Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) recently pumped the brakes on the chances of the House-approved SAFE Banking Act getting through his committee. An op-ed published by The Washington Examiner this week applauds that decision, claiming it’s in the name of “safeguarding children”.
I’ve covered this specific topic before, but you can never make a good point too many times. The article linked in the previous paragraph has a lot of the talking points expected from someone who supports cannabis prohibition (although this group – Smart Colorado – claims to be neutral on legalization for adults, they still fight legalization, which leaves prohibition in place).
The hits are all there: big marijuana targeting your kids, comparisons to much more dangerous substances like tobacco and opioids, money spent by lobbying groups in support of legalization, “this is not your grandfather’s marijuana” and more!
The underlying premise to all of this is that marijuana legalization will somehow make marijuana available to kids. Although data has consistently shown teen cannabis use has stayed the same or has dropped nationwide and in states with adult-use legalization, let’s go through the logic one more time.
Let’s say you are a parent and you would rather your teen not use marijuana. Under prohibition, who is marketing marijuana to your kids? Drug dealers. Who has no incentive not to sell marijuana to your kids? Drug dealers. Where can your kids go right now and buy some marijuana? A drug dealer.
Under legalization, licensed retailers have incentives not to sell their products to those who are underage, namely that they want to keep the license that allows them to sell marijuana to those who are of age. The notion that “Big Marijuana” is going to market to kids is ludicrous. Why would you target a demographic that can’t legally buy your product?
Cannabis companies are marketing to people who can come into a store or go online and buy their marijuana products. Their motives and tactics are pretty transparent: They want you to buy marijuana and marijuana accessories and you can only do that legally if you’re old enough.
Cannabis companies don’t care about your kids; your kids don’t have the ability to give them money. Once they are 21 of course, all bets are off. That’s the nature of business and – gasp – letting adults make their own decisions.
The longer someone fights legalization, the longer they are exposing your kids to the increased risk of being able to buy marijuana. Prohibition doesn’t safeguard your children. Inasmuch as that can be accomplished, legalization provides the incentives necessary while economically undercutting illicit dealers.
Simple, clear laws work better than complicated, confusing laws. They are also better at their intended purpose, like keeping marijuana from kids.
This definition of marijuana tells everyone that marijuana is not for kids:
(16) The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L., which is, as are the viable seeds of such plant, prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company, and such smoke is prohibited to be inhaled by any child or by any person bearing any firearm, as is their intake of any part or any product of such plant containing more than 0.3% THC by weight unless prescribed to such child by an authorized medical practitioner.
The politicians prefer this definition that tells no one that marijuana is not for kids:
(16)(A) Subject to subparagraph (B), the term “marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin.
(B) The term “marihuana” does not include (i) hemp, as defined in section 1639o of title 7; or (ii) the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.
People need to tell the politicians to change the definition of marijuana, to do better at keeping it from kids.