Loading

Cannabis Prohibition Does Not Protect Youth; Lessons In Tobacco Policies

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director December 15, 2009

    Dear Wall Street Journal Editors,norml_remember_prohibition_

    The headline alone provides sufficient irony “Marijuana Use Rises Among Teens; Cigarettes Smoking Lowest Since ’75,” in that the long-stated goal of the federal government’s so-called anti-drug bureaucrats has been to reduce the use of cannabis consumption in America. Billions of taxpayer dollars and 20 million cannabis-related arrests later, the social data continues to consistently demonstrate the government achieving one stated goal–the reduction of tobacco use–but not significant reductions in cannabis use among teens?

    What is the lesson here?

    That with tobacco, the world’s most death-inducing and addictive drug, verifiable and credible health information (along with progressive, teen-deterring, but not black market-inviting taxes imposed by local and federal governments) have a better chance of achieving the federal government’s stated and laudable goal of reduced teen use–not criminal sanctions and prohibition laws.

    Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director NORML/NORML Foundation

    WSJ: Marijuana Use Rises Among Teens; Cigarette Smoking Lowest Since ’75

    By JENNIFER CORBETT DOOREN

    Marijuana use among teenagers increased this year after previous declines, while the use of other illicit drugs like cocaine mostly declined.

    According to an annual National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded survey of nearly 47,000 students, almost one-third of 12th-graders and more than one-quarter of 10th-graders reported using marijuana in 2009. Almost 12% of eighth-graders reported marijuana use, an increase from about 11% in 2008.

    The survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, asked teenagers to report on the use of smoking, alcohol use and drug use, including non-medical uses of prescription painkillers and over-the-counter cold and cough products.

    The report showed cigarette smoking was at the lowest point since the survey started in 1975, although the use of smokeless-tobacco products increased on some measures this year.

    Researchers say the percentage of students who reported ever trying cigarettes has fallen dramatically.

    Daily cigarette use by 12th-graders was 11.2%, a slight drop from 11.4% in 2008, while any use during the past 30 days was 20.1%, also a slight decline from 2008. Smokeless-tobacco use during the past 30 days in 2009 was reported by 8.4% of students in 12th grade, up from 6.5% in 2008.

    Researchers said one of the reasons smoking rates have declined is that the percentage of students who reported ever trying smoking has “fallen dramatically.” For example in 1996, 49% of eighth-graders reported trying cigarettes, compared with 20% this year.

    Alcohol use stayed about the same last year, with more than half of 10th-graders and about two-thirds of seniors reporting alcohol use in the past year.

    The survey showed past-year use of cocaine decreased to 3.4% from 4.4% in 2008 among 12th-graders, along with declines in the use of hallucinogens and methamphetamine.

    The use of over-the-counter cold and cough medicines to get high, however, edged up among all age groups, with 6% of 10th-graders reporting non-medical use of the products last year.

    The annual survey also found continuing high rates of prescription-drug abuse, with almost 10% of 12th-graders reporting non-medical use of the painkiller Vicodin last year, the same rate as 2008. Almost 5% of high-school seniors reported using OxyContin for a non-medical use in 2009, a slight uptick from 2008.

    Researchers said 66% of teens reported obtaining the prescription drugs from a friend or relative, while 19% said they received the drugs with a doctor’s prescription, and 8% said they bought the drugs from a dealer.

    71 Responses to “Cannabis Prohibition Does Not Protect Youth; Lessons In Tobacco Policies”

    1. Stephen says:

      This just goes to show them, but I know they wont listen.

    2. Jed The head says:

      One thing missing in their survey. Coffee and cannabis being used at the same time. The young people of today have connected the two. Having tried this myself I would say it is very pleasing. Having an altered state of mind in a way that is both intoxicating and stimulating is a very nice experience. Whoever came up with this idea Thank You. I would like to know what percentage of people are using both at the same time.

    3. Clint says:

      Well, it’s a good thing that young people are using marijuana rather than cigarettes, given that cannabis prevents lung and other cancers while tobacco causes them.

    4. For one thing,the world is full of experienced cigarette smokers,even while they are lighting another cigarette,
      telling the young people not to start on the nasty things.
      With the factual reporting of the dangers of tobacco being thrown at them from every source of information and their own witnessing of the damages that tobacco has done and is capable of.
      On the other hand,you have a federal government that has lied to them about the dangers of marijuana,and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that they have lied.
      And even older marijuana smokers that quit smoking as they grew older will tell you that marijuana smoking is not the devils tool that the government has spent billions trying to find harm in for the last 40 years
      and still can’t find.
      The only way that you can educate people about danger is to come up with factual studies and scientific proofs,not myths,lies and propaganda.
      As long as the drug czar stands in front of Americans
      and lies about marijuana not having medical value,they will never succeed,no matter how much they spend,or how many they lock up.

    5. ah, good, they are learning there are safe alternatives to alcohol, tobacco and REAL ILLICIT narcotics…

      we are WINNING!!!

    6. by the way, i am 26 and i smoke every morning with my cup of java… the two mesh very well!

    7. Anonymous says:

      Has anyone ever tried just going to congress and trying to get a straight answer on why its illegal other than them say “It’s Bad For you” well you know what is also everything food can make you fat sugar can speed up your heart rate, give you cavities etc. even too much sun is bad for you what are they going to do next forbid us to go outside what is really so bad about it besides getting so hungry you eat up all your food?

    8. Mike says:

      Has anyone ever tried just going to congress and trying to get a straight answer on why its illegal other than them say “It’s Bad For you” well you know what is also everything food can make you fat sugar can speed up your heart rate, give you cavities etc. even too much sun is bad for you what are they going to do next forbid us to go outside what is really so bad about it besides getting so hungry you eat up all your food?

    9. Veckin says:

      I read the title and immediatly said to myself ‘Tell me something I don’t already know.’
      Fuck this quasi-dictatorship we live in.

    10. Of course there’s no real proven harm to health of teens using cannabis. It is certainly preferable than they use tobacco.

    Leave a Reply