High Times for The Unregulated Purveyors of Pot

High Times for The Unregulated Purveyors of Pot
Posted by CN Staff on December 22, 2007 at 06:15:51 PT
By Rob Kampia
Source: Star-Tribune
USA -- Look at the numbers for teenage cigarette smoking. Now look at the numbers for teenage marijuana use. Folks, there's a lesson here.Last week, President Bush touted new survey results showing a modest drop in teen use of marijuana and other drugs, but he failed to mention the drug for which prevention efforts have had the most spectacular success -- tobacco. If he had, he might have had to make some troubling comparisons.
Bush noted that drug use has declined from its recent peak in 1996, but sidestepped the longer-term picture that doesn't look nearly so rosy.If you go back 15 years, to 1992, drug use is up almost across the board. For example, in 1992, 3.7 percent of eighth-graders were current marijuana users, compared with 5.7 percent in 2007. For 12th-graders, the figures were 11.9 percent and 18.8 percent, respectively.This contrasts sharply with the figures on adolescent cigarette use. Here, too, there was a bit of a rise in the mid-1990s, but overall, the trend is much more encouraging.While marijuana use is higher among all age groups than it was 15 years ago, cigarette smoking has dropped remarkably. Among 12th-graders, current cigarette smoking has dropped from 27.8 percent in 1992 to 21.6 percent this year. For eighth-graders, the drop is even more dramatic, from 15.5 percent down to 7.1 percent.And here's a figure that may be shocking: Among 10th-graders, 14.0 percent currently smoke cigarettes, while 14.2 percent smoke marijuana. That's right: Slightly more 10th-graders now smoke marijuana than cigarettes.The sharp drop in cigarette use is not attributable to changing attitudes about smoking. Teen disapproval of smoking is only marginally higher than it was in 1992, for all age groups.So what accounts for the drop in tobacco use? The regulation of cigarette sales and marketing. As part of the Master Settlement Agreement with 46 states, cigarette companies agreed to stop outdoor advertising and to banish kid-friendly characters such as Joe Camel. Even more important, we as a nation got serious about reducing tobacco sales to kids.In 1992, Congress passed the Synar amendment, requiring states to enact and enforce laws prohibiting sale of tobacco products to youth under the age of 18, and setting up unannounced inspections of retail outlets. The program has worked spectacularly well. In 1997, inspectors found that more than 40 percent of retailers were violating the ban on cigarette sales to kids. By 2006, the violation rate had dropped to just 10.9 percent, and it's still dropping.So what does this have to do with marijuana?Simply put, we have leverage over tobacco sellers that we don't have with marijuana dealers. Because tobacco retailers and producers are licensed and regulated, we have some control over them. If they want to keep their lucrative businesses, cigarette merchants have a strong incentive to follow the laws -- even laws they don't like.Consider this: As part of their reaction to the Synar amendment, tobacco retailers adopted a "voluntary" program called "We Card." Today, virtually any store that sells cigarettes posts a large, brightly colored sign saying, "Under 18, No Tobacco. We Card."Have you ever seen a marijuana dealer with a "We Card" sign?If we want to control teen access to marijuana, it's time to learn a lesson from our success with tobacco. Contrary to the mythology put out by drug czar John Walters and his ilk, the complete prohibition of marijuana for adults not only doesn't help to keep marijuana away from kids, but it actually hampers such efforts.Regulation works. Prohibition deprives authorities of the best tools available to successfully regulate sales and marketing. Prohibition has handed the entire, annual $113 billion marijuana industry over to unregulated criminals, with entirely predictable consequences.If we really want to control marijuana and keep it away from our kids, it's time to bring it within the law and regulate it as we do tobacco.Rob Kampia is executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington. Source: Minneapolis Star-Tribune (MN) Author: Rob KampiaPublished: December 21, 2007Copyright: 2007 Star Tribune Contact: opinion Website:  Related Article & Web Site:Marijuana Policy Project Says Drug Policy Working
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #5 posted by John Tyler on December 23, 2007 at 20:30:34 PT
either way
Funny isn’t it that the gov. thinks that by prohibiting cannabis it will become a controlled substance, and unavailable, while in reality (you know, down here on the physical plane) it becomes an uncontrolled substance? Conversely, if prohibition were to end, cannabis would be available, yet controlled. So will cannabis be controlled, regulated, and taxed or not? Either way, it will still be around. Political guys… answer please.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by FoM on December 22, 2007 at 09:36:40 PT
Max Flowers 
Thank you too Max Flowers. I know we are in the home stretch. I feel it deep inside. It might take another year or two but we are on our way I believe.Merry Christmas!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by Max Flowers on December 22, 2007 at 08:51:12 PT
Thanks FoM and all of us
This seems like a good place to thank you FoM for all you've done, and to thank all Cannabisnews members who have spent so much time and energy over the years commenting tirelessly about this battle. Thanks everybody! Great work.WE WILL OVERCOME this oppression someday, and I think it's a day that is coming sooner than later. I believe this site and the people on it will turn out to have played a big role in cannabis liberation when the final analysis is in.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 22, 2007 at 07:44:13 PT
Merry Christmas to you dear friend. We will be on our way on the Christmas trail soon too. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by afterburner on December 22, 2007 at 07:40:29 PT
Have a High Happy Holy Christmas Everyone
I'm on the Christmas trail soon. Below is my gift to you of logic, hope and healing.STEVIE WONDER LYRICS"A Time To Love"
(feat. India.Arie)
We have time for racism
We have time for criticism
Held bondage by our ism's 
When will there be a time to loveWe make time to debate religion
Passing bills and building prisons
For building fortunes and passing judgements
When will there be a time to loveAt this point in history we have a choice to make
To either walk a path of love
Or be crippled by our hateWe have time to cause pollution
We have time to cause confusion
All wrapped up in our own illusions
When will there be a time to loveWe make time to conquer nations
Time for oil exploration
Hatred, violence and terrorism
When will there be a time to loveAt this moment in time
We have a choice to make
Father God is watching
While we cause mother earth so much pain
It's such a shameNot enough money for
The young, the old and the poor
But for war there is always more
When will there be a time to loveWe make time for paying taxes
Or paying bills and buying status
But we will pay the consequences
If we don't make the time to loveNow's the time to pay attention
Yes now is the time... to love...
A time love... Love...
A time to Love
Please, please won't you tell me
When will there be a time to love...[Thanks to for these lyrics]
}"You want to find the truth in life
Don't pass music by
And you know I would not lie, no I would not lie,
No, I would not lie
Down in Monterey"
Monterey lyrics - Eric Burdon lyrics BC: PUB LTE: Prisons Are Not For Those With Alcohol and Drug Problems, The Williams Lake Tribune, (18 Dec 2007)
"Create work for our youth in forest and environment reclamation. There is so much that could be done. There is a group locally who would like to run the Cariboo Lodge as a residence for the homeless and those in poverty. What a good idea. Why can't this community start to show some empathy and compassion for those less fortunate. "Not everyone can be a person with special skills or a mover and shaker. When we start to consider that all people deserve a chance in life, then there will be less anger and resentment in our society, and less drug abuse, violence, and crime. Sending more people to jail, or letting them die in the streets is certainly no solution."CN BC: PUB LTE: Drug Laws a Covering Fig Leaf, The Valley Echo, (19 Dec 2007) Good logic, except for the scary mention of heroin.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment