California's Secretary of State announced last week that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act has officially qualified for this November's ballot, giving Californians another chance to legalize a recreational marijuana market. Prohibitionists have been spouting the same false repercussions of legalization for years: stoned drivers will cause more accidents and more teenagers will be smoking pot - but this is simply not true, and the data is actually showing the opposite. When California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, traffic fatalities significantly dropped, earning lower scores than the national average including states with illegal marijuana. Marijuana law reform has been sweeping the nation as over half of the United States have legalized some form of the drug, but even with wider availability it turns out that teen marijuana use is down. The Washington University School of Medicine recently released a study examining 216,000 12-17 year olds over 12 years, and the results show us that marijuana abuse and related problems like trouble in school and relationships has gone down 24%. Cannabis is much harder to get when it's regulated and sold behind the counter only to adults with ID.
Those concerned about the impacts on communities spread the message that marijuana use by our children will increase. Kids are safer when marijuana is legal, regulated and controlled. By putting sales behind the counter and reducing contact to street dealers, fewer kids can access marijuana and other drugs. The greatest harm that young people encounter when they come into contact with marijuana arises while accessing the underground market and being exposed to criminal activity of all kinds.
Despite marijuana being decriminalized, medically available or legalized in much of the country, teen marijuana use is actually declining nationwide. A new study from the Washington University School of Medicine examined over 216,000 12 to 17-year-olds over a 12 year time span and found that marijuana abuse and related issues, such as trouble in school and relationships, declined by 24 percent across the U.S. Improving our marijuana laws has not caused our children to become marijuana monsters, no matter what prohibitionists tell you