The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that 23 percent of high school students said they recently smoked marijuana, while 18 percent said they had puffed cigarettes. The survey asked teens about a variety of risky behaviors.
For decades, the number of teens who smoke has been on the decline. Marijuana use has fluctuated, and recently rose. At times, pot and cigarette smoking were about the same level, but last year marked the first time marijuana use was clearly greater.
An earlier survey by the University of Michigan also found that pot smoking was higher. A Michigan expert said teens today apparently see marijuana as less dangerous than cigarettes.
The legalization of marijuana and medical marijuana laws is a divisive subject that plays along political, spiritual and cultural lines. Here is some of the recent news involving medical marijuana:
“Pot Like Wine” – Attitudes towards legalizing pot in the United States are changing. As of April 2012, 12 states have pending bills to legalize the use of medical marijuana and five more are pushing legislation for the regulated use of recreational marijuana: California, Colorado, Missouri, Oregon, and Washington. These bills, such as California’s “Regulate Marijuana Like Wine” and Colorado’s “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” would make marijuana a taxable item sold to those 21 years of age and older, with a penalty for selling pot to minors. Missouri’s bill even proposes the legalization of growing plots up to 10 feet by 10 feet in size.
Demographic Support – The majority of the bills are expected to pass, with the California, Colorado, and Oregon bills receiving overwhelming support. The fate of the Washington initiative is less certain, a between more conservative Spokane and pot-friendly Seattle. Overall, men, young adults and liberals are more in favor of legalizing pot than conservatives, senior citizens and women. Some of the biggest detractors of the legalization initiatives, however, are medical marijuana dispensaries. The dispensaries are afraid of losing business if marijuana can be legally obtained elsewhere.
Those in Favor – The legalization of marijuana would be a boon to those looking to earn social work degrees, as well as those who are denied medical marijuana cards. Legislation would legalize medical marijuana for people under 21 who would benefit from it usage. A recent Angus Reid poll shows that the majority of Americans are in agreement that legalizing pot would do more good than harm. In the poll, 55 percent favor legalization, while only 40 percent are against.
Legislation Process – The key to legalizing pot is mobilization and support. California’s petition gathered 10,000 signatures in just two weeks. Pro-pot America is actively trying to pass pro-pot legislation. For those interested in learning more about the legislative process or even obtaining an online JD degree, educating yourself about the system is a powerful way to help end prohibition.
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