Science makes debunking Fake News super easy. Whenever cannabis opponents say, “But what about the children!?” marijuana proponents get to say, “They’re fine. Because. Science.”
The latest federal scientific survey of high school students nationally shows that in Colorado the state is slightly less than the national average for teen marijuana use. Colorado had long led the pack in terms of teen marijuana use. But since legalization, the state has dipped below the national average. That’s not perception; that’s a fact.
So, no, the kids aren’t being negatively impacted by marijuana legalization. In fact, “the kids are alright.”
Another key finding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey is that Colorado fell below the percentage of teens who smoked cannabis before voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.
As Amendment 64 godfather Mason Tvert pointed out, “What always gets me about this is that it’s viewed as good news to supporters of marijuana policy reform and, for whatever reason, it’s viewed as bad news by opponents.”
We agree with Mr. Tvert. It’s absolutely bizarre that opponents cringe when they find out that marijuana legalization has actually helped curb teen use. It’s disturbing, but it’s also revealing.
Opponents aren’t interested in protecting children from marijuana legalization. They’re interested only in keeping their budgets padded so that they can continue a misguided prohibitionist mission. It makes sense that they squirm when the data doesn’t back up their mission. You don’t have a mission to protect children from cannabis when legalization is actually doing the work for you.
And let’s be clear. The data NEVER backs up the prohibitionist agenda when it comes to children. The recent CDC survey is one of several now that have all pointed to less kids consuming cannabis since marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2012.
The numbers hold nationally, as well. Teen use in California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, all of which enacted marijuana legalization at the end of 2016, hasn’t gone up from 2015 to 2017.
So, let’s get real. If opponents truly want to continue to curb teen cannabis use, then let’s work together to find solutions. The cannabis industry is doing it through corporate responsibility. The industry ensures that it doesn’t target kids in marketing; age identification standards are some of the most stringent of any industry; and education is provided on how to keep already child-resistant packages even harder to reach by kids.
But to push this successful legalization model into high gear, let’s continue to look for sensible solutions and regulations to continue to keep marijuana away from children. Lying by saying marijuana is hurting kids just to keep an agenda going is not the way forward.