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Prohibition Doesn't Prevent Teens From Using

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US MO: PUB LTE: Prohibition Doesn't Prevent Teens From Using


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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v13/n548/a07.html

Newshawk: Kirk

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Sat, 16 Nov 2013

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Copyright: 2013 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Contact: http://drugsense.org/url/qFJNhZNm

Website: http://www.stltoday.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/418

Author: John Payne




While reading Howard Weissman's editorial "Legalizing marijuana means children will be targeted" ( Nov.  8 ), I was pleased to see that the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse now agrees that adult cannabis use should not be treated as a criminal matter and that Mr.  Weissman acknowledges that no one wants to see more kids using cannabis.  However, I strongly dispute Weissman's claim that cannabis prohibition more effectively keeps the substance away from teens than would the legal, regulated model we employ for alcohol and tobacco.  In fact, prohibition fails at preventing teens in particular from using marijuana.


According to the 2012 Monitoring the Future study, which the federal government uses to track drug use among teenagers, 22.9 percent of high school seniors used cannabis in the past month.  That is substantially greater than the 17.1 percent of seniors who smoked cigarettes in the past month, despite the fact that cigarettes are legal for many seniors.  It's true that more high school seniors drink than use cannabis, with 40 percent reporting drinking in the past month, but some context is necessary here.


According to Gallup polling, 66 percent of American adults drink, but only 7 percent smoke marijuana, meaning drinking is less prevalent among teenagers than adults, but teenagers smoke marijuana at more than three times the rate of the adult population.  Cannabis prohibition seems to be discouraging use among responsible adults but encouraging it among teenagers --- the precise inverse of what a rational policy would achieve.


John Payne


Executive director, Show-Me Cannabis Regulation

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom


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