In the news: marijuana legalization

Since drug policy affects youth drug abuse, I have set up regular Google Alerts about "marijuana legalization". No matter what your stance on marijuana policy, it's useful to know what is being reported and debated. Here are a few of the articles that I find interesting.

Portugal's drug policy pays off: US eyes lessons (Seattle Times) -- This article really isn't about legalization since Portugal decriminalized, not legalized, marijuana:

Drugs in Portugal are still illegal. But here's what Portugal did: It changed the law so that users are sent to counseling and sometimes treatment instead of criminal courts and prison. The switch from drugs as a criminal issue to a public health one was aimed at preventing users from going underground.

Other European countries treat drugs as a public health problem, too, but Portugal stands out as the only one that has written that approach into law. The result: More people tried drugs, but fewer ended up addicted.

Time to again moblize against marijuana (Christian Science Monitor) -- This editorial suggests that President Obama should speak out against marijuana legalization:

The culture of pot acceptance must be reversed in America. It was turned back after 1979, and that can happen again. But the drug czar can’t do it alone. We need the man at the top, and all of the relevant administration players, saying the same thing, and saying it often. What’s good for the president’s children is good for the country. He must tell us so.

Afternoon jolt: Pot reform (Publicola) -- This post reports on local initiatives to legalize marijuana in Washington.

Time to answer concerns to advance marijuana policy reform (Seattle Times) -- This opinion piece is written by a former UW professor and he suggests that the following concerns need to be addressed when discussing possible marijuana legalization:

• Protecting adult civil liberties,
• Effectively preventing marijuana's harms to children and adolescents,
• Acknowledging the reality of marijuana dependence and addressing its prevention and treatment,
• Proposing credible prevention of accidents because of driving while stoned, and
• Identifying specific health risks from pot use in vulnerable groups (for example, individuals with cardiovascular disease).

When should I call the cops about my neighbors weed smoking? (Seattle PI) -- A blog entry with interesting comments following it.