In reference to:
Experts Worry That Medical-Pot Laws Promote Teen Use | Denver Post-January 1, 2011By Kate Plagenz-ChandlerSubstance-abuse experts, alarmed by the rapid growth of Colorado's medical-marijuana industry, are intensifying their efforts to study the industry's impact on drug use.
The experts say they especially worry that increasingly permissive attitudes surrounding marijuana use might be leading to higher teenage drug use and addiction rates. ...
Studying the impact of the medical-marijuana industry on teenager’s use of the drug is certainly one way to confirm or dispel the concerns voiced by substance-abuse-prevention workers in the medical marijuana debate.
However, it may also be useful to consider that when teenagers obtain their pot from someone with a medical-marijuana card, it decreases their purchase of marijuana from criminal drug dealers, whose source of the weed is more than likely deadly Mexican drug cartels.
Yes, it is illegal for teenagers to be smoking pot and the people who are providing them with the drug are acting outside the law, but the marijuana they are using is grown legally. As a regulated substance, medical marijuana is known to be a quality controlled product, unlike what may be purchased elsewhere.
This would suggest that just as liquor stores are socially sanctioned purveyors of alcohol, so too have medical-marijuana dispensaries become socially sanctioned sources of pot. As such, dispensaries provide teenagers with a way to “inhale” that does not make them morally complicit in the death of innocent people and decreases their exposure to questionable street grade marijuana and possible criminal violence.
No matter where pot comes from, the article reported that experts worry that “increasingly permissive attitudes” are contributing to higher teenage marijuana use. As with any drug, be it medical or recreational, be it aspirin, or alcohol, or pot, and no matter what a person’s age, it seems to me that the focus of discussion should be about informed behavior and personal responsibility rather than prohibition and criminalization.
If smoking pot becomes as socially acceptable as drinking beer then anyone choosing to use either drug must be a knowledgeable consumer. They need to know how the drug effects the body and the mind, the possible side effects, and the signs of addiction. Many adults part take of alcohol in a responsible manner and the same can be done with marijuana.
As for young adults, while abstaining may be preferable, as their brains are still developing, research could be done to see whether allowing them to occasionally use marijuana or alcohol within the home and with parental supervision, leads to learned moderation and less overall drug use. As it is now, making alcohol off limits until the age of twenty-one has proven to be a law that is frequently, and sometimes tragically, ignored.