I would like to respond to the recent letter about keeping cannabis illegal. Whether or not cannabis is physically and/or psychologically addictive ignores the fact that by prohibiting cannabis we are empowering criminals at the same time we are putting children and teenagers at risk.
I imagine that the letter writer has heard of Al Capone and why he benefited from the illegality of alcohol during that failed Prohibition. Al Capone is no longer alive, but we now have even more vicious drug cartels in Mexico that are similarly benefiting from an illegal product that many people want to consume. By legalizing cannabis we could hurt the profit margins of those cartels and have a regulated product with quality controls and age restrictions.
According to High School Risk Behavior Surveys released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, teenagers have easier access to cannabis, an illegal product, than they do to alcohol or tobacco. The reason is that people who sell alcohol and tobacco have a license to do so and therefore will enforce age restriction laws, whereas the high school pot dealer doesn't care how old the customer is.
Parents who consume cannabis with their kids should be punished just like parents who supply alcohol to underage parties should be punished.
In America we have many addictive substances and behaviors that are legally tolerated so long as adults engage in them in a responsible way, and cannabis consumption should be no different, regardless of its addictive potential. We need to be spending precious law enforcement time and money catching dangerous criminals, not responsible adults who choose to consume the dried flowers of this particular plant.