Not eating anymore crap) only good stuff. I’m also thinking about quitting smoking (regular smokes). So basically I am living my life…not sitting back wanting to do stuff, it’s actually happening to me…now I’m THAT girl, the fun one!!! BTW before pot I was ready to walk out on my hubby…now I can’t let him go ;) now if I could just find a way to not drive to work…

Jen April 21, 2010, 1:08 PM

I also want to comment on the health issue. Aside from being a manic depressive, like alot of people I have aches and pains. When I smoke my whole bodies relaxes, so I can concentrate on things that “hurt”, such as back pain and others. So instead of taking meds for the pain (they don’t help much anyway) I smoke a bit. Within 5 minutes everything is ok. My hubby and I have not slept in the same room for about 12 years. Yes we had our intimate moments, but seriously the poor guy went through hell! Now we are truly a happy couple, spending alot of time together. I am so gaurded when sober. Now I will do what I want, and I encourage him (and those around me)to ask me anything, I’ll give you a straight answer.

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