One of the biggest arguments against marijuana legalization has been “what about the children?”, with people circulating the opinion that legalizing the drug would teach children that it is safe and acceptable. With the mountains of evidence that prove that marijuana is safer than alcohol, this message is becoming increasingly tired as it continues to be thrown out again and again.
Teens die every year in drunk driving accidents – but we don’t stress keeping alcohol commercials off the television that glamorize drinking (as long as they remind you to drink responsibly, of course). So why should it be any different with a substance that is proven to be safer? Well, because more teens might try it – but this statement has never been proven and now Colorado has issued a report that shows the exact opposite reaction to legalization.
A report that was released in Colorado exposed the truth about how minors in the state reacted to marijuana legalization – at least when it comes to how many of them have actually tried marijuana or consistently use it. Surprisingly, the results of this data actually show a decrease – a rather small decrease mind you, but a reduction nonetheless. Also, keep in mind that Colorado’s statistics on teen use were already above the national average and remain there.
Specifically, the report showed that the number of high school students that admit to having used marijuana at all was at 42.2% in 2005 and had declined to 36.9% by 2013 – that’s a 5.3% decrease. It also determined that the percentage of high school students currently using marijuana also decreased, but a smaller 3% reduction from 22.7 to 19.7 over the same time period.
Though this report was only issued as recently as this past Monday (4/18), there has been evidence pointing to the same results as far back as last October. However, these statistics continuously go unnoticed by those who are opponents of marijuana legalization, who continue to spread the fear that legalizing the plant will lead to increased teen use.
The committee plans to highlight negatives that have resulted from the commercial legalization of the marijuana industry, particularly the evidence of harm to children. Teen marijuana use in Colorado has jumped by 20 percent since pot was legalized two years ago, the opponents say in a press release. – Opponents of Marijuana Legalization in Massachusetts
So when I see statements such as this one, it really gets to me. Stop spreading the lies! Just because you don’t agree with something, doesn’t mean you should spread false truths about it. The truth is, marijuana legalization does not lead to increased risk of teen use – if anything, I feel like teens would be less likely to try something if they are told the truth about it, rather than being lied to.
When they find out we’ve been lied to about pot, who is to say they don’t expect the same about heroin or crack? If there were any truth to the gateway theory, I feel like that would be it. The point is, all the people who are against marijuana legalization who keep trying to use teens and children as their reasoning behind keeping prohibition around need to find a new argument or perhaps take just a fresh look at the situation now that we have places where it is legal to learn from.