As Use of Pot Drops, Prohibitionists Must Look Elsewhere for Pro-Drug War Arguments
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The Washington Post has recently reported that rates of marijuana use among teens who reside in Colorado are unchanged when compared to data gathered before state voters legalized marijuana in 2012.
In 2009, a survey showed that 25 percent of Colorado youths had used marijuana in the past 30 days but in 2015, only 21 percent of youths did the same. The survey was carried out among random middle and high school students across the state.
According to the Colorado health department, the agency behind this survey, the use of marijuana among teens has not increased since legalization. A fact many drug warriors did not predict before voters decided to make the recreational use of the plant legal across the state.
In the past, opponents of legalization made the case that lifting restrictions on access to weed would push the number of teen smokers up, but as the number of marijuana use nationwide is falling considerably, prohibitionists begin to panic.
According to Mason Tvert, the Marijuana Policy Project’s director of communications, the theory that “making marijuana legal for adults will result in more teen use” has been clearly debunked with the help of these surveys. “Levels of teen use in Colorado have not increased since it ended marijuana prohibition,” Tvert added, “and they are lower than the national average. Elected officials and voters in states that are considering similar proposals should be wary of claims that it will hurt teens.”
But the fight against prohibition continues to win new supporters, even as prohibitionist politicians continue to put failed policies before real progress.
Most recently, a group known as Arkansans for Compassionate Care submitted 117,649 signatures to the secretary of state urging the state to place a proposal on the ballot that would legalize medical marijuana.
The proposal would help people with certain medical conditions have access to marijuana products with the help of a doctor’s recommendation. While the signatures haven’t been confirmed, the group needed 69,000 signatures from registered voters to have the initiative added to the ballot. Two other groups in the state of Arkansas are also gathering signatures for other proposals, one that would legalize medical marijuana and a second that would legalize recreational weed.
At least 25 states and Washington D.C. currently have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, with Ohio being the latest state to allow residents suffering from chronic pain, epilepsy, or side effects of cancer treatments to be treated with the help of cannabis.
As more states where the use of cannabis is legal investigate the use of its residents, it becomes clearer that freedom—not the government’s micromanagement skills—works.