D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) was founded in Los Angeles in 1983 as an initiative to educate middle school children about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and violence. So when a letter supporting cannabis legislation was published on the organization’s website in June, it came as quite a shock to everyone.
The letter, “Purchasing marijuana puts kids at risk,” was written by retired deputy sheriff Carlis McDerment in response to a letter to the editor favoring the current cannabis prohibition laws. The contents of the letter suggest that selling cannabis on the streets makes it more accessible to minors, thus taxing and regulating cannabis would make it safer for children. McDerment’s letter received praise from New York Magazine before it was deleted and D.A.R.E. quickly released a statement that they are not in support of marijuana legalization and the letter was published on the site accidentally.
Why was D.A.R.E. so keen to retract their support of McDerment’s letter? For one, McDerment’s comments certainly don’t align with the organization’s mission.
“I know from enforcing senseless marijuana laws that children only are being put in more danger when marijuana is kept illegal,” McDerment writes. He goes on to state that if our society is going to call for outlawing anything that could hurt kids, we’d have to make everything from stairs and forks in our homes to Tylenol and bleach illegal.
The mistake seems to lay with whomever is responsible for publishing submitted works for publication on D.A.R.E.’s website because they also published a satirical report that people partaking in cannabis edibles in Colorado and at the Coachella Music Festival had died. You can read part of the satirical article here, if you’d like.
Perhaps the person at D.A.R.E. should read submitted items more thoroughly before publishing them online…