Here's another measure of how incredibly wasteful and ineffective America's war on marijuana has been: Almost every high school student who wants to smoke pot already smokes pot. So while we've justified arresting millions of adults for marijuana, burning through untold billions of dollars in the process, turns out the plant's legal status has very little effect on young people's decision of whether or not to use it.
According to a new study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, only 10 percent of high school seniors who haven't already tried cannabis report that they would do so if it was legal. Of course, researchers at New York University's Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR) tried to make that sound like an alarming increase.
"What I personally find interesting is the reasonably high percentage of students who are very religious, non-cigarette smokers, non-drinkers, and those who have friends who disapprove of marijuana use-who said they intended to try marijuana if it was legal," according to lead researcher Joseph J. Palamar, PhD. "This suggests that many people may be solely avoiding use because it is illegal, not because it is 'bad' for you, or 'wrong' to use."
Newsflash Dr. Palamar. For adults, marijuana is not “bad for you,” at least not when compared to alcohol and cigarettes, nor is it “wrong to use.” So doesn't it make perfect, rational sense for someone to abstain from drinking (legal, deadly, addictive) alcohol, and smoking (legal, deadly, addictive) cigarettes, while choosing to use far safer (legal, non-lethal, non-addictive) cannabis?
Also, shouldn't we all keep in mind that marijuana will remain illegal for high school seniors even when all 50 states fully legalize marijuana for adults. So are we really concerned that, three years after being old enough to legally sign up for the Marines, 10 percent of non-pot smoking high school students might give it a try on their 21 birthday instead of trying downing a bottle of Jack Daniels?