Pubdate: Thu, 15 Sep 2005
Source: Ukiah Daily Journal, The (CA)
Copyright: 2005 The Ukiah Daily Journal
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project ( )
Cited: The MPP study
Bookmark: (Opinion)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


We are heartened by the recent study that indicates that marijuana use
among teenagers in the 10 states where medical marijuana is legal
appears to be dropping.

The study, released by the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington,
D.C. this week, is based on data from national and state studies,
which show a general drop in marijuana use by teens.

According to the study, in California, usage among ninth-graders has
plummeted 47 percent since 1996, the year the state became the first
to legalize medical marijuana.

The MPP believes education about the medicinal properties of marijuana
may be getting through to young people and changing their view of it
as a recreational drug.

Anti-drug groups, like the California chapter of Partnership for A
Drug-Free America, disagree, saying that any drop in drug use is the
result of a decade of anti-drug messages by groups such as theirs in
the federal War on Drugs.

Regardless of the cause, we think it's worth noting, as the MPP does,
that legalizing medical marijuana, apparently does not cause rampant
pot smoking among most young people.

Having said that, however, Mendocino County may be different. We
remember the 2005 Status Report on Children and Youth in this county
issued earlier this year which indicated that between 1992 and 2003,
the rate of arrest of young people between 12 and 17 for marijuana
violations increased 323 percent.

Some 51 percent of ninth graders surveyed said marijuana was "very
easy" to get and attitudes by teens as they got older showed that the
stigma of pot smoking decreased.

Mendocino County has for 30 years or more been part of the "Emerald
Triangle" of prime pot growing territory. The county's citizens voted
- - symbolically - to legalize the substance and the medical marijuana
law now in place in the state passed by a wider margin here than other
California counties.

Clearly teens in this county are hearing that smoking marijuana is no
big deal.

And that's not a good thing. 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake