It turns out that marijuana legalization hasn’t resulted in millions of doped up eighth graders roaming the street in search of their next fix.
Teenage boys smoke and hang out, Hove, East Sussex UK (Photo by: PYMCA/UIG via Getty Images)
Of the many perpetual boogiemen that plague cannabis consumers, one is chief among the stock scapegoats for prohibitionists. It’s the life-long mantra of cannabis-counter-revolutionaries that the rest of us take some time to ‘think of the children.’ If marijuana is made legal, millions of doped up eighth graders will roam the street in search of their next fix.
Just ask Attorney General, and professional fear-monger, Jeff Sessions:
“I don’t think America is going to be a better place when people of all ages, and particularly young people, are smoking pot,” Sessions said to reporters at the Department of Justice in February. “I believe it’s an unhealthy practice, and current levels of THC in marijuana are very high compared to what they were a few years ago, and we’re seeing real violence around that.”
But wait just a minute there, because the facts just don’t seem to coincide the fears of our concerned AG.
According to a 2016 report from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the number of 12 to 17-year-olds who say they’ve consumed marijuana in the past month has come down from 8.2 percent in 2002 to 6.5 percent.
In that time, eight states have chosen to legalize recreational marijuana use and as the report states, “The percentage of adolescents in 2016 who were current marijuana users was lower than the percentages in most years from 2009 to 2014.”
Furthermore, the Monitoring the Future Study, which surveys students from the eighth to 12th grades found that marijuana consumption fell from 60 percent when California first legalized medical cannabis in 1996 to 35 percent in 2015.
Despite the fears of the nation’s top law enforcement boss, the numbers seem to show that legalized weed is not cool enough for the kids.
One group that does seem to be gravitating toward cannabis as it becomes legal is the age group that can legally purchase it.As NSDUH stats show, the percentage Americans age 18 to 25 had risen slightly between 2002 and 2013, but the group that saw the largest increase was those 26 or older who had been on a steady incline of use each year.
While NSDUH is only a survey and does not suggest that there is any connection between the two, other studies indicate that cannabis has potential to wean alcoholics away from the bottle.
According to the Cannabiz Consumer Group survey, more than a quarter of the 40,000 people surveyed said that they had replaced their alcohol consumption with cannabis. Those numbers bear out the sentiment that was recorded in a report by Florida-based research firm Monocle Research which found that 51 percent of millennials would rather smoke cannabis than drink alcohol. When broken down, the survey found that 34 percent of millennials said they would choose marijuana over beer, while 18 would trade in their wine and 14 percent would chuck the liquor in favor of some bud.
So despite the suspicious glares of frightened old white men, it would appear that minors, in general, are taking less interest in cannabis, which is only a cause of concern for the profit margins of illicit drug dealers. The AG can now have sweet dreams knowing that the youth of America have begun to distance themselves from the “violence” around malicious THC.