Wednesday, September 19, 2012

News Tribune: marijuana legalization bad for juveniles

Earlier this week, the News Tribune published an editorial about I-502: Juvenile marijuana use: the fatal flaw of Initiative 502.  Here are a few excerpts:

. . . Legalization would likely produce a surge of dope smoking among teenagers who now avoid it simply because it is stigmatized as illegal.

Kids notice what adults consider acceptable, and not all of them are hell-bent on rebellion. Federal data suggest that most adolescents either avoid alcohol and drugs, or only experiment with them.

. . . Some of that difference can be explained by perceptions of what is legal among their elders. Legality will inevitably make marijuana more attractive to youth. Mere advertising campaigns aren’t likely to counteract that effect – especially since marijuana marketers will be doing their own advertising under I-502.
The initiative also wouldn’t shut down the black market or the drug cartels, as its supporters hope. For example, sales would still be forbidden to those under 21 – but does anyone believe that dealers will stop selling to them?
There may be ways to legalize or decriminalize marijuana for adults without creating a wider snare for juveniles. It would be nice if I-502 could do that. It’s likely to have just the opposite effect.

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