Report: Marijuana Prohibition Has Not Curtailed Marijuana Use by Adolescents 8/21/98

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The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) has released a report examining the government's data and concluding that criminal penalties have had no net effect on adolescent marijuana usage rates.

Key findings of the report are that:

  • "Annual surveys since 1975 have consistently found that about 85% of the nation's high school seniors consider marijuana easy to obtain. Fluctuations in the severity of penalties and the number of arrests during this time period have had no effect on availability."
  • "The removal of criminal penalties for marijuana possession in several states 'has had virtually no effect either on the marijuana use or on related attitudes' among young people, according to government-funded researchers."
The MPP report, which can be read online at (news release at, is full of useful and revealing graphs, including comparisons of marijuana use rates in the U.S. vs. the Netherlands and in Australian provinces that have decriminalized marijuana vs. provinces that haven't; the increase in youth marijuana use since before marijuana prohibition was enacted (negligible) to the present time (more than half of all youth); availability of marijuana to young people, by year and compared with the availability of alcohol; relationship of penalty increases to use; federal budget figures.

Taken as a whole, the sheer totality of the failure of the government's vast effort to end marijuana use by force is astounding. For further information, visit the MPP's web site at, e-mail [email protected], or call (202) 462-5747.

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Issue #55, 8/21/98 Prison, Probation and Parole Populations Growing Rapidly | American Psychological Association Calls for Repeal of Mandatory Minimums | Conference: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex, Berkeley, CA 25-Sep - 27-Sep | Giuliani Carries out Methadone Threat | Methadone Conferences Coming Up -- In New York! | Report: Marijuana Prohibition Has Not Curtailed Marijuana Use by Adolescents | West Australia Decriminalizes Marijuana On Trial Basis | Peter McWilliams Released on Bond | War on Drugs Blamed for Lapse in Ethical Standards of Federal Prosecutors | Driving While Black: Legislative Alert from the American Civil Liberties Union | Editorial: One in Thirty-Five
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