Teen Marijuana Use Continues To Rise


Photo: THC Finder
For the second year in a row, more American teens use marijuana than use tobacco.

More American Teens Use Cannabis Than Tobacco For Second Year In A Row

Marijuana use by 8th, 10th and 12th grade students increased in 2010, with more American teenagers now using marijuana than cigarettes for the second year in a row. According to government figures released Tuesday, 21.4 percent of high school seniors used marijuana in the last 30 days, while 19.2 percent had used cigarettes.

“It’s really no surprise that more American teenagers are using marijuana and continue to say it’s easy to get,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Our government has spent decades refusing to regulate marijuana in order to keep it out of the hands of drug dealers who aren’t required to check customer ID and have no qualms about selling marijuana to young people.”

Photo: MPP
Rob Kampia, MPP: “It’s time we acknowledge that our current marijuana laws have utterly failed”

​”The continued decline in teen tobacco use is proof that sensible regulations, coupled with honest and science-based public education can be effective in keeping substances away from young people,” Kampia said. “It’s time we acknowledge that our current marijuana laws have utterly failed to accomplish one of their primary objectives — to keep marijuana away from young people — and do the right thing by regulating marijuana, bringing its sale under the rule of law, and working to reduce the unfettered access to marijuana our broken laws have given teenagers.”
“Young people are increasingly seeing marijuana as not dangerous,” said lead investigator Lloyd Johnston of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, reports Rita Rubin at USA Today. When the proportion of teens who view marijuana as risky declines, Johnston said, pot use typically increases.
Rather than accept the fact that increasing teen pot use is largely due to his own failed policies, Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske lamely tried to blame it on medical marijuana.
“We have been telling young people, particularly for the past couple years, that marijuana is medicine,” Kerlikowske said, reports Steven Portnoy at ABC News. “So it shouldn’t be a great surprise to us that young people are now misperceiving the dangers or the risks around marijuana.”
The numbers were released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan as part of the annual Monitoring the Future survey.
Since the survey’s inception, overwhelming numbers of American teenagers have said marijuana was easy for them to obtain. According to the 2010 numbers, the use of alcohol — which is regulated and sold by licensed merchants required to check customer ID — continued to decline among high school seniors.