andquot;Well, Dad,andquot; my son explained to me, andquot;I'll be honest with you... I prefer drinking. But at 16 it's much easier to buy weed. It's really hard finding someone to buy alcohol ... waiting in front of the store and all that.andquot;

I'd prayed that none of my kids would grow up to smoke pot, but my son did it anyway.

Since then, I've researched by asking many non-marijuana smokers two pertinent questions: (1) Can you buy weed if you want to? and (2) If pot were legalized tomorrow, would you suddenly start smoking it? Of course the answers are always the same: andquot;Yes, I can score weed;andquot; and andquot;No, I would not suddenly become a pothead if it were legal.andquot;

My conclusion is that even though marijuana is illegal, there is no possible way it could be more available than it is right now. Moreover, every American with a functioning brain has already, long ago, made their decision of whether or not they want to get high. Therefore, we should take this business of marijuana out of the hands of the black market bandits, and put it into the hands of taxpaying and responsible citizens. Make it less available by taking control of who it gets sold to.

Take command by legalizing the sale of the drug in state supervised stores.

Is there a better way? Present policies are not workingwe know that. Just ask anyone the two questions. Try pollling underage kidslike elementary school ageand see how hard it is for them to buy alcohol and how easy it is to get marijuana.

Would it be the same if kids had to show an ID at a government pharmacy?

Smugglers and growers get into the business for the money. If these stores had quality and consistent merchandise available at less-than-street-value prices, the black market would fold.

Take control. Don't be swayed by the hype. Make your own decisions. Think logically.

Rob Tillitz

Sheridan, Ore.