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Can We Bury This Canard Once and For All?

  • by Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel June 27, 2016

    C1_8734_r_xLegalization Does Not Result in an Increase in Adolescent Marijuana Use

    Recent survey data released by the University of Colorado — The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey — a combined effort involving the state Departments of Education, of Human Resources and of Health and the Environment, should be quite helpful in the several states with legalization initiatives expected to appear on the ballot this fall. The latest data, based on four years of actual experience, reconfirms that legalizing marijuana for adults does not result in an increase in usage by adolescents

    But What About the Kids?

    Although one might hope the rather silly argument that adults should only be allowed to engage in conduct appropriate for adolescents would be dismissed out-of-hand, in fact that spurious argument seems to remain an excuse for many who oppose legalization. “But what about the kids,” is the usual refrain.

    Chris Ingram of the Washington Post quotes the National Families in Action, a prominent anti-drug group warning that legal marijuana would “Literally dumb-down the precious minds of generations of children,” and psychiatrist Christian Thurstone, another prominent anti-marijuana zealot, warned that adolescents in CO would not be able to resist the temptation presented by this pernicious plant. “Reefer Madness” is never far away, and it can always outweigh any common sense or personal discipline.

    We first ran into the argument with President and Nancy Reagan and their “just say no” program of the early 80s, in which they successfully shifted the public focus for a time from the damage being done to individuals needlessly arrested on minor marijuana charges, to the possible harm being done to adolescents who might somehow (unexplainably) be harmed by responsible adult use.

    Similarly, we discovered from exit polling following the unsuccessful CA legalization initiative in 2010 that one of the two concerns expressed by those who opposed the measure was the fear that there might be a spike in adolescent marijuana smoking should the initiative pass (the second fear was a spike in impaired drivers on the road).

    If we were really to apply that test, adults could not drive cars, ride motorcycles, fly planes, have sex, skydive, get married, drink alcohol or engage in many of the ordinary activities that make our lives interesting.

    In addition, no one is suggesting that adolescents should be permitted to smoke marijuana. Quite the contrary. We would all prefer that our kids remain drug-free as long as possible, while their minds and bodies are fully developing. There is plenty of time to experiment with a different consciousness once one is an adult, and presumably capable of making those decisions in a responsible manner.

    With Prohibition, Kids Say Marijuana is Easier to Get than Alcohol

    Yet the kids themselves have been telling us for years in the federal Monitoring the Future surveys that marijuana is far easier for them to obtain than alcohol because to purchase alcohol, the adolescent must find an older friend to buy the alcohol for him/her, or obtain a fake ID. Those are obviously not impossible barriers to overcome, but they surely do make it more difficult for a young person to obtain alcohol than marijuana, where illegal marijuana sellers do not ask for an ID.

    New Data from Colorado

    But now we have the benefit of new evidence, released over the last few days, providing the data from Colorado that confirms that adolescent marijuana usage has actually declined slightly in Colorado since marijuana was legalized in 2012.

    That’s right. There are actually fewer adolescent marijuana smokers today, four years after Colorado first adopted full legalization, than there were before the state legalized marijuana in 2012!

    According to Colorado’s 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS), the survey of approximately 17,000 junior high and high school students throughout the Centennial State, the semiannual assessment discovered 21.2% of high school students in Colorado admitted using some form of cannabis within the past 30 days (less than the national average among teens at 21.7), retreating marginally from the reported 22% in 2011– a year before marijuana was legalized for recreational purposes in Colorado. The 2015 survey also discovered that 78% of Colorado high school students have refrained from marijuana consumption over the past 30 days, and 62% have never tried marijuana. Of those who do use marijuana, 91% prefer flowers.

    Another interesting, and promising, piece of data is that 9 out of 10 CO high school students currently reject the use of tobacco.

    “The trend for current and lifetime marijuana use has remained stable since 2005, with four out of five high school students continuing to say they don’t use marijuana, even occasionally,” the Colorado Health Department said in a news release.

    According to a previous Marijuana.com article on this topic by Monterey Bud, “the purpose of Colorado’s comprehensive survey is to gather factual information and useful data. By collecting this data every two years, the information can then be utilized by both public and private organizations including schools and parents to identify trends and enhance programs that improve the health and well-being of young people.”

    Let’s hope this finally puts the stake through the heart of those who insist on claiming the sky will fall if we end prohibition, and that our youngsters will be stoned-out zombies. It turns out, legalization has no impact on the usage rates of adolescents. But common sense tells them marijuana is far safer than smoking tobacco.

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    This column first appeared on Marijuana.com.

    17 Responses to “Can We Bury This Canard Once and For All?”

    1. Don M says:

      The stupidest among us will continue to believe and propagate the prohibitionist agenda. People like Kevin Sabet and Christian Thurstone are pretty close to the top of the list of the very stupidest. I hope they die soon so that America can be one step closer to once again being a free country.

    2. Eric says:

      This data affirms what i have long believed to be true. I know that the fact that marijuana being illegal played no role whatsoever in my choice in using marijuana while in high school and college. I think it being illegal sort of gave me an extra push to see for myself what all the fuss was about actually. I did not become a stoned out junky from it either, I became a nurse. I have not smoked in over nine years. I am sure I will smoke eventually as I age to relax possibly or to treat pain god forbid I ever need it for that purpose. Time to stop the lies and free this great plant.

      • Sherry Tappe says:

        Eric I totally agree with u. Started as a14 ur old stopped for awhile, dealer etc in the past. Now I have breast cancer n several other health issues where no treatment has been effective. According to MN law I qualify for 5 out of 6 categories for weed yet can’t afford $350-$400 for some supply. Any suggestions?

    3. Julian says:

      “If we were really to apply that test, adults could not drive cars, ride motorcycles, fly planes, have sex, skydive, get married, drink alcohol or engage in many of the ordinary activities that make our lives interesting.”

      -Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel

      Another excellent article.
      Only two points I might add;

      1). The American public needs to understand the manufacturing side of alcohol or the human identity we have to gain from the cultivation of .marijuana or hemp; because alcohol is no longer prohibited in most of the nation the PRICE of alcohol is lower, quality of life is higher, and therefore there isnt enough PROFIT in bootlegging ones own alcohol compared to the risk and cost of getting caught. Al Capone is dead, by the way. El Chapo is not.
      And because producing ones own wine, beer or liquor is prohibitively expensive, teens dont find it at school, its at the store, behind the guy who wants your I.D. (we can legally make up to 500 gallons of beer per year for our own consumption or gift it, but we cant sell it without a license). Its similar with marijuana cultivation.

      2). It is deplorable the fact that the same Department of Health and Human Services that will take custody of our children with severe seizures up to the age of 17 for medicating with marijuana then force them to take state sponsored opiates and pills with potentially lethal side effects, is currently brokering the patent to cannabinoids #6630507 through NIH to provide biopharmaceuticals a price hike on a plant that parents of children with those seizures would gladly learn how to grow. With that said, if you have a child with seizures and youre waiting on the lobbyists and beurocracies to free the weed for those in need, please choose self-preserverence. Donate to NORML Pac and get a grinder and container for your vaporizer and keep the smell down. But if you need concentrates get an adequate vent installed in your kitchen and please be careful.

    4. sk says:

      the continued prohibition of marijuana is like welcoming moonshine in our schools.

    5. TheOracle says:

      Spot on.

      Keep this bombshell ready to repeat right up until the election in tandem with pro-legalization get-out-the-vote drives.

      I guess: If cannabis is descheduled, DC may go forward and legalize. If cannabis is moved out of Schedule I and the language of interference in federal legislation remains Schedule I, then as a Schedule II substance DC may be allowed to spend funds to legalize.

      http://www.marijuana.com/blog/news/2016/06/dc-health-department-says-city-should-legalize-marijuana-sales/

      The mere fact that cannabis is less harmful than tobacco or alcohol is reason enough to deschedule cannabis altogether.

      • David Evans says:

        Sorry, but no. Schedule II is effectively the same thing as Schedule I, the only difference is doctors can proscribe Schedule II drugs, but they are only accessible via specialists and generally while in the care of a physician, like while you are at the hospital. Schedule II offers no protection from the Federal police and it offers no protection from having people’s houses being raided by the Fed’s. Placing on Schedule III would help and not require addition laws to sort of modify marijuana’s position in Schedule II into Schedule 2.5 in order for it to work. Schedule II drugs are not available to the public what-so-ever.

    6. Galileo Galilei says:

      “But common sense tells them marijuana is far safer than smoking tobacco.”

      Now if only we can teach Boticelli and Harris this obvious fact.

    7. stop fearing pot says:

      first, let me state this;

      MARIJUANA, IS BENEFICIAL FOR YOUR BRAIN.

      it INCREASES BLOOD FLOW to the brain.

      it is a neuro-protectant.
      it is proven to help HEAL, traumatic brain injuries.

      maybe that is why the marijuana haters, say so many crazy things;
      they suffer from marijuana DEFICIENCY.

      now, Bury This Canard !!! ;

      -MARIJUANA, is a schedule 1 drug,
      that has NO medical efficacy.-

      we now have;

      1. 40 of 50 states, that have SOME type of medical marijuana,
      (counting the CBD only ‘charlotte’s web’ states)

      2. proof that cannibis CURES cancer.

      3. 90 % voter support for medical marijuana.

      4. pharmacudical drug makers, are working on NEW prescription drugs made from marijuana.

      5. the ‘erlichman relevation’ that the whole ‘war on drugs’, was just a way to target vietnam war protesters, and blacks that were protesting for civil rights,
      and it had nothing to do with marijuana being dangerous.

      6. over 20 THOUSAND medical studies, proving the efficacy of medical marijuana.

      7. medical studies done in israel, that prove that medical marijuana is the best treatment for P.T.S.D. (previously called ‘shell shock’).

      and these ‘oldies but goodies';

      8. the medical marijuana, that is grown on the government’s own medical marijuana farm, in missippi, which they have distributed for years, to a few people that qualified for that program.

      9. documents prove that the u.s. government, knew that marijuana had medical efficacy, as early as 1976.

      10. the 100 percent THC pill, called ‘marinol’.

    8. Cat Cassie says:

      I am so glad the use among youths has not increased and in fact has gone down. Who would have thought? I remember during Reagans anti-pot rhetoric he wanted to spray mj fields with pareqeut or something like that knowing full well Americans could get a hold of it. In fact the company that made the herbicide didn’t want to let them use it because nobody really knew what it would do to people but the DEA wanted it anyway. We certainly have come a long way.

      • mexweed says:

        Check examples of what Reagan did to get wealthy enough to qualify for (i.e. afford)future political campaigns:

        a. 1937 (age 26): postcard picture, R. at WHO Des Moines microphone, pipe in mouth, “Yours for Kentucky Club (tobacco), (signed) Dutch Reagan”

        b. 1943, full magazine page ad, picture with lit cigarette, “Chesterfield is my cigarette, (signed) Ronald Reagan”

        c. About same era, full magazine page ad, “I’m giving Chesterfield to my friends this Christmas, (signed) Ronald Reagan”

        Over recent decades Big 2WackGo has given near twice as much money to Rep as to Dem candidates or party.

        Youth rates are lower because of recent ongrowth of sneak technocrat “DRUG”-Testing Terror, mandatory machine to catch you with month-old THC metabolites, shaming, blacklisting, lower lifelong $$$$ earnings career track, can’t marry prettiest girlfriend, parents vindictively angry, “Get out of my house” etc. etc. Julian reported the top official in the Democrat Party is connected to “Drug”test profiteering, more questions to be asked.

        “no one is suggesting that adolescents should be permitted to smoke marijuana. Quite the contrary. We would all prefer that our kids remain drug-free as long as possible, while their minds and bodies are fully developing.”

        You’ve left me an opening to mention Vaporization. What if every adolescent between age 3 and 13 knew the difference between $moking and Vaping, how to serve a 25-mg toke with a flexdrawtube oneheater–

        instead of a 500-mg Joint, 900C when they puff on it, 400C when it’s resting between puffs.

        The Joint (esp. with tobacco admixed, as in blunt outer skin) was described by Australian Department of Health as a Trojan Horse* luring children into the habit of nicotine $igarette $moking (#1 health danger on planet).
        ___________________________

        * alias Gateway Drug

    9. Bryan says:

      Ok everyone who has smoked marijuana knows that smoking marijuana does not make a person perform violent Acts or do stupid stuff for those who believe that smoking marijuana missing person

    10. Bryan says:

      Obviously people who say that marijuana is bad for a person and make people do stupid things have obviously never smoked marijuana a study can not be done by reading a textbook people who smoke marijuana do not perform violent Acts or do stupid things in fact most people sit around laughing and having fun for those persons who believed that marijuana destroys the mind well here is a little bit of information i’ve smoked marijuana and have around 9 invention ideas and about 10 business ideas oh I know maybe marijuana ate all my bad brain cells up allowing me to become smarter

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