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Sep 19, 2006 4:48 am

Marijuana and Youth

From the very beginning the war on people who use certain kinds of drugs has been waged in the name of youth. It started in the late 1800s with concern over white boys and girls spending time in Chinese opium dens and continued on into the 1930s in the form of"Marijuana Assassin of Youth," while today kids doing ecstasy at raves is a primary worry. Protecting young people from drugs is perhaps the most important pillar supporting drug prohibition.

However, recently, in the case of marijuana the rationale of protecting youth as an excuse for all kinds of wasteful and tyrannical behavior on the part of the state has received two devastating blows. A report released September seventh by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)reveals that, “Nine years after the passage of the nation’s first state medical marijuana law, California’s Prop. 215, a considerable body of data shows that no state with a medical marijuana law has experienced an increase in youth marijuana use since their law’s enactment. All have reported overall decreases of more than the national average decrease — exceeding 50% in some age groups — strongly suggesting that enactment of state medical marijuana laws does not increase teen marijuana use.”

Meanwhile in January of 2004 Great Britain reclassified marijuana from a scheduled Class B drug to a Class C one. This means that generally people in possession of personal use amounts of marijuana are no longer arrested. And, suprise suprise, survey data published by the United Kingdom's Department of Health shows results the exact opposite of those prohibitionists argued would occur with regard to use by young persons. The National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) looking at the latest data reports that, “The Department found that the number of young people who admitted having consumed cannabis in the past year fell from 13 percent to 11 percent in 2004 - the first reported dip in four years.”

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