Legalizing Weed Unlikely to Turn Kids into Pothead
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Legalizing Weed Unlikely to Turn Kids into Pothead
Posted by CN Staff on September 22, 2015 at 10:45:15 PT
By Christopher Ingraham
Source: Washington Post
USA -- A central idea of the war on drugs has always been that loosening restrictions on drug use  by decriminalizing it, or allowing medical use, or legalizing some drugs completely, or even simply discussing legalization  will "send the wrong message" to kids and lead to increased teen drug use and all the problems associated therewith.But particularly in the realm of marijuana policy, the evidence has repeatedly shown this notion to be inaccurate. After all, 20 states have passed decriminalization measures. And since 1996, 34 states have passed some sort of medical marijuana bill. But, according to two new studies published in the past month, teen use of marijuana has fallen over that same period.
"Despite considerable changes in state marijuana policies over the past 15 years, marijuana use among high school students has largely declined," concludes one of the papers, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The study looks at marijuana use among all high school students in the United States, as measured every two years by the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. In 1999, 47.2 percent of high schoolers had reported ever using marijuana in their lifetime. That number plummeted to 36.8 percent in 2009. It crept back up to 40.7 percent by 2013, but the study's authors found that that uptick is, so far, not statistically significant.The study found similar patterns held true when you look at monthly use and daily use. Now, the researchers do say that the small uptick since 2009 is worth keeping an eye on."It is unclear whether observed increases in annual lifetime marijuana use since 2009 are atypical observations, or early indicators that the decline in use has reversed course." They conclude that "although our results do not suggest that the rapid pace of change to state-level marijuana policies has resulted in immediate and drastic increases in adolescent use, continued monitoring is necessary to observe how trends change over a longer period of time."The other study, published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, suggests one reason behind the downward trend in use: strong disapproval of marijuana use among younger teens is up sharply from where it was even 10 years ago.That study looked at a different set of data -- attitudes toward marijuana and use of the drug as reported in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. These numbers also show a decrease in marijuana use rates, in the window from 2002 to 2013. Disapproval is up sharply among teens age 13 and 14, and roughly flat among older teens.The change in attitudes among the younger group is significant, as kids who start smoking weed at a young age are more likely to experience negative health and schooling impacts from it later on. But, "perceptions and practices of younger adolescents with respect to marijuana have not been negatively impacted by recent marijuana-related changes in public policy and perception," the study found. "In fact, we observed significant increases in disapproval and decreases in both past year and lifetime marijuana use among this important developmental subgroup."Again, these data only go through 2013. So it's highly premature to draw any sweeping conclusions about the impact of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington on teen use. But, taken as a whole these two studies add to the body of evidence that shows that rapid changes in state laws and evolution in public opinion on marijuana over the past 15 or so years haven't led to the explosion in teen pot addicts that many proponents of the war on drugs feared.Aside from growing disapproval among the younger cohort, the first of the two studies outlines some reasons why use rates have remained flat or declining among teens. Crucially, marijuana has always been easy for teens to get ahold of. Since the 1970s, the proportion of 12th-graders who say that marijuana would be "easy" to get has remained well over 80 percent. Tenth and 12th graders generally say that marijuana is only a little harder to get their hands on than alcohol.So if teens aren't smoking pot, it's largely by choice -- not because it's unavailable to them. And that may be a reassuring fact as more states decide whether to legalize the drug.Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.Source: Washington Post (DC) Author:  Christopher IngrahamPublished: September 21, 2015Copyright: 2015 Washington Post CompanyContact: letters Website: URL: -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on September 22, 2015 at 20:41:02 PT
BS factory
great Voltaire quote observer - will add it to the collection.  Yes, we love hypocritical lies in the US, especially to justify immoral exploitation and oppression.Bob Barr - MPP hired him and gave him a paycheck. *ahem*
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Comment #1 posted by observer on September 22, 2015 at 13:58:39 PT
send the wrong message
by decriminalizing it, or allowing medical use, or legalizing some drugs completely, or even simply discussing legalization  will "send the wrong message"And that always was a rather transparent excuse to demonise dissent. To try to shut up people who disagree. Some gung-ho prohibitionists, like Bob Barr when he was in Congress, openly suggested using RICO statues to jail people who spoke favorably of legalizing cannabis. Bob Barr said that would be great, because it would have a "chilling effect" (his words) on discussion prohibitionists didn't like.will "send the wrong message"Why should adults be jailed because of potential misunderstandings of children?What a bogus excuse.In what other area of life are adults legally prohibited from doing something, because children might, potentially, maybe misunderstand something?Are adults prohibited from skydiving because kids might get the wrong idea? Are adults prohibited from walking across the street, because toddlers might misunderstand and get hit by a car?  Is there any other instance of "jail adults because kids might be confused" - or was that an absurd ad-hoc explanation to justify what they really want to do? The answer is apparent. The game is obviously: find some plausible excuse to jail people for pot.So we can see the drug warrior excuse that adults must be imprisoned for pot because otherwise not jailing people for pot would "send the wrong message" to children is utterly absurd. The key to making such absurdities seem reasonable lies in the MSM. If enough officials and authorities say it with a straight face, then it must be true. Why would government and media lie to us? 
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. - Voltaire
So of course "send the wrong message" was a lying excuse to continue government killing, stealing from, and destroying peaceful adult pot users. Whatever you'll believe. Any excuse will do.
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