Policies Fail to Decrease Teen Marijuana Use

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 15, 2010 CONTACT:  Jonathan Perri, SSDP National Associate Director – (401) 265-9445
Increase in Teen Marijuana Use Due to Failed Policies, Not Medical Marijuana More High School Seniors Now Smoking Marijuana than Cigarettes, According to Survey
WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Officials at Students for Sensible Drug Policy claim that a new survey by the University of Michigan showing the highest rates of marijuana use among young high school seniors in the last three decades is the direct result of the failed policy of marijuana prohibition.  Over 20% of high school seniors reported smoking marijuana compared with only 19% reporting smoking cigarettes.   “Because marijuana is available on the black market, high school students have easier access to it than they do to cigarettes,” explained Jonathan Perri, Associate Director at SSDP. “Drug dealers aren’t going to ask for an ID before they sell drugs. If marijuana were regulated and taxed like alcohol or cigarettes, it would be more difficult for young people to purchase.” At a press conference in Washington this week, the White House drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, blamed the increase on the debate surrounding marijuana legalization and state medical marijuana laws around the country. “If the drug use numbers go down even slightly, the ONDCP takes credit for it, but when they go up, they don’t want to reassess their own failed policies. There is no evidence that medical marijuana laws have resulted in a national increase in use among high school seniors – if anything, young people no longer believe the reefer madness that the federal government has been spreading about marijuana for years,” said Perri. The group argues that regulating marijuana like cigarettes would be more effective at reducing use. “Tobacco use has become unattractive to young people through prevention education and by keeping the drug in a legal but regulated market with heavy taxes imposed,” continued Perri. “It’s time to do the same with marijuana.”    
Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society. SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future, while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth. #       #       #