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February 2009
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A discussion about drug policy? In a newspaper?

The Nashua Telegraph (NH) actually has a significant discussion going on in the paper about marijuana (and other drugs) — they even have a resource page for all the articles in the Pot Debate. It attempts to cover all sides, from drug warrior law enforcement, to LEAP, to addicts, to readers, etc.
The paper seems to recognize that people are ready to have a discussion. And want it. I think more media could benefit from this realization.
Here are a few articles in the past couple of days, put together by staff writer Kathleen Palmer.

There isn’t a whole lot that’s particularly new here. Still it’s great that it’s happening.
I couldn’t leave this series, though, without poking a little bit of fun at Lt. James Sartell of the Hollis Police Department (from the “Police blame drugs for many crimes” article):

Sartell says marijuana can cause “cognitive distortion,” leading to a justification of illegal or immoral activities, which in turn allows the user to commit crimes such as burglary or theft in order to feed subsequent drug buys.
“That’s one of the main ‘gateway’ aspects of pot,” he said.

People keep coming up with new ways to use the word “gateway” in conjunction with pot, but this one surprised even me. In my experience, the only illegal activity that the “cognitive distortion” of pot leads to is… smoking more pot. However, the cognitive distortion involved in being a drug warrior is definitely likely to lead to immoral activities (and often even some illegal ones), so maybe that’s a gateway effect?
Sartell has more to share.

“You deal with little problems before they escalate into big ones. The kid that tortures animals grows up to be violent to people. The kid that smashes mailboxes escalates to more serious vandalism. It’s the same with the War on Drugs.”

Apparently pot smoking is like torturing animals and smashing mailboxes.

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