Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Kids Are All Right: Changing U.S. Marijuana Laws Have Had No Effect On Teen Marijuana Use

The Kids Are All Right: Changing U.S. Marijuana Laws Have Had No Effect On Teen Marijuana Use
By Kurtis Bright

Adult Marijuana Use Outpaces That Of Teens, According To Latest CDC Study

The long, strange trip that U.S. citizens have been forced to endure regarding the outlawing of marijuana finally appears to be winding down.

Currently there are 25 states that allow some form of legal, regulated medical marijuana use, and there are now four--Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska--that allow recreational use. Nearly a dozen states entertained pro-marijuana initiatives in this November’s election, including the most populous state in the union, California which passed a law legalizing recreational use of up to an ounce per adult user.

No doubt Harry Anslinger, the regent of reefer madness, the prophet of prohibition, the man who kicked off the marijuana mania Americans suffered under for so may decades starting in the 1930s is rolling over in his grave.

Support for legalization is “rapidly outpacing opposition” according to one recent Pew poll--which is quite stunning news when you consider the modern era of anti-drug wars that have been fought so hard and so viciously and which have employed such tremendous resources devoted to propaganda.

Other good news for those who support marijuana law sanity--and what may be the final nail in the coffin for opponents--is a recent Centers for Disease Control report showing that middle-aged parents are now more likely to smoke marijuana than their teen children.

Which turns the perpetual question of busybody Maude Flanders of Simpsons fame on its head: what about the children?

Indeed, Maude, indeed. What about the children?

It turns out that decriminalization and outright legalization, far from a deadly scourge that might lay waste to a generation of teens and turn them all into instant heroin addicts upon taking their first hit of weed--as some of the more rabid anti-marijuana literature would have you believe--has instead led to a decline in use among the younger generation.

Between 2002 and 2014, over 8 percent of adults between the ages of 35 and 44 reported smoking marijuana regularly. And marijuana use doubled in U.S. adults age 45 to 55, actually quadrupling for those 55 to 64--and tripling for those aged 65 and older.

So the kids are all right, it would seem, in that they haven’t turned en masse like a pack of rabid lemmings to wolfing down copious amounts of weed in response to the opening up of legal avenues with which adults can acquire it, despite the querulous warnings from Maude Flanders’ real-life counterparts.

Indeed, one wonders why, with so many people using marijuana to treat chronic pain, anxiety, and even a large number of veterans using it to treat PTSD, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s recently rejected the proposal to re-classify the plant from a Schedule 1 drug. Those are the substances that are considered most dangerous and have no known medical value, like heroin and LSD.

In fact it is downright madness that this designation continues in light of current knowledge and changing mores.

As there are now so many aging baby boomers reaching for the bong as opposed to the predicted wave of schoolkids, we eagerly await hearing some panicky anti-drug warrior to cry out: “What about the elderly? Won’t someone think of the elderly?”

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