The thought of legalizing an illegal drug is enough to create some hopping mad conversations, even marijuana. Concerns about what legalizing could do to our society come to the forefront. Critics say legalizing drugs such as marijuana creates crime, addiction, laziness, and poverty. It sends the wrong messages to our kids about drugs in general and minimizes the dangers of drugs. And more importantly, it destroys the future generations.
Well good news, especially for the marijuana nay-sayers: studies show that teen marijuana use in 2014 went down despite legalization in multiple states. Way to go America’s youth!
Not surprising to us, America’s youth haven’t turned into complete lazy addicts since marijuana became a hot topic and we started seeing legalization. Marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington has not caused increased use among teens. In fact, substance abuse in general is down in high school students surveyed. Check out these stats:
The 2014 Monitoring the Future study by the University of Michigan and the National Institutes on Drug Abuse surveyed 40,000 8th graders, 10th graders and 12th graders about their individual use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. The results were that teenage use of each substance was down. Great news!
Fewer than 15 percent of 12th-graders reported smoking cigarettes any time in the past 30 days or so. That’s down from over 35 percent in the 1990s. Alcohol consumption also dropped from nearly 55 percent of 12th-graders in 1992 to less than 40 percent in 2014. And even the infamous, so-called devious pot is down slightly year over year. The study shows that marijuana legalization has not caused an increase use among teens. There hasn’t been a spike in marijuana use since legalizing. Our kids are not turning into “potheads” as many may have feared.
While tobacco and alcohol use among teens decreased the most in 2014, the findings for marijuana are especially important because marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington loosened at the same time. Legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes has not led to increased use by our teens. This illustrates that our future generations are not doomed by the legalization of weed. The legalization of pot hasn’t sent the negative or nonchalant messages to our kids that anti-legalization critics feared. Or if it has, our kids haven’t received those messages.
Regardless of your stance on legalizing marijuana, I think we can all agree that no one wants to see increased substance abuse among kids. It turns out that legalizing marijuana is not a catalyst for increased use. So come on America, legalize on!