You'd probably prefer your kids use neither pot nor booze. But if they're going to experiment with one or the other as they get older, pediatrician Aaron E. Carroll weighs in today in the New York Times and says you should vote for pot. Sure, marijuana is illegal, and studies have linked it to negative health effects—"but these are all associations, not known causal pathways," Carroll writes. "Moreover, all of these potential dangers seem scary only when viewed in isolation. Put them next to alcohol, and everything looks different."
Alcohol is highly linked to violence; marijuana is not. Alcohol abuse and binge drinking carry with them the real danger of death, injuries, or serious health emergencies; marijuana "kills almost no one," Carroll writes. When it comes to driving, for example, alcohol is much more dangerous than pot. And while more than 20% of alcohol users eventually become dependent on it, just 9% of pot users become dependent on their substance of choice. In terms of danger, "it's hard to see how pot could overtake alcohol even if it were universally legal," Carroll writes. So, while he would still prefer his kids use neither substance, "if I'm forced to make a choice, the answer is 'marijuana.'" Click for his full column.