‘What about the children?’ That’s a slogan that Kevin Sabet should wear on a T-shirt every time he travels to speak against marijuana reform for political purposes. Marijuana opponents like Kevin Sabet try very, very hard to make it sound like once marijuana is legalized and regulated, an epidemic of teens using marijuana will immediately follow. While Kevin Sabet can try to make that claim, math and logic don’t support it. Per the Washington Post:
Opponents of legalization often argue that it leads to a declining perception of risks associated with marijuana use among teens, which in turn leads to increased rates of adolescent use. But while the latest NSDUH data shows a continued drop in perceived risk of marijuana use among adolescents, overall teen use rates have actually trended slightly downward.
Moreover, teens are also more likely to say that marijuana is difficult to obtain today than they were ten years ago. Taken together, these numbers suggest that evolving public attitudes toward marijuana use haven’t made adolescents more likely to use the drug, nor have they made it easier to obtain.
These findings come from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an annual, nationally-representative survey of roughly 70,000 Americans aged 12 and older. Because of its large sample size the survey is considered an authoritative account of the nature and scope of drug, alcohol and tobacco use in the United States.
You may notice that those excerpts came from the Washington Post, the same Washington Post that earlier this week made the following claim in an anti-marijuana editorial urging readers to vote no on marijuana legalization in Washington D.C.:
It’s not been a year since Colorado became the first state to allow recreational marijuana use and, as the Smart Approaches to Marijuana has catalogued, there have been negative consequences, including increased instances of impaired driving and increased use by youth.
Fortunately for logic and reasoning, but unfortunate for the editorial staff at the Washington Post, teen use has not increased in America since two states legalized marijuana, and specifically, teen use has not increased in Colorado after legalization, which by the way was in 2012, not less than a year ago as the Washington Post stated in the second article I reference. Legalization and regulation makes it harder for teens to get their hands on marijuana, just as legalization and regulation makes it harder for teens to get their hands on tobacco and alcohol. Opponents can try to refute those facts as much as they would like, but when challenged with math and logic, marijuana opponents look quite stupid in doing so.