Did You Know? Teen Marijuana Use Rates in Medical Marijuana States vs. Other States, on ProCon.org

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Did you know that teen marijuana use dropped following the passage of state medical marijuana laws, in states that have such laws (on average) as well as in other states?

See Teen Marijuana Use, 1999-2006, on the web site medicalmarijuana.procon.org, part of the ProCon family.

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Least toxic the most expensive

I submit that the vast majority of drug users would use only marijuana
if it were available at an affordable price. But it is not available at
an affordable price. During the early 1970s marijuana sold for $10 to
$20 an ounce here in the United States. Now it sells for about $300 an
ounce.

Today’s price of marijuana is the result of the “prohibition tax” which
goes to organized criminals — the government gets nothing.

If a beer drinker cannot get any beer, they switch to another type of
alcoholic beverage. If a marijuana user cannot obtain marijuana at an
affordable price, many switch to other drugs like meth. And because
marijuana is illegal, it is sold only by criminals, criminals who often
sell other drugs like meth.

And their marijuana suppliers often give out free samples of other drugs
like meth, creating the so-called “gateway effect.”

If marijuana were legally available in licensed business establishments
like tobacco and alcohol are, our meth problem would be a tiny fraction
of what it is today.

Our counterproductive drug policies have made the least toxic drug the
most expensive and the most toxic drug the least expensive.

"Least Toxic the Most Expensive"

While I agree with your claim about prohibition creating inflated prices for cannabis, your claim about pot smokers using drugs like meth when pot is prohibitively expensive doesn't bear up to the facts. The first use of drugs like meth, junk, cocaine, and other so-called "hard" drugs may be a matter of exposure: through friends and acquaintances who use them. Someone selling cannabis may very well be offering other wares, and curiosity may kill the cat, or at least get him strung out, but I seriously doubt the pot dealer who is also selling other stuff will give free samples to clients as a general thing. That really depends on the relationship between dealer and customer. In my experience, people frequently buy from or through friends and acquaintances, and the closeness of this relationship might influence the desire for someone who only smokes pot to dabble with other proffered substances. Would a legal, regulated market for recreational drugs attenuate this process? Maybe to the degree that legalization eliminates clandestine sales. But who takes what drugs and why is a very complex question, and "exposure" is but one possible motivation in a wide range of them. Why do we get high and what kinds of highs do we want? Good luck answering that one in an online posting! I recommend reading Andrew Weil on that subject. I, being but one of many, believe that anyone ought to be free to get high in any way that suits him. It's a matter of individual freedom and autonomy--our bodies and minds are (or should be) our own! Any "collateral damage" caused by unhealthful drug habits should be considered a matter of personal responsibility and not a matter for law enforcement. If a junkie steals my television to buy some black tar heroin, he needs to be arrested for stealing my television. His motive for ripping me off is immaterial. Besides, if he were able to buy his junk at a pharmacy for a reasonable cost he might not be ripping off my teevee in the first place! But I digress.

In the main, though, I agree with you in principle--prohibition probably causes more problems than a free and well-regulated market may.

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