There is no argument that teen drug use is a problem in the U.S. Whether it is due to the opioid addiction or the rise of heroin use, teenagers are not immune. The most important thing to remember is that marijuana is not classified as a dangerous drug. People feared that teenage drug use would be on the rise when states started to make marijuana legal. Luckily for the marijuana community, the exact opposite happened. Here is everything you need to know.
History of Teen Marijuana Use
The use of marijuana among teens hit an all-time high in the mid-80’s. These studies were done on teenagers and young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. People theorize that this rise was due to the fact that marijuana was currently seen as a dangerous gateway drug. This trend only grew in the 90’s. This was also around the time that the D.A.R.E program was in effect.
The D.A.R.E program covered all of the dangerous drugs but took a special look at the effects of marijuana. Marijuana was seen as a gateway drug to harder stuff. The main theory was that if kids said no to marijuana, they would be less likely to get addicted to more dangerous drugs. This is a theory that has since been proven to be false. Even though there is still pushback among conservative government officials, there is no evidence of this claim.
While it has been years since this program ended, statistics show that marijuana use in teens is on the decline. Which begs the question, why are legislators trying to bring it back? While the program did bring awareness it did nothing to hinder marijuana use in teens.
According to www.washingtonpost.com marijuana use among teenagers is at an all-time low. In fact, it is at the lowest it has been in 20 years. Why the sudden drop?
Decriminalization Effect on Teenage Usage
Many people speculate that the drop has little to do with awareness and more to do with marijuana becoming legalized. This could be due to a number of reasons, but it might be mostly because of supply. In states where marijuana has been legalized, there are marijuana dispensaries everywhere. This means that people who use marijuana no longer have to do back-end deals. They can simply walk down the street to pick up their medicine. This has forced many drug dealers to give up on the marijuana game.
This is especially true when it comes to states where recreational use of marijuana is legal. Even states where medical marijuana is legal to have put a damper on the street cannabis game. This is because, with the right doctor and paperwork, an MMJ card is easy to come by. It is important to remember, however, that each state has different regulations when it comes to age. Most states stick to the alcohol rule of 21+ in order to obtain the drug. But, it’s not like this has stopped teens from using alcohol either.
Alcohol vs. Marijuana in Teens
As of 2017, teenage alcohol abuse is still on the rise. A recent study showed that more than 90% of teenagers have tried or are planning on trying alcohol. It should also be noted that underage drinkers tend to consume more drinks than adults. This could be because alcohol is mostly seen at teen parties where alcohol is available in excess. This can lead many people to wonder why marijuana isn’t being abused the same way.
The main theory is because alcohol is easier to come by than marijuana. This is especially true within states where marijuana is legalized. People continue to purchase alcohol for teens, but this isn’t the case for marijuana. It could be because people who have an MMJ card do not want to run the risk of losing their legal status.
Another theory is that because the decriminalization of marijuana is still new, so the loopholes are not as evident. Maybe it is only a matter of time before teenagers find a way to easily obtain and use marijuana. However, the statistics seem to disagree.
While marijuana users stand by the science, they still agree that teenagers should wait. The decline in marijuana use in teenagers could be due to the fact that marijuana has been proven to be safe. There is no danger in using marijuana as long as you know your limits. This is completely unlike alcohol. Maybe the recent studies showing that marijuana use among teenagers is at an all-time low will be a positive thing. This might be enough to help the community continue to push for fewer government restrictions.