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A little bit of irony I've noticed growing up in urban Canada is that from age 13 to 18, it is usually a whole lot more difficult to get alcohol than it is to get marijuana. There's no shame in getting weed from a drug dealer, and they aren't that hard to find. But fake IDs are expensive, and it feels kind of silly to ask people to buy booze for you. So, I ended up spending a lot more time smoking pot than drinking alcohol, and it's a good thing, too. After all, pot just makes you dumb and giggly for a few hours, and alcohol kills brain cells permanently, and impairs your judgement, and causes liver damage, and if you're not careful, it can kill you. Marijuana has never killed anyone directly. Eating ten raw potatoes causes more of a toxic reaction than any amount of cannabis you could eat. At least six international studies have shown that moderately regular marijuana smokers suffer no physical or mental degradation at all.

I don't think that the government should interfere with people's informed decisions about what they put in their bodies. As long as people are educated about the potential risks involved with drug use, they should be allowed to learn for themselves what they enjoy and what they don't.

My parents didn't really give me any sort of drug talk in my childhood, and I still don't really know what their position on the whole thing is. For all I know, they might have a stash of their own (though I doubt it). The best thing they could have done for me would have been to teach me about different drugs, share any experiences they may have had with them, and encourage me to be careful and learn everything I can about a drug before experimenting with it.

I used to get paranoid a lot when I smoked up, but I don't anymore at all, and I recently came to the conclusion that the reason was that part of me had still thought that drugs were bad and worried about what my parents would think. I am sure that this mentality is the cause of a hell of a lot of anxiety for teenagers everywhere. I think that the War on Drugs has caused a lot more damage than anyone really imagines.