One out of every 15 high school students smokes marijuana on a near daily basis, a figure that has reached a 30-year peak even as use of alcohol, cigarettes and cocaine among teenagers continues a slow decline, according to a new government report.
R. Gil Kerlikowske, the federal drug czar, said he believed the increasing prevalence of medicinal marijuana was a factor in the uptick. “These last couple years, the amount of attention that’s been given to medical marijuana has been huge,” he said. [NYT]
If you're one of the 4 out of 5 Americans who supports medical marijuana, then he's talking about you. Something teens have been doing for decades suddenly became your fault the instant you expressed sympathy for people who use marijuana to treat illnesses. Your efforts to provide friends and neighbors with fact-based information about marijuana have made the Drug Czar's job very difficult indeed.
“And when I’ve done focus groups with high school students in states where medical marijuana is legal, they say, ‘Well, if its called medicine and it’s given to patients by caregivers, then that’s really the wrong message for us as high school students.’”
That's priceless. I'm sure that's exactly what they said to him. Well yes, Mr. Kerlikowske, sir, ever since Proposition 215 passed when I was 11 months old, I've been struggling to understand the concept of the patient-caregiver relationship in the context of medical cannabis. How can a drug be medicine? Confusion about the matter has forced myself and several classmates to smoke joints after school each day behind the dumpster at Jack-in-the-Box. I can feel it impairing my motor skills, but I'm too addicted to stop.
Seriously, if there's anything confusing young people about this, it's probably the fact that there's a government stooge called the Drug Czar whose job it is to go around refuting common knowledge about marijuana and replacing it with a bunch of dumb propaganda. Ironically, it's the Drug Czar himself who's been telling everyone that marijuana is for partying instead of medical use, so maybe it's his fault when teenagers use pot at parties.
In all likelihood, the situation would improve dramatically if the Drug Czar would shut up and let young people think for themselves. Remember when Bush's Drug Czar was making anti-drug ads that were so bad they caused more teens to try marijuana? Congress pulled the funding for the program and probably saved some people's lives from the sort of dangerous idiocy that anti-drug fanatics will engage in when they think they can do no wrong.
In any case, blaming the medical marijuana debate for anything at all is supremely absurd considering that this debate wouldn’t even exist if the federal government had never waged war on medical marijuana in the first place. Yes, this debate is hot right now. Yes, young people are likely aware of it. But that isn't the fault of patients who need marijuana or the 80% of Americans who support those patients. It's the fault of the lying, intransigent imbeciles who pretended marijuana wasn't medicine and forced the nation to spend decades arguing about one simple irrefutable fact, when we could have spent that time on any number of other things, including designing better drug education for our kids.