Margaret Polovchak harms children more than dope does

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about a very poor article by Jennifer Johnson in the Pioneer Press: Legalization talk cited in teen pot use spike. In it, Margaret Polovchak, executive director of the Maine Community Youth Assistance Foundation (Chicago suburbs, not the state of Maine), claims that an increase of pot use among high school students has occurred, that it’s the result of talking about medical marijuana in Illinois and that medical marijuana should be opposed for that reason.

We shouldn’t really be surprised by this kind of ignorant talk — the MCYAF is a tool of the drug war machine (even their website is paid for by grants from ONDCP and SAMHSA), and we know that those entities have shown little actual interest in the welfare of children.

But Margaret’s statement demonstrates the sickness of the drug war’s interaction with youth. The very notion that we need to reduce or eliminate public discussion about current events (assuming such an absurdity would work) in order to protect children (!) demonstrates that she considers young people to be somewhat akin to hamsters.

And guess what? Young people are smarter than that. You can pretend all you want that if you shield them from discussions about sex they’ll remain blissfully and naturally celibate, but then you’d better be ready to be a grandparent. And you can pretend that if we talked less about medical marijuana then they wouldn’t use marijuana, but if you really want that to work, you’d better raise them in a big cage with a wheel.

So what happens when you treat young people this way? They immediately realize that you’re lying to them. They don’t like it, and they see you as the enemy rather than someone who is there to help. They become suspicious of all attempts to help them and tend to disbelieve even important truths.

Once they realize that they’ve been lied to about marijuana, then they assume that everything else has been a lie (often leading to fatal results). When they aren’t given reality-based education that teaches them the truth, then they are forced to try to discover it on their own, through trial and error, again often with disastrous results.

What people like Margaret Polovchak are doing is destroying the safety net of experiential wisdom for young people that should be provided by the family, the village, society.

Instead, children are treated as though they cannot be trusted with what we know. We turn them into suspects by making them pee into cups, and we send dogs through their schools sniffing their belongings. We lie to them and withhold information that is critical to them and have the gall to wonder why they rebel.

Does that mean we have to roll over and just accept any level of drug use by young people? Of course not. We’ll never be able to stop all of it, but we can control it and reduce the harm of it by regulating drugs, teaching young people the truth about them, and explaining why we want them to wait until a later time to experiment with them.

Now there are other ways that Margaret Polovchak harms children, too. Some of the children at these schools certainly have family members who now, or in the future, could benefit from medical marijuana. Those children are harmed by Polovchak’s efforts, either because their family member is denied valuable medicine or because their family member ends up incarcerated in order to obtain their medicine.

By attempting to reduce the level of public discussion of matters of public policy in general, Margaret harms children because then public policy isn’t getting the proper analysis, and more bad policy ends up as law, harming everyone.

And by supporting prohibition, Margaret Polovchak harms children by being part of a system that fuels violence and voluntarily puts drug regulation in the hands of criminals.

So if your child is ever offered a Margaret Polovchak, be sure to tell them to just say “no.”

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9 Responses to Margaret Polovchak harms children more than dope does

  1. Tyler West says:

    wow…. talkin about being schooled Margaret Polovchak lol

  2. Cannabis says:

    I’ve explained to many people that if you lie to kids about drugs that when you tell them important truths about drugs they won’t believe you. Some people get it, but too many seem to be able to compartmentalize things in their brain and are able to hold contradictory thoughts and beliefs at the same time. Why is that?

  3. claygooding says:

    Cannabis,I have wondered the same thing. Why is it if you ask practically anyone if they trust the government,they say no,but any bullshit that the government puts out about drugs is accepted as gospel,with very little chance of changing their minds. You can show them studies,use perfectly logical arguments,even have people that work for LE,explain to them how the government has lied to them about marijuana and they just have this curtain come down behind their eyes which allows no learning. They may even shake their head yes the whole time your talking to them, but as soon as you separate,all that new found information just runs away from them and they are back to square one.

  4. ezrydn says:


    I see it all the time down here. Show someone how do do something quicker and easier and within minutes of being left alone, they revert right back to the “old way.” People’s understanding up there is the same exact way. They know it’d be easier, less costly to them, make them safer yet they will always revert to the “conditioning.”

    In the realm of NLP, it’s called “reframing.” When you ask someone who’s afraid of public speaking what bothers them, they’ll tell you what the last image their mind sees which is usually people laughing at them. Change that final image and you’ve got it beat. And changing the image isn’t that hard to do

    When I find a hard-core that I can’t get through to, I usually instigate the procedure to reframe and leave them with that. It’ll take effect and the next reformer they talk to will be more acceptable. You might find it under “time line therapy.”

  5. truthtechnician says:

    Spot on Pete. The internet makes it obvious for any child to see right through prohibition’s lies. We only harm them by lying to them.

  6. Servetus says:

    Research done at the Univ. of Texas at Austin has confirmed what most people already surmised, that the adolescent brain is wired for risk taking behavior.

    Given the measured over-activity of the adolescent mesolimbic dopamine system, any prohibition that alleges the dangers of various illicit drugs can only challenge risk takers, especially if the risk is comically exaggerated, as it is with cannabis and many other drugs. Under prohibition, illegal drugs become natural focal points for a neural-centered teenage rebellion.

    The adolescent brain responds exactly as anticipated in countries such as Portugal and the Netherlands where cannabis use is regarded as benign and is mostly tolerated. As one might expect from the Austin, Texas, brain study, there are fewer per-capita adolescent users of marijuana in the two European countries when compared to strict prohibitionist nations such as the U.S.

  7. denmark says:

    Well said Pete, thank you. Your last sentence was brilliant.
    Through your writing and others comments in this blog I’m able to strengthen my argument. And of course, we know, without a shadow of a doubt, there should be no argument as the truth is out there and cannot be shoved back in the bottle.

  8. CarolDuhart says:

    Last, but not least, “the what about the kids meme” is used to silence adult dissent and to keep policymakers and scared parents from thinking about the fact that the majority of those arrested and using are adults, many who either don’t have kids or have adult children. Defending jailing adult users is only defensible if that subject is kept out of discussion altogether and there is the pretense that the only people who smoke pot are teenagers.

  9. Linda Flores says:

    But it’s okay to dope up kids on Ritalin and Resperdal, soda pop,food additives, etc.

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