Will Medical Marijuana Laws Affect Marijuana Use by Young People?

Marijuana has always been consumed for many different reasons, but now the drug – especially in its medicinal form – has officially gone mainstream. Thirteen states have legalized medical marijuana and some dispensaries have reported a 300 percent sales increase since Barack Obama was elected president. Yet as more marijuana clubs dot the landscape and pot transforms from taboo to acceptable, how will that affect young people? Will parents struggle to explain why pot is permissible in certain instances but not in others? Will kids do more drugs?

Not hard to tell whose payroll this Voth is on,

Now let's all take a Prozac, turn on FAUX News and have our intelligence insulted some more.

Drugs are used to accomplish certain specific goals by the people who use them. This is widely ignored in the debate, where rate of use on different substances is treated as completely independent of each other substance. The category of use most relevant for teenagers is that of inebriation: taking a drug to get "fucked up," possibly to relieve anxiety/stress, or just because it's socially expected to do so. For the purpose of inebriation, one drug can simply replace the use of another for an individual -- if somebody wants to get fucked up, they will tend to take whatever seems like the best deal, according to price, risk, stigma, benefit, duration, etc. Risk, or rather perceived risk, is therefore a major factor here: as I believe an examination of the history of PCP use will demonstrate, drug users prefer drugs which are less harmful when they have a choice.

Conversely, limiting access to an albeit dangerous substance (such as alcohol ) tends to lead people who desire inebriation to seek more and more dangerous means by which to obtain the desired state. If they have access to a pharmacy, they might take cough medicine containing DXM; if they don't have access to that either, they might start using inhalants, or even huff gasoline. While alcohol can be extremely damaging to young people, its effects pale in comparison to the damage of gas-huffing, and so I would be hesitant in preventing access completely, even for something like alcohol which we know is very bad for a developing brain. As cannabis is far less harmful during adolescence, and has even been shown to have certain psychological benefits , our treatment of it should take such factors into consideration.

Summary: Improving access to any substance which is on the balance less dangerous than another substance currently being used by a given population, but which has the same or similar use-value to that other substance, will improve the ability of individuals within that population to choose which set of risks they are most comfortable taking, and therefore lead to a reduction in drug-related harms, provided the improved access is accompanied by balanced, accessible information which details both the potential harms and the potential risks. This is a widely applicable rule, and has specific implications for marijuana policy, but also effects a great many other policy issues.

To break it down for you in less academic terms: if we make it easier for the kids to smoke pot, they'll probably not drink as much, and definitely won't be as likely to chug cough medicine, because they won't have to.

Therefore, I disagree entirely with the construction of this debate: it's not a question of whether it will increase or decrease drug use ; it will, in fact, CHANGE drug use, and hopefully for the better. That's not the same thing at all, and I resent the simplicity here presented.

many young students will at first be attracted to the idea but over time with the proper information i belive you will find a larger amount of young students that find the effect the drug gives you to be over whelming.

let us here your voice


Just throwing this out there.. It is ridiculously easy to obtain a prescription for medicinal marijuana . At least in CA. All you have to do is pick an undetectable medical condition such as anxiety or migraine headaches and tell one of the many quack doctors that write these prescriptions, throw them some cash and your on your way. I am not against medicinal marijuana I just feel that a lot of debate on the issues is assuming that all "patients" are legit sick. I would feel safe to say that a good majority of them are just trying to get high.

Also Im all for smoking weed but come on.. of course legalizing medicinal marijuana will cause more people to smoke it. The illegal stigma is reduced slightly

It depends on the marketing done to promote it. That's it who ever the multi nats choose to go after it will affect.

Simply put yes drug use by kids will increase. Just like cigarette increase by youth increases. Legalizaing or even decriminalizing pot will only lead to another calamity in our society .

Drugs are usually distinguished from endogenous biochemicals by being introduced from outside the organism.Drugs may be prescribed for a limited duration, or on a regular basis for chronic disorders.

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use by kids will go down due to the fact that it will be harder to find someone to supply because they either have to find someone over the age of 21 or 18 (w/e the government decides is the proper age for ppl to safely use marijuana ) to buy it for them, grow it themselves, or find a grower (but i would think that would go down because most people are naturally lazy and would rather go down to the store and buy some).. right now since its illegal for all ages street dealers dont check ID to see if the person is 18 all they care about is makin money so its almost easy for kids in high school or middle school to get marijuana as it is for an adult to go down to the store and buy a 12 pack of beer

> "decriminalizing pot will only lead to another calamity in our society ."

Some idiots will continue to do idiot things. It will remain a function of any post prohibition model that there will be the 'told you so' brigade. They will line up every worst case idiot' and attribute his/her failings to pot.

But your partly right about another calamity even if you're a tad overstated, it would ride right on top of the idiot decision to ban cannabis in the first place. The subsequent prison industrial estate (and alienation from rule of law ) so created is the other "calamity" we are trying to solve.

I'll take personal responsibility for what I do, if you will too.. you don't need me to protect you from yourself. For in so asking, you endorse the calamity of prohibition failure. [If it wasn't failing we wouldn't be having this discussion.]

Give me a few idiots to deal with.. I can talk to them. But get rid of the idiot laws that protect no one. I cannot save everybody. Nor can you. Save yourself and if you are truly your brothers keeper, reject Prohibition.

Jojenn -
YES use may increase.
NO it will not lead to another calamity. Actually, by allowing marijuana , prescription drug abuse and alcohol abuse may decrease.

No, more like a bar owner.

The real issue here is not whether more young people will start using marijuana thanks to an increase in states' support of medicinal marijuana, but whether keeping it illegal is really helping prevent them from trying it at all. Young people (including myself, when I tried the plant for the first time six years ago) are looking for fun, and use of illegal (or off-limits) substances is most often spawned by boredom. If we continue to treat cannabis as a taboo, it will continue to cause intrigue in teens who haven't found a constructive way to rebel yet. Unlike arguments about (re)lowering the drinking age , this argument is unique in that cannabis has caused exactly ZERO deaths in the history of civilization (Not even from lung cancer )! If the issue here is really to protect our young ones and not infringing on our forefather-given right to personal freedom (as the war on drugs has always seemed to be, at least in my lifetime), we need to teach our kids that cannabis, when used responsibly and in the comfort and safety of our own home, can be an enriching, safe, and mind-opening experience for nearly all its users. But maybe that's why it was ever deemed 'dangerous' in the first place.

sorry, but why is it that people think an increase of marijuana usage would be a bad thing?

i am not even touching the moronic "but the poor kids" thing. i dont care about your kids. my kids make decent, sound decisions. i am only there to inform them upfront and help them when they made their minds up. if one of them is to use marijuana, then i will start growing it again in order to supply, so they arent forced by the government to buy their weed from a street dealer. and eventually get in touch with real drugs.

I don't see the big deal about " marijuana ". Their has never been any reports about over dose of weed. People should be more worried about the hardcore drugs. Actually I think the world would be a better place if everyone smoke weed. Everyone would stop fighting and killing one another. If they legalize it no one would be worried about getting killed over a bad deal. The damn store will have it, there maybe more robberies to get it but it could be worse.

I agree.

Marijuana is far less dangerous than many legal drugs like coffee and alchohol. Most of it's danger comes from the fact that it has to be smoked..and it has to be smoked because it's illegal, instead of buying equipment that greatly reduces the minor health risk.

And so what if there are minor health problems? Since when has it been okay to make decisions for people? What happened to freedom?

I can not beleive people when they come up with this crap Marijuana is far better than alcohol and cigarettes or the drugs the drug companys give us there is no side effects no additions like there is for any of the other things that are legal and you could not do enough even if you tryed to kills you self but with alcohol and cigarettes or the drugs the drug companys give us you can die from doing to much !

There are some side effects. Development of memory and motivation are affected to some degree. However, the point is that legalizing marijuana by prescription would have far less of a negative impact on adolescents than current tobacco and alcohol consumption does. I wonder if it might even increase adult credibility when we say drugs are dangerous. Marijuana is the one popular drug that seems to have a significant affect on the development in adolescents of important brain functions, with minimal negative other effects. Alcohol maybe does, nicotine almost certainly does not affect brain development in adolescents. The statistics from states and countries that have tried it are pretty convincing. I surprise myself by supporting legalizing marijuana by prescription.

"Development of memory and motivation are affected to some degree."
- acitizen

I don't know. Motivation? There's so many factors that decide motivation. I've known some rather motivated pot-users.

I have been around people when they have smoked Marijuana for 33 years and seen what it does to people and I will agree that it effects differant people in differant ways but I have seen 100s of people that work even better high than someone else that was not a user from reading Blue prints in all differant kinds of jobs now I have seen people that try to work while drinking and they are worth less or any of the other drugs you are better sending them down the road. Now The statistics from states and countries that normal stress one can have in one life can have more of a effect on brain functions on memory and motivation . It just comes down to why are things like ciggeretts and Alcohol legal that kills over 400,000 people per year just in this country when marijuana that has never been in history that has died just from it's use not legal ???

The big thing that concerns me is that the brain continues to develop during the early twenties. I have some understanding of neural myelinization and how quirky it is. I think that people with marijuana prescriptions should be educated about the potential for problems in people under thirty.
If research reveals that marijuana doesn't really effect motivation and memory, I guess I'd have to endorse treating marijuana and tobacco as near equivalents.

I agree that cannabis use does alter the mind, but I guess my question for you is if it does so in a negative way. I first used when I was 17, and didn't have the urge to use daily or even weekly until I was 19, a freshman in college . I noticed several changes in my demeanor and work ethic, but almost all of them were positive changes. I received a 3.4 and 3.8 my first year in college, while my social and critical-thinking skills developed far greater than they had in my previous 18 years. Yes, a large part of that I attribute to the college atmosphere and my first brush with absolute freedom, but I would not be the person I am today if I had never used cannabis. Oh, it may have taken me an extra semester, but I just graduated Cum Laude, and I don't buy into the propaganda that those who use are TWICE as likely to drop out (as a recent poster campaign tried to convince me)

I would agree that there should be more studys to really find out what it really helps but all the studys that were done in this country are very buyus if you want to look at any look up what California has found out useing it for 8 years now and also look up what Canada has been useing it for medically. the stuff I have read it help a lot more than I ever thought I just know first hand seeing people use it and working Construction around people on it I would rather work with some doing that than any other drug or even cigarettes they are alway reaching for a cigarette and not working when there smokeing.

It will affect young people no more than what alcohol and cigarettes do, but with less harmful affects