When Proposition 64 appeared on the ballot last year in California, it received praise and criticism at an almost equal measure. Many celebrated the coming back of a drug that’s, indeed, a powerhouse when it comes to health benefits especially in relieving pain. On the other hand, the critics saw the move as dangerous and could lead to underage use among other unwanted practices. According to some sources, the legalization sent a message to the kids that it’s okay to use the drug. But is that truly the case? Well, after a careful analysis of the situation, it’s obvious that the rule will not be a gateway for underage persons to access the drug.
Over the years, national surveys and other studies have linked drug use among teens to other factors that do not in any way relate with the legalization of the drug. Besides that, we need to remember that underage cases have been there for a long time even when the drug had not been made legal for medical or recreational use among adults. Though analysts interpret the legalization in different ways, we need to understand what’s going on in the industry. Moreover, it’s good to note that marijuana remains illegal to minors under the new law. Anyone found selling it or assisting the get the drug risks serving a jail term and heavy penalties.
Legalization Didn’t Make It Easy for Teens to Access Marijuana
Teens themselves do not agree with the famous belief out there that the legalization has made it easy for them to access marijuana. The reason for passing Proposition 64 was to make it legal to carry our research and maximize the health benefits of marijuana. Under the new law, it’s only licensed farmers, clinics, dispensaries and doctors who are allowed to handle the drug. Everyone else especially those under 21 years are not allowed to have any form of access to it. Besides that, there are strict guidelines for those permitted to handle the drug. All these are meant to prevent teens and other underage persons from accessing marijuana. It would, therefore, be wrong to say that the law passed last year made the drug available to teens.
At the moment, there’s no evidence that links increased use of cannabis among teens with the legalization of cannabis that has been taking place in many states. In fact, some states have reported a decrease in the use of the drug among teens since the marijuana laws were passed. That being said, it would also be good for us to find out the factors that increase the use of the drug by underage persons. In most cases, teens were getting into illegal handling/use of the drug due to peer pressure, family, stress and low self-worth among others. As you can see, all these are things that have nothing to do with the legalization of the drug in California or elsewhere. It’s, therefore, not appropriate to link the move to legalize cannabis with drug abuse among teens.
The New Law Discourages Underage Use of Cannabis
There is not a paragraph or even sentence under Proposition 64 that says that the drug is now accessible by everyone. It makes it clear that the move to make cannabis legal was to help make use of its great benefits when it comes to health and treatment of some conditions that cause a lot of pain. But that was not the only reason for passing the law. As you might already be aware, the cannabis industry will soon be a big income generator to the state through taxes. All these and other great things are what we expect following the passing of the new law. Though there might be a few things here and there that might happen as a result of the passing of the Proposition, underage use is not one of them. The passed law makes it clear that it’s only for medical use and recreation among adults.
The practices and perceptions of teens about the use of marijuana have not been affected by the new law. As already said, some states that legalized cannabis much earlier than California have been reporting a significant decrease in the number of underage individuals engaging in the use of the drug. That said, we should also know that all those found guilty of selling to minors will be penalized heavily or even sentenced to a jail term for committing the offense. Let’s also remember that everyone wishing to use marijuana for medical reasons ought to seek a recommendation from a doctor and the medical marijuana doctors can only recommend it to adults.
Indeed, we can say that the legalization of marijuana has nothing to do marijuana use among teens and other underage persons. We should, therefore, focus on the good we expect from the move rather than paying attention to rumors that have no evidence. Marijuana industry will soon grow to a big one creating jobs, help in the treatment of many health conditions and also assist in the eradication of the black market that has for many years been a problem.