Cannabis Prohibition Does Not Protect Youth; Lessons In Tobacco Policies

Dear Wall Street Journal Editors,
The headline alone provides sufficient irony “Marijuana Use Rises Among Teens; Cigarettes Smoking Lowest Since ’75,” in that the long-stated goal of the federal government’s so-called anti-drug bureaucrats has been to reduce the use of cannabis consumption in America. Billions of taxpayer dollars and 20 million cannabis-related arrests later, the social data continues to consistently demonstrate the government achieving one stated goal–the reduction of tobacco use–but not significant reductions in cannabis use among teens?
What is the lesson here?
That with tobacco, the world’s most death-inducing and addictive drug, verifiable and credible health information (along with progressive, teen-deterring, but not black market-inviting taxes imposed by local and federal governments) have a better chance of achieving the federal government’s stated and laudable goal of reduced teen use–not criminal sanctions and prohibition laws.
Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director NORML/NORML Foundation

WSJ: Marijuana Use Rises Among Teens; Cigarette Smoking Lowest Since ’75
Marijuana use among teenagers increased this year after previous declines, while the use of other illicit drugs like cocaine mostly declined.
According to an annual National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded survey of nearly 47,000 students, almost one-third of 12th-graders and more than one-quarter of 10th-graders reported using marijuana in 2009. Almost 12% of eighth-graders reported marijuana use, an increase from about 11% in 2008.
The survey, conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, asked teenagers to report on the use of smoking, alcohol use and drug use, including non-medical uses of prescription painkillers and over-the-counter cold and cough products.
The report showed cigarette smoking was at the lowest point since the survey started in 1975, although the use of smokeless-tobacco products increased on some measures this year.
Researchers say the percentage of students who reported ever trying cigarettes has fallen dramatically.
Daily cigarette use by 12th-graders was 11.2%, a slight drop from 11.4% in 2008, while any use during the past 30 days was 20.1%, also a slight decline from 2008. Smokeless-tobacco use during the past 30 days in 2009 was reported by 8.4% of students in 12th grade, up from 6.5% in 2008.
Researchers said one of the reasons smoking rates have declined is that the percentage of students who reported ever trying smoking has “fallen dramatically.” For example in 1996, 49% of eighth-graders reported trying cigarettes, compared with 20% this year.
Alcohol use stayed about the same last year, with more than half of 10th-graders and about two-thirds of seniors reporting alcohol use in the past year.
The survey showed past-year use of cocaine decreased to 3.4% from 4.4% in 2008 among 12th-graders, along with declines in the use of hallucinogens and methamphetamine.
The use of over-the-counter cold and cough medicines to get high, however, edged up among all age groups, with 6% of 10th-graders reporting non-medical use of the products last year.
The annual survey also found continuing high rates of prescription-drug abuse, with almost 10% of 12th-graders reporting non-medical use of the painkiller Vicodin last year, the same rate as 2008. Almost 5% of high-school seniors reported using OxyContin for a non-medical use in 2009, a slight uptick from 2008.
Researchers said 66% of teens reported obtaining the prescription drugs from a friend or relative, while 19% said they received the drugs with a doctor’s prescription, and 8% said they bought the drugs from a dealer.

0 thoughts

  1. One thing missing in their survey. Coffee and cannabis being used at the same time. The young people of today have connected the two. Having tried this myself I would say it is very pleasing. Having an altered state of mind in a way that is both intoxicating and stimulating is a very nice experience. Whoever came up with this idea Thank You. I would like to know what percentage of people are using both at the same time.

  2. Well, it’s a good thing that young people are using marijuana rather than cigarettes, given that cannabis prevents lung and other cancers while tobacco causes them.

  3. For one thing,the world is full of experienced cigarette smokers,even while they are lighting another cigarette,
    telling the young people not to start on the nasty things.
    With the factual reporting of the dangers of tobacco being thrown at them from every source of information and their own witnessing of the damages that tobacco has done and is capable of.
    On the other hand,you have a federal government that has lied to them about the dangers of marijuana,and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that they have lied.
    And even older marijuana smokers that quit smoking as they grew older will tell you that marijuana smoking is not the devils tool that the government has spent billions trying to find harm in for the last 40 years
    and still can’t find.
    The only way that you can educate people about danger is to come up with factual studies and scientific proofs,not myths,lies and propaganda.
    As long as the drug czar stands in front of Americans
    and lies about marijuana not having medical value,they will never succeed,no matter how much they spend,or how many they lock up.

  4. Has anyone ever tried just going to congress and trying to get a straight answer on why its illegal other than them say “It’s Bad For you” well you know what is also everything food can make you fat sugar can speed up your heart rate, give you cavities etc. even too much sun is bad for you what are they going to do next forbid us to go outside what is really so bad about it besides getting so hungry you eat up all your food?

  5. Has anyone ever tried just going to congress and trying to get a straight answer on why its illegal other than them say “It’s Bad For you” well you know what is also everything food can make you fat sugar can speed up your heart rate, give you cavities etc. even too much sun is bad for you what are they going to do next forbid us to go outside what is really so bad about it besides getting so hungry you eat up all your food?

  6. I read the title and immediatly said to myself ‘Tell me something I don’t already know.’
    Fuck this quasi-dictatorship we live in.

  7. Speaking of it…
    When I still smoked cannabis, I did find it very enjoyable to drink coffee and catch a buzz. The two together just seemed to make the whole day brighter.

  8. Canada’s New ‘Anti-Drug’ Website Directed at Youth A Complete Failure.
    http// IS A JOKE.
    This is nothing more than Steve and the others blowing more reefer smoke up the public’s asses. The file is a failure. The ministers are failures. We need some CLIMATE change in Ottawa before we go completely to hell in this blue handcart. I’m not sure who’ll be any better, but nobody could be more destructive than the cartel calling the shots right now.
    Today every kid on the internet is snickering at “health” Canada’s reefer puzzle games and lies on their cheezy ‘interactive’ [HAHAHA] website, (which even the United States no longer buy into.. Even Rush Limbaugh admits that there’s more to fear from Perdue’s herion than any ‘friendly stranger’ he’s ever met). Montana has a PR plan. We have a joke. But this is not funny. Lives are at stake and the needless human suffering is as tragic as it is depraved. | Take a dose of brutal reality. *pass it on*

  9. I don’t drink coffee, but I do drink a lot of tea.
    Cannabis is an enhancer, so it’s only natural that cannabis would enhance a caffiene buzz. That’s what you/we all are experiencing when we toke with a cuppa coffee or tea.

  10. Good one Allen. Calling the whole tobacco plant a drug like they do cannabis, I like that. Don’t think I’ve ever caught that one before.
    But yes, we all here agree that we don’t think kids shold be smoking reefer and the most effecient way to accomplish that goal is to end prohibition and let responsible folks control it instead of the least responsible segment of society—criminals and street-gangs.

  11. Try strong Red Zinger tea and cannabis. Great
    I have red this article and in the end they recommended increasing the price of cigs and restricting their use in public. I don’t smoke them, but just how will they do this and not look like the draconian dictators they really are.

  12. I have mentioned it is D.A.T. whose the real force behind prohibition . I have shown and demonstrated why the Drug and Alcohol Companies are spending endlessly to ” snuff ” out marijuana . In illiterate Countries they still push tobacco and fund the war against Cannabis so , these poor illiterates believe this rubbish which increases the penalties against marijuana which increases the use of Drug , Alcohol and Tobacco . Lies and deception all done for money .
    In , China where penalties for marijuana include frequent executions there are 350 million cigarette smokers . Illiteracy jumped 33 % from 87 million to 116 million .
    Surely these Companies who use Children in life or death situations to deceive you into thinking marijuana is the Devil are the Devil themselves .
    Paypal was aquired by eBay in 2002 . Meg Whitman is or was Chairman for eBay . The McCain’s and many others love the lies , deception & brainwashing these Companies do . It puts money in their pockets . Paypal stopped doing business with NORML saying , ” you may not use Paypal in the purchase or sale of narcotics “.
    In Russia where they are killing themselves with their love and lust for Alcohol as little as just enough Pot to put under your fingernail would result in a 3 yr. prison term .Things are changing but , that’s just how powerful that Satan is by using deception to trick and to deceive you into thinking D.A.T. is good and marijuana is bad .As a result of Satan’s great deceptions there are people being executed , jailed and prosecuted throughout the World .This includes even here .
    ……… ” called the Devil and Satan which deceiveth the whole World “.

  13. The states and federal government must react fast to legalization. More and More dealers are lacing marijuana to have people coming back for more and more. This trick is easily done by sprinkling either heroin or coccaine on the buds going unnoticed. My days of smoking have been gone until they come out with a structured process on clean marijuana!!! Did you Know…….A good percentage of marijuana is tampered with by you can only guess who……….

  14. To number 9……………We only live in this dictatorship because everyone goes along with everything they put in front of people on television creating a colossal brainwashing affect. It is the peoples job to stand up and have a peaceful mind revolution. BUUUUUUUUUT Im pretty sure at this point your fellow neighbor is indeed a robot……..

  15. speaking of , Canada ………
    Recently , i had an appointment to meet with two Directors & Producers in L.A. for a Doritos commercial early Tuesday morning. Since traffic from North to South to L.A. in the morning is horrific i decided to
    ” camp out ” at the Northern most State campground in , Malibu , California for the night to avoid the traffic in the morning .
    Well , i smoked my medicine right next to another two campers who became fanatical & were freaking out over my use of Cannabis . She was going absolutely beserk . She was really having a cow because i was peacefully & without bothering anyone smoking Cannabis .
    I couldn’t really believe it .
    She got on her Cell phone and called 911 & made sure i heard everything she said in an ” attempt to scare
    me ” so i would put my Pot down & out .Of course , i didn’t .
    Well , a half hour later a Park Ranger pulled up and talked to me . I knew why he was there but , instead of asking me about my weed ( he already knew me ) smoking he asked about where the $25 camping fee was . I handed it right to him .
    I thought all along….this is really weird that this couple next to me were freaking out over my cannabis use . I looked at their License plates and it said
    ” Quebec ” . No wonder ……….
    In the morning just as the sun started rising i got up for my drive to , Hollywood and as i looked out over the Ocean i noticed below their picnic table was bottle after bottle of liquor & cigarette butts scattered all over the beach .
    My camping spot was left clean and spotless .

  16. Maybe the legal age to buy cigarettes should be 21….opps .Thumbs up on the java / herb in the morning luv that combo

  17. #20, ya thats why I dont smoke, dont know what is on it or in it.I dont mind smoking something I wont be addicted to, but refuse to let a cartel, dealer,government cause me to be addicted.
    Soon as it legal I’ll have a nice big green growing in my living room , couple in a closet.
    The one in the living room would just be cause I love the smell.:)

  18. To #2, In response to your coffee and pot. A lot of drinkers/alcoholic’s like to use cocaine when they wake up with a hangover, and for some that is the only time they use the coca. Others not so much control.

  19. To #3, According to Dr. Ted Mikaysuka (not sure of spelling of last name.), who has done studies for the last 30 years at some University in Calif., ucla or somewhere, if a person mixes the two together, smoking cigs and smoking cannabis, this can create a disastrous effect on the lungs health, versus just smoking one or the other only. Cannabis dialates the bronchial tubes and cleans them, so then if you smoke cigs on top of that you really gonna fuck your lung health up. Better to only smoke cigs. BEST TO ONLY SMOKE – I MEAN TO TOKE – I MEAN VAPOURIZE CANNABIS.

  20. To Waterless Oceans, nice handle, brings to mind connotaions of Global Warming, Melting of Glaciers and the eventual evaporation of all water on this planet. I’m pretty sure your fellow neighbor is a robot is a dead on insight, unless they live next door to me.

  21. #20. just grow ur own, man
    (& i found a chronic seed in my chron shit the other day, so I’m pretty sure that if anyone woulda fucked with it, they woulda done something with that)

  22. some of the comments on this article are troubling to me, especially some of the posts saying that its better for our kids to smoke weed than smoke cigarettes. Though, I believe it to be true myself to some extent. Just don’t forget that in order to win we have to be as responsible as possible and provide an example to the people we’re fighting. In some instances I’d rather catch my son or daughter smoking weed than other more dangerous things but I feel that NO ONE UNDER 21 SHOULD SMOKE. One of the main reasons I think it should be legal is so that we can regulate it and keep the selling out of the hands of criminals that would sell to our kids. I know the posters meant no harm by voicing their opinions on the matter and you think very similar to me but lets not forget the example we are trying to send to the idiots in power. I think that the most important thing this article points out is that regulation is reducing the use of tobacco while the black market is having free reign on the sale of weed to our kids. And to the comment on our weed being laced with coke and heroin to make it addictive I can’t see why anyone would waste the money lacing pot. I could be wrong but I would think regular heroin and coke would just burn and do nothing to the user but I could be wrong.(I usually am)

  23. Hey, this whole marijuana thing is really about hemp, because hemp
    makes really good paper and takes less chemicals to do so.
    Now I want all of you to look up ” mellon family and harry j. anslinger”,
    when you find their connection, then look up mellon family
    and dupont family. You might just find a connection between the mellon family bank, which was heavily invested in duponts new way of making paper from trees at the turn of the twentieth century, which was just about the time harry j. anslinger was put in office as the head of the newly established federal bureau of narcotics. figure it out!
    Now that marijuana and hemp have been illegal for 60 plus years,
    our society has built itself around their absence and by this I mean that
    whole industries have been created by the absence of hemp and the products that can be produced by hemp.
    legalizing hemp like marijuana, could potentially put an end to whole
    industries, and change is something that our corporation controlled
    government will not part with, just look at the healthcare issue.

  24. Speaking of Price increases to cigarettes, I been out of that loop for 11 years since I quit…Has the price increases driven cigs to be sold in black market yet. I suppose they always have been in the black market but has that market increased due to increase sales?
    They were 2.50$ a pack back then, what 4-5$ now?

  25. So many people here where I live believe the bullshit propaganda so much that it makes me sick. It is slowly getting better though as people like myself are starting to defeat the stereotypes, marijuana prohibitionists are still literally forcing these stereotypes on us though. An example would be how so many companies require drug testing to get jobs, they obviously discriminate against responsible marijuana consumers.

  26. Why so much miss information? Find more info regarding getting your green card in Montana, even if you do not live here!! Montana recognizes other state green cards and will issue a Montana MMJ card!! We can help!Check out Greene Acres Caregiver a for more info!!

  27. A couple comments. First, while I enjoyed the article, I contest the assertion that we are not taxing cigs to the point of creating a black market. NY, where I live, increased cig taxes a year or so ago (to #38, the price in NY for a legal pack is $7-$9 depending on your brand). I live in extreme northern NY, almost Canada, and can attest that this increase has led to increased black market activity around cig sales. People up here have gone to the Indian reservations for untaxed cigs for years, but it never really spread b/c prices were reasonable. Since the tax increase, there has been a marked increase in busts for buying untaxed cigs. Specifically, people from the city (NYC) have been coming up here and buying hundreds of cartons of cigs to bring down and resell. Sound like a black market?
    Second, to #20 – lacing cannabis with more addictive drugs makes no economic sense. I’ve been told that if you go to larger cities and ask around for ‘wet’ weed (laced with PCP) you can find it, but you have to ask for it and it costs more. While you can get high from smoking heroin or coke, the price of either makes them uneconomical cutting agents. Up here, you’d have to spend an extra $50 to sprinkle a gram of cannabis with coke, then you’d have to justify the wildly inflated price of the gram to your unsuspecting customers. Even if you were dumb enough to buy a $60 gram, it’s pretty easy to spot laced cannabis. Hint: if you see white or brown powder in the bottom of your bag or on your buds, it’s laced. The cannabis plant does not naturally produce any powders in any color. Dealers are more likely to spray their cannabis, and even then it’s to increase weight, not make it addictive. Water is about the only thing you can put on cannabis without it being noticeable. Other substances can be seen, smelt, tasted, or felt when you break the buds up.

  28. What’s funny is that if you were to wikipedia the term—fascism—-it does not sound too disimilar from our own good Ole’ U.S. of A. Because it seems that the corperate style business model is a big part of fascist gov’t………….don’t believe it.? LOOK it up.

  29. Zalnar: its’ the entry level ‘mcjobs’ that require drug testing, which are discriminating against youth, basically. I know a guy who makes 6 digits working IT at a big accounting firm in downtown philly, he tokes every night. They’d never even think of forcing their employees to be drug tested because they’re skilled laborers. They’re good at what they do, why should the office care what they do in their free time.
    It’s the bottom level jobs like fast food or shelf stocking at Home Depot/Lowe’s/Walmart who require drug testing, so they can avoid lawsuits should someone have an accident. If someone did have an accident (on the job) and their blood was tested in the hospital, Walmart/Home Depot/etc doesn’t want to be held accountable because someone had residual cannabinoids in their system. It would reflect poorly on the entire retail chain when that news hits the public. “A Home Depot employee today got his arm broken today after he tried to pull a climbing adolescent off the store shelving when the child kicked, screamed and struggled with him, causing a stack of merchandise to fall on the employee. It was revealed at the hospital that the employee had traces of MARIJUANA (“DEVIL’S WEED WITH ROOTS IN HELL!”) in his system.”

  30. Hey NORML how about an article exploring this lovable combination of caffeine and cannabis. I recently visited the Bulldog Coffee Shop in Oakland and loved the experience. The Dutch have been doing this for quite a while. How far back does this combo go? It looks like a lot of people really enjoy this.

  31. The only things that can “protect” children is loving parents who tell the truth, lead by example and pray. What parents can not do is choose for their children what, if any, drugs they may or may not consume. Nor can parents keep their children away from drugs or drugs away from their children. To even try either of these things is delusional. We can’t even keep drugs out of maximum security prisons. Physiologically, people should avoid all drug use until about 25 or 26 years of age because their brains are not yet fully developed. There is one more thing parents can do, and that is to support re-legalization of all drugs to get them out of the hands of violent, criminal drug proffiteers who can and do constantly sell drugs to children. Is this just too complicated for some folks to figure out, or are they so paralized with fear for their children that some parents are not able to think rationally?

  32. Jury Nullification sounds real good to me as I sit here smoking and drinking as I have done for the last 30 years. I tell you folks, I have enjoyed my liberty and just wish my government would respect my liberties, but then their respect is required in order for me to enjoy my liberty. What would be nice if you folks out their would learn your rights and use Jury Nullication to deal with our government, I know if you would all do your part I would be a whole lot safer knowing my Peers Citizens had my back as I have theirs.
    Jury Nullification will give us the high ground over our wayward government.

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