Why Cannabis Prohibition Puts Kids at Risk
Policies are usually designed to protect society, especially the young ones. But until cannabis is fully legalized, we are only doing more harm. Opponents of legalization argue that it will only result in more children toking up but data shows us that the opposite is true.
Several national surveys have revealed that the rates of teen cannabis use are steadily declining throughout the United States. A recent large-scale study which investigated more than 800,000 students in high school from 45 states found that cannabis legalization actually leads to a drop in adolescent cannabis use. The study was conducted by sending anonymous polls to high school students, and researchers tested for variables including tobacco and alcohol policies present in each state. “We found that for every group of 100 adolescents, one fewer will be a current user of marijuana following the enactment of medical marijuana laws. When we looked at particular subgroups of adolescents, this reduction became even more pronounced. For example 3.9% less Black and 2.7% less Hispanic youths now use marijuana in states with medical cannabis legalization,” says lead author of the study, Dr. Rebekah Levine Coley, in a report by Science Daily.
The researchers took into consideration survey results over a time period of 16 years, allowing them to assess any changes in states as they adopted cannabis laws. They found that the longer there was a medical cannabis law in place, the higher the decline of adolescent use. “Some people have argued that decriminalizing or legalizing medical marijuana could increase cannabis use amongst young people, either by making it easier for them to access, or by making it seem less harmful. However, we saw the opposite effect,” Dr. Coley said.
That’s only the latest study – there’s more where it came from, and the results are similar.
Illegal Pot Isn’t Harder To Get
If you think that keeping cannabis illegal would make it more difficult for kids to get a hold of it, you’re sorely mistaken. Just about anyone can find drugs if they wanted to, though it’s much more dangerous to keep cannabis in the black market because you never actually really know what goes into it.
There’s the very real danger that curious kids could end up buying synthetic pot, which is deadly.
Even though states have strict ID laws for alcohol, getting pot from a dealer is still easier than stealing candy from a baby. When cannabis is kept illegal, street drugs are more dangerous because the government is unable to regulate them. There are no set standards for quality, potency, and purity.
Prohibition Only Made Cannabis Stronger – And Society More Dangerous
Scared of the big bad THC because you think it’ll make people go crazy?
History does tend to repeat itself. When prohibition was enacted by 1919, the thriving alcohol industry abruptly became illegal. Some 200,000 breweries had no choice but to close once the 18th Amendment was passed. As a result, people only ended up getting their alcohol fix from the black market.
Previously regulated quality alcohol was no longer available, and manufacturers had to make moonshine and other forms of booze out of ingredients they could find. Spirits increased in popularity and it was much easier for criminals to transport a barrel of super potent whiskey than it was to carry barrels of beer.
The same can be observed with cannabis. Today’s pot is much stronger than it was during the time of our pot-smoking grandparents. Prohibition caused a change in product quality. A study by the National Institute for Health revealed that in 1995, cannabis had on average 4% THC, and this number quickly rose up to 12% just over a decade later. The same study says that CBD levels also dropped to 0.15% from 0.28%. While for adults there’s no problem with more THC, those who fear their kids will get their hands on it now have something else to worry about – and that is all because of PROHIBITION.
Prohibition has failed us big time. And for as long as cannabis is illegal, kids will always face the highest risk for dangers.