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Foreword

Foreword

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An excerpt from Marijuana Is Safer, Updated and Expanded Edition: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?

This updated and expanded version of Marijuana Is Safer includes a new chapter on the Colorado victory and information about how supporters can model similar campaigns in other states, along with updates to research that supports the position that marijuana is safer than alcohol.
An excerpt from Marijuana Is Safer, Updated and Expanded Edition: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?

This updated and expanded version of Marijuana Is Safer includes a new chapter on the Colorado victory and information about how supporters can model similar campaigns in other states, along with updates to research that supports the position that marijuana is safer than alcohol.

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Published by: Chelsea Green Publishing on Jul 11, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/21/2014

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Updated and expanded edition
the MeSSaGe that MadeMaRiJUana leGal in ColoRado!
foReWoRd By noRM StaMpeR,foRMeR Chief of theSeattle poliCe depaRtMent
 
ix
Foreword
When you pick up a book touting marijuana as a saer recreationalalternative to alcohol, I imagine the last thing you are expecting isa oreword rom the ormer chie o police o a major U.S. city.Well, i you’re surprised, I guess we are o to a good start. Yousee, the goal o this book—and the purpose o this oreword—isto encourage you (an and oe alike) to reassess the way you thinkabout marijuana.In pages that ollow, you will nd objective comparisons o marijuana and alcohol. You will learn about the ways in whichthe ederal government and other infuential institutions havemaintained marijuana prohibition while simultaneously conspiringto turn public opinion against its use. And you will be exposed to aplethora o statistics quantiying the damage caused by alcohol usein our society. Steve, Paul, and Mason have done a terric job o presenting all o this inormation in an objective, compelling, andthoughtul manner. I am certain, whatever you may think aboutmarijuana laws at this moment, that you will look at the issue dier-ently by the time you reach the nal chapter.Encouraging individuals to see the marijuana issue rom a newperspective is precisely what happened in Colorado between 2005and 2012. During those years, the citizens o the state were con-stantly exposed to the “marijuana is saer” message and the actsthat support it through an aggressive and ocused public educationcampaign led by Mason and the organization he coounded, Saer Alternative or Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER). As you will see in
 
xforeword
chapters 10 and 11, this simple airing o the truth literally helpedchange the course o history.But beore you dive into this book—which I truly couldn’t putdown the rst time I read it—I’d like to give you an insider’s per-spective on the question o marijuana versus alcohol. By “insider,”I reer to my decades o law enorcement experience, during whichtime I witnessed rsthand how these two substances aect consum-ers, their amilies, and public saety overall. As you can imagine,those o us who have served our communities as ocers o the lawhave encountered alcohol and marijuana users on a requent i notdaily basis, and we know all too well how oten one o these twosubstances is associated with violent and aggressive behavior.In all my years on the streets, it was an extremely rare occasionto have a night go by without an alcohol-related incident. Moreoten than not, there were multiple alcohol-related calls during ashit. I became accustomed to the pattern (and the odor). I I wascalled to a part o town with a concentration o bars or to the localuniversity, I could expect to be greeted by one or more drunks,fexing their “beer muscles,” either in the throes o a ght or look-ing to start one. Sadly, the same was oten true when I received adomestic abuse call. More oten than not, these conficts—manyhaving erupted into physical violence—were ueled by one or bothparticipants having overindulged in alcohol.In case you might be thinking my observations are unique, letme share the results o some inormal research I have conductedon my own. Since my retirement rom active duty, out o a gen-eral interest in this subject, I’ve requently asked police ocersthroughout the U.S. (and Canada) two questions. First: “When’sthe last time you had to ght someone under the infuence o marijuana?” (And by this I mean marijuana only, not pot plus a six-pack or th o tequila.) My colleagues pause; they refect. Their eyes widen as they realize that in their ve or teen or thirty yearson the job they have never had to ght a marijuana user. I thenask, “When’s the last time you had to ght a drunk?” They look

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