LA Times Smacks Down Drug Czar's Anti-Pot Propaganda
I haven't always been impressed by the Los Angeles Times' coverage of marijuana policy, but I've got to give credit when it's due. This editorial properly devastates the drug czar's recent claim that medical marijuana advocacy has led to increased use among teens.
Even if a causal connection is discovered, though, it doesn't imply that the solution is to stop discussing legalization — as evidenced by the same National Institute on Drug Abuse survey that prompted Kerlikowske's comments.
Even as teen marijuana use is rising, tobacco and alcohol use is falling, according to the report, which found that 21.4% of high school seniors had smoked pot in the previous month and 19.2% had smoked tobacco — the first time since 1981 that marijuana was more popular than cigarettes. This may indicate that public health campaigns aimed at discouraging alcohol and tobacco use are working, and that similar campaigns aimed specifically at marijuana might be equally effective. There's little evidence that continued criminalization has discouraged teen drug use, but better education might.
It's not every day that the drug warriors send out a press release only to get picked apart and embarrassed by the editorial board of a major newspaper. That job is typically left to people like me.