Teen Pot Use Declines in Colorado Despite Legalization

You don’t have to be a pothead or advocate teen pot use to be in favor of pot decriminalization. Just like, you don’t have to be a drunk to be in favor of alcohol legalization. And you don’t have to be a murderer to be in favor of gun rights.

In fact, murderers and other criminals are in favor of gun control, because it potentially disarms their targets. And drug dealers are in favor of drug laws, because they lead to higher profits.

All of these things can be easily abused, but making them illegal oftentimes makes problems worse. Problems which are neutralized by legalization.

Many people on the right think that if state governments allow marijuana to be legally bought and sold, it would be the end of the world. Everybody would start smoking marijuana, which is the absolute worst thing these people can think of.

But ever since Colorado legalized the plant, teen pot smoking has actually declined. Albeit, not by much, but it still went down nonetheless. Here’s the Daily Caller:

Teen marijuana use has fallen in Colorado since the state legalized the drug in 2012, according to a new report, bucking a nationwide trend of overall increases in teen use.

“Thirty-day marijuana use fell from 22 percent in 2011 to 20 percent in 2013, and lifetime use declined from 39 percent to 37 percent during the same two years,” according to an emailed press release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Colorado legalized marijuana for adults in 2012 and statewide retail sales of the drug — which is still illegal under federal law — began in January.

Anti-legalization groups have long claimed that eliminating criminal penalties on adult use would lead to a spike in use by young people, but the opposite seems to be happening.

Nationwide, teen usage has gone up from 20.8 percent in 2009 to 23.4 percent in 2013, according to statistics by the Centers for Disease Control cited by the Marijuana Policy Project.

Opponents of pot legalization are saying that this is statistically insignificant. It might be, but imagine if teen pot use went up by the same percentage points. You know they’d say something like, “This study confirms what we’ve been saying for a long time – that legalizing harmful drugs like marijuana will only lead to more widespread use among teens.”

Could it be that making something like marijuana legal takes the thrill out of obtaining it? Underage kids like drinking alcohol, not because they have good taste, but because they know they’re not supposed to have it. They like smoking cigarettes, not because they enjoy the taste of tobacco, but because they know it’s illegal. Even though it’s still largely illegal in Colorado, the fact that restrictions have been loosened has perhaps taken the thrill out of getting it.

I’m not arguing that we should cater to teen angst and legalize marijuana as sort of a reverse psychology ploy. I think it should be legalized for the same reason that conservatives are opposed to Bloomberg’s soda ban. Do people overindulge in sugary drinks? Most definitely. And they’ll overindulge whether there’s a law criminalizing it or not.

If you’re truly for getting the government out of your personal life and habits, and if you’re truly for personal responsibility and for dealing with the consequences of your own personal decisions, then you should want the government out of the business regulating plants.