Here's why pot advocates are loving D.A.R.E.'s recent Internet flub.

You remember D.A.R.E., right?

If you're anything like me, this throwback serves as a haunting reminder that, no, middle school was not a nightmare, and yes, it did in fact happen in real life. Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images.


D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. I'm guessing this rings a bell.

D.A.R.E. is a program run by police departments and it aims to keep kids away from harmful drugs, gangs, and violence. It launched in Los Angeles in 1983 in the throes of the "War on Drugs" and still operates in schools across the U.S. today, meaning millions of Americans have had the D.A.R.E. experience over the past few decades.

(D.A.R.E.'s effectiveness has been questioned, but that's a topic for another time.)


Do you remember D.A.R.E.'s mascot, "Daren the Lion"?! Here he is shaking hands with actor Erik Estrada in 2002, because, why not? Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images.

D.A.R.E., unsurprisingly, has never been a fan of marijuana — that is, until this week, apparently.

With its strong anti-drug mission, it makes sense D.A.R.E. has always been against legalizing marijuana. But on July 27, 2015, D.A.R.E. posted an op-ed from The Columbus Dispatch to its website that implied otherwise.

The article, which was written by former deputy sheriff Carlis McDerment, was titled, "Purchasing marijuana puts kids at risk." And while it may sound like it's an anti-pot essay ... it's not.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

"People like me, and other advocates of marijuana legalization, are not totally blind to the harms that drugs pose to children," McDerment wrote in the op-ed. "We just happen to know that legalizing and regulating marijuana will actually make everyone safer."

In the article, McDerment argues that legalizing and regulating weed would actually help in keeping kids away from marijuana, as dealers in the illicit market (which would cease to exist should pot become legal) don't care if a customer is under 18 years old. Legalizing marijuana would mean creating an industry that could be regulated to enforce age limit laws similar to the ones we have for alcohol.

The apparent endorsement of legal weed was a complete 180° flip for D.A.R.E. But, alas, it was also a complete accident.

After outlets like New York Magazine reported on the organization's change of heart, D.A.R.E. removed the article from its website.

When The Washington Post's Christopher Ingraham reached out to the group to learn more about its stance, D.A.R.E. clarified the article's publishing was, in fact, a "mistake."


It's a bummer to hear that D.A.R.E.'s not on the legal weed bandwagon, though, because the op-ed they shared is onto something.

In the past, conventional wisdom led some to believe that loosening marijuana laws would send the wrong message to children, but lots of research tells us that's not the case.

A June 2015 study, for example, found that in states that have passed medical marijuana laws, the legalization didn't increase teenage use of the drug. In fact, the study spotted a decrease in use among eighth-graders after the laws went into effect.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images.

There's also plenty of evidence telling us legalizing weed would do society good...

...like providing funds for important things.

If weed is made legal and the industry regulated, taxes generated from sales could go toward things like public education.

Legal weed could also lower the incarceration rate. Some believe that decriminalizing "victimless" crimes — like the ones often related to minor marijuana offenses — would decrease the prison population without sacrificing safety.

And legal weed might even save lives. As I wrote about in July, it looks like people who seek out painkillers to ease chronic pain are turning toward legal weed instead, thereby reducing the number of deaths from overdosing on prescription painkillers.

For an organization that claims to have everyone's best interests at heart, D.A.R.E. might want to consider actually reading that op-ed they posted.

It might just change their program for the better.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.