Medical Marijuana Initiatives Did Not Send The Wrong Message to Kids

Press Release August 5, 1997
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Tony Newman at 510-208-7711

Despite fears that medical marijuana initiatives in California and Arizona would “send the wrong message to kids,” the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse reports that marijuana use among teenagers dipped slightly from 8.2 percent of teens to 7.1 percent. Although officials admit this drop is statistically insignificant, Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey’s prediction that medical marijuana initiatives would encourage more young people to smoke marijuana simply did not happen. “The idea that kids would get the wrong message from a great aunt smoking marijuana to overcome chemotherapy-related nausea has always been ludicrous,” said Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Lindesmith Center, a drug policy think tank in New York. “General McCaffrey’s predictions were cruel and disingenuous, now we know they were false.”

Drs. Lynn Zimmer and John P. Morgan, leading authorities in the fields of drug use/abuse and pharmacology and authors of a new book Marijuana Myths, Marijuana Facts: A Review of the Scientific Evidence (The Lindesmith Center, August 11, 1997), said: “This latest survey illustrates the cyclical nature of marijuana use. There is absolutely no need for hysteria or panic when statistics indicate changes in use. Despite massive propaganda campaigns which exaggerate the dangers of marijuana, government officials need to stop kidding themselves that marijuana use will disappear. As scientists and as parents, we believe firmly that marijuana policies should be based upon scientific evidence, factual information and common sense.”

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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