|Photo: The Information Underground|
|Gil Kerlikowske supports the failed prohibitionist policies which have made marijuana easily available to teens, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.|
Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske on Thursday decried recent data showing that American teens are using marijuana at younger ages and in greater numbers.
In response, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a cannabis policy reform organization, called on Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), to abandon the failed policies of marijuana prohibition and instead embrace the regulation of cannabis, accompanied by science-based education campaigns, as the only sensible way to reduce teen pot use.
“After decades of the same ineffective approach, it’s more clear than ever that our government’s current policies have failed to reduce marijuana’s use or availability among young people and that a change is needed,” said Steve Fox, director of government relations for MPP.
|Steve Fox, MPP: “Marijuana use continues to increase among young people largely because it is sold in an uncontrolled, unregulated criminal market”|
”Unlike alcohol and tobacco — which are sold by licensed, tax-paying vendors who are required to check customer ID — marijuana use continues to increase among young people largely because it is sold in an uncontrolled, unregulated criminal market by drug dealers who are perfectly happy to sell to minors,” Fox said.
“By refusing to admit reality and work to bring the sale of marijuana under the rule of law, the federal government and the Drug Czar in particular are helping to keep marijuana readily available to America’s youth,” Fox said.
Last week, the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy issued a report, based on 20 years of U.S. government data, which found that despite dramatic increases in marijuana enforcement efforts, including near record-level arrests and seizures, cannabis remains almost “universally available” to young people in the United States.
A 2009 government study found that more than 80 percent of American 12th graders said marijuana was “easy” to get, and that tobacco use among U.S. teens is on the decline, while marijuana use continues to rise.
The overall rate of marijuana use in the Netherlands, where cannabis is sold in regulated establishments to adults who have to show proof of age, is less than half what it is in the U.S., according to a 2008 World Health Organization survey.
Additionally, only seven percent of Dutch teens have tried marijuana by age 15. In the United States, as many as 20.2 percent of teens have tried marijuana by age 15, according to government estimates.
On November 2, California’s voters will consider Proposition 19, a ballot measure that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.