Drug Czar blames medical marijuana in teen pot use

Posted on December 17th, 2011 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

MexicoCannabis use among teens is rising, despite declines in smoking and alcohol use, according to new findings of the Monitoring the Future survey, conducted by the University of Michigan for the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The study reports that one in every 15 high school seniors said they used marijuana almost every day, the highest rate since 1981. And the Drug Czar is blaming the medical marijuana movement.

R. Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, pointed out the rise in pot use coincides with the growing number of states to legalizie medical marijuana. "We know that any substance that is legally available is more widely used," he told the Los Angeles Times. He told the New York Times: "These last couple years, the amount of attention that's been given to medical marijuana has been huge. And when I’ve done focus groups with high school students in states where medical marijuana is legal, they say, 'Well, if its called medicine and it’s given to patients by caregivers, then that’s really the wrong message for us as high school students.'" (MLive.com, Dec. 16)

That quote smells apocryphal. We have also pointed out that the rise in youth cannabis use is concomitant with a decline in cocaine and methamphetamine use as well as tobacco and alcohol. So while we don't condone cannabis use by minors—on balance, this new development appears to be an improvement in the situation. 

Photo: Themadpothead



Teen pot use down since 2011

Bill Weinberg's picture

 From Smell the Truth, Dec. 19:

If medical marijuana laws and recreational marijuana laws will lead to increased teen use, as critics say, why are rates of teen use dropping?

The question is going to come up a lot over the next year, now that the annual Monitoring the Future Survey released today by the National Institutes of Health finds that from 2011 to 2012:

- Daily marijuana use decreased among 8th- and 12th-graders, while remaining the same for 10th-graders.

- Past-30-day marijuana use decreased among 8th- and 10th-graders, while increasing only slightly among 12th-graders.

- Annual marijuana use decreased among 8th- and 10th-graders, while remaining the same for 12th-graders.

The CDC survey also found that in Colorado, past-30-day marijuana use among high school students decreased 11 percent since the state began regulating the sale of medical marijuana in 2009, whereas it increased 11 percent nationwide, where marijuana remains entirely unregulated.

Wonder what Kerlikowske is going to have to say about this one?


Comment by Bill Weinberg on Dec 19th, 2012 at 10:48 pm

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