This comes as a shock to the Drug Czar:
After nearly a decade in decline, marijuana is making a strong comeback among high school students, with growing use and softening attitudes about the risk of smoking pot starting in eighth grade. For the first time since 1981, high school seniors reporting they had smoked marijuana in the last 30 days outnumbered those who said they smoked cigarettes.
Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske blames the culture of youth who think marijuana's not particularly harmful* on the debate over medical marijuana and initiatives designed to tax and regulate pot. But if Kerlikowske wanted kids to truly know the dangers of pot, then he'd be the leading proponent to make pot legal—legal like cigarettes, which have seen gradual decline in use by teens for the past several years (it's flat this year). Because—as cigarettes prove, Gil—if you tax it, regulate it, slap a warning on it, use all those taxes to run ad campaigns about the harms of smoking, people tend to smoke less. Do the same thing for pot.
But don't blame sick people who smoke pot to manage pain or—egads—blame voters for daring to have a debate about one of the stupidest policies in the country.
* For what it's worth, marijuana isn't anywhere near as harmful as cigarettes (and treating pot like the kiss of addiction sets off the bullshit detector of any teenager). But that doesn't mean that pot is harmless. Don't smoke pot before driving, because that can be deadly. And, like, don't get stunningly baked before school, homework, the party where you need to sound smart when talking to the girl, etc. But where are kids gonna hear the word not to smoke pot? From their dealers? From their 16-year-old friends who don't know shit? From their parents? They're certainly not going to take the word from Gil.