FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCTOBER 4, 2006 Drug Survey: More Teens Smoke Marijuana Than Cigarettes Prohibition Bars the Controls that Work for Tobacco, Reformers Argue CONTACT: Bruce Mirken, MPP director of communications, 415-668-6403 or 202-215-4205 SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA -- A new teen drug use survey released today by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer confirms the failure of the government's war on marijuana to keep the drug away from teenagers, officials of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) said today. According to the 11th biennial California Student Survey, more California ninth and eleventh graders currently smoke marijuana than smoke cigarettes. Among ninth graders, 12.6 percent smoked marijuana in the past 30 days, compared to 10 percent who smoked cigarettes. For eleventh graders, the figures were 19.2 percent and 15.2 percent, respectively. This trend has been consistent since the 2001-2002 survey, but represents a reversal from 1997-1998, when cigarette use exceeded marijuana use in all age groups. "The good news is that both cigarette and marijuana use have declined markedly in the last decade, and predictions that Proposition 215 would lead to an explosion in teen marijuana use have proven totally wrong," said Bruce Mirken, San Francisco-based director of communications for MPP, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. "But it's clear we're doing a better job of preventing kids from using tobacco than we are at keeping them away from marijuana, and the reason is our dysfunctional, counterproductive laws. "Tobacco merchants are licensed and regulated," Mirken added, "while drug dealers are completely unregulated. Walk into any supermarket or convenience store that sells cigarettes, and you'll see a great, big, red-and-yellow sign saying, 'Under 18, No Tobacco: We Card.' Have you ever seen a drug dealer with a 'We Card' sign? Instead of wasting millions of tax dollars on marijuana 'eradication' campaigns that are an exercise in futility, it's time to put marijuana under the same sort of common-sense controls that work for tobacco." With more than 20,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org. ####
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