For decades upon decades now (nearly eight), our country has engaged in, allowed or promoted “reefer madness” (to borrow from the now comical 1936 propaganda flick of the same name). As is tediously and maddeningly the typical take from prohibitionists like those of SAM (“Smart Approaches to Marijuana”) or the Louisiana District Attorney’s Association or the Louisiana Family Forum or the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association or certain members of our legislature who are backed by groups like these, if you don’t agree with them, you’re the problem. These organizations and individuals do not ever let the truth get in their way. Facts can’t sway their opinions and for the love of all that’s good, we have to at least protect our children, right! For starters, any responsible or serious drug law reformers I’ve ever met were not in the business of advocating for the youth use of Cannabis (marijuana). No one in SMPL leadership, for example, has ever suggested that we either stop protecting underage individuals from drugs in general, including Cannabis or that we should lower the age of consent. In fact, I haven’t heard Common Sense NOLA or NORML or SSDP or ACLU or any of the other groups advocate loosening the law for minors either. Still, however, the prohibitionists or the “hysterical set” are continuously pleading that we protect the children. From what? From a regulated market that has more restrictions than just about any other market except maybe the petrochemical industry or the nuclear industry? Newsflash: after decades upon decades of the “War on Drugs,” complete with one of the worst programmatic failures in our history (D.A.R.E. program), American policy makers have not put a dent in the use of Cannabis. In fact, it hasn’t happened across any age groups studied, that is…until now.
So arm yourselves with the facts, please, speak truth to power and simply know this: “The number of American teens with marijuana-related problems — such as dependency on the drug, or troubles with family and school due to marijuana use — fell by 24 percent between 2002 and 2013.” During that same time frame, 13 states passed therapeutic Cannabis or “medical-marijuana” laws, 10 states relaxed penalties for marijuana use, and Colorado and Washington became the first states to fully legalize adult “recreational” use. “The overall number of teens using marijuana fell, too.” According to a soon-to-be-published report in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry that was funded by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse and relying heavily on data from the longest standing (since 1971) and most comprehensive survey on the subject, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, we are apparently finally beginning to see declines in both the use and abuse of Cannabis. Apparently, the liberalization of Cannabis laws is accomplishing something that the War on Drugs could never do. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. It’s logical, it was predictable and predicted and as most of us knew, the whole prohibition model was based on lies, misinformation and a massive waste in precious resources. Don’t take my word for it, though. Please goto the Washington Post article to read it for yourself at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/05/29/no-legal-weed-is-not-dumbing-down-the-nations-teens/
Then maybe spread the word or just arm yourself for the next debate at the water cooler or at the Capitol. Maybe you’ll want to goto the source materials yourself at either: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/population-data-nsduh/about or the article itself, once released, http://www.jaacap.com/ Whatever you do though, please don’t be silent or complacent or otherwise concede defeat in any debate(s) on the subject of drug law reform and specifically regarding Cannabis. Cheers to these tireless researchers and especially for civil discourse.