Paul Armentano at NORML: Drug Czar Blames Rising Teen Pot Use On Medical Cannabis Laws Rather Than On His Own Failed Policies
Okay, let me get this straight: California enacted legislation legalizing the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana in 1996 â€” some fourteen years ago â€” thus kicking off the national debate that is still taking place today. Between 1996 and 2005, nine additional states enacted similar laws (Alaska, 1999; Colorado, 2000; Hawaii, 2000; Maine, 1999; Montana, 2004; Nevada, 2000; Oregon, 1998; Vermont, 2004; Washington, 1998). Yet, the Drug Czar claims to the national media that this discussion has only been taking place in earnest for â€œthe past couple yearsâ€?! Does he really think the public is that stupid?! […]
But wait, it gets even sillier. One statistic gleaned from the Monitoring the Future study that was not emphasized by the Drug Czar (for obvious reasons) was that more than eight out of ten 12th graders report that marijuana is â€œfairly easyâ€ or â€œvery easyâ€ to get â€” a percentage that has remained constant for three and a half decades! So much for the notion that criminal prohibition is limiting youth marijuana access.
Mike Meno at Marijuana Policy Project:
â€œItâ€™s really no surprise that more American teenagers are using marijuana and continue to say itâ€™s easy to get. Our government has spent decades refusing to regulate marijuana in order to keep it out of the hands of drug dealers who arenâ€™t required to check customer ID and have no qualms about selling marijuana to young people,â€ said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. â€œThe continued decline in teen tobacco use is proof that sensible regulations, coupled with honest, and science-based public education can be effective in keeping substances away from young people. Itâ€™s time we acknowledge that our current marijuana laws have utterly failed to accomplish one of their primary objectives â€“ to keep marijuana away from young people â€“ and do the right thing by regulating marijuana, bringing its sale under the rule of law, and working to reduce the unfettered access to marijuana our broken laws have given teenagers.â€
Jacob Sullum at Hit and Run: Drug Czar Blames Cancer and AIDS Patients for Increase in Pot Use by Teenagers
The timing of the increase in marijuana use does not seem to fit this theory. States began legalizing the medical use of marijuana in 1996, after which past-month marijuana use among high school seniors went up and down until 2003, when it began a decline that continued until 2007. Furthermore, as the Drug Policy Alliance’s Bill Piper points out, states that have liberalized their marijuana policies have not seen noticeably bigger increases in use than states that have not
Mason Tvert, writing at FireDogLake: Teen Marijuana Use Up, Alcohol Use Down â€“ A Good Thing?
According to the annual Monitoring the Future survey released today by the National Institutes of Health, marijuana use is up and alcohol use is down amongst Americaâ€™s teens.
Although U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske has taken to the airwaves to tell us â€œwe should be very concerned about these marijuana numbers,â€ those numbers might actually be indicative of progress. […]
Not surprisingly, the drug czar is singling out medical marijuana laws and the debate surrounding them as the be-all-end-all cause of teensâ€™ ease in attitude toward marijuana. This from a guy overseeing a major anti-marijuana ad campaign that has actually been found to increase the likelihood that those frequently exposed to the ads will experiment with marijuana. And whenâ€™s the last time you heard him complain about all the TV ads and billboards â€” visible to young and older people alike â€” that tout beer and liquor as the key to a good time. . . .