« Geothermal | Main | From the Guy Who Really Deserved His Peace Prize »

But its for the Kids

What is adult prohibition of marijuana achieving, if teenage use rates of marijuana are nearly as high as those for cigarettes, where we don't have adult prohibition.  Prohibitionists argue that adult marijuana must be banned because its legal availability to adults would make it easier for teens to obtain, but a direct comparison of marijuana and tobacco smoking demonstrates little utility from this approach:

The cigarette use figure represents a sharp drop from the 2005 survey, when it was 23 percent. Marijuana use, at 20.2 percent in 2005, showed a much smaller decline....

Another report released this week, the Fiscal Year 2007 Annual Synar Report on tobacco sales to youth, showed the 10th straight annual decline in the rate of illegal tobacco sales to minors. In 1997, 40.1 percent of retailers violated laws against tobacco sales to minors. In 2007 the rate had dropped to just 10.5 percent, the lowest ever.

"Efforts to curb cigarette sales to teens have been wildly successful, and it's past time we applied those lessons to marijuana," said Aaron Houston, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "Tobacco retailers can be fined or put out of business if they sell to kids, but prohibition guarantees that we have zero control over marijuana dealers. Foolish policies have guaranteed that the marijuana industry is completely unregulated."

Jacob Sullum provides additional analysis in the rest of the post.

Posted on June 7, 2008 at 12:00 PM | Permalink


I remember in high school it was so easy to get a bag of weed (illegal for everyone) but it was so incredibly hard to score alcohol (legal for adults.)

I actually had a kid next to me sophomore year trying to sell me a bag of weed in the back of math class, while the teacher was teaching.

It always seemed to me that if marijuana was sold at the liquor store (in NH where I live only the state can sell liquor) to 21+ year olds only, the drug dealers would go away and it would be hard for kids to get like booze is. I guess this could fail if some adult was willing to buy large amounts and sell it to kids, but I dont see this happening with alcohol. Oh well this probably wont happen so we'll never know.

Posted by: | Jun 9, 2008 9:11:34 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.