It has been just over three years since the State of Washington approved marijuana sales for recreational use. And despite the naysayers' cries the sky would fall after Washington decriminalized weed, according to a new report, not only has cannabis use among teenagers and kids fallen, but so have admissions to treatment centers and misdemeanor pot convictions.
The Washington State Institute for Public Policy commissioned the study. It found that pot use among teens fell from 20 percent in 2010, to just 17 percent in 2016. The survey asked nearly 11,000 high school sophomores if they'd consumed cannabis within the last month. The results indicate not only are fewer teens using cannabis on a monthly basis, but the fears that teens would become pot addicted were unfounded.
According to the Seattle Times, legalizing cannabis use and decriminalizing it also helped drive down the number of admissions into marijuana abuse treatment centers. The Times writes:
On cannabis abuse, researchers found that admissions for publicly funded treatment fell in the three years after I-502 [decriminalization of cannabis in WA] was enacted. Admissions dropped from 7,843 in 2012 to 6,142 in 2015.
As for misdemeanor convictions for marijuana use, they also fell significantly.
misdemeanor convictions for pot possession by adults dropped sharply after legalization... Prohibitions for minors did not change under I-502; possession remained illegal for them. But convictions began to decline in 2012, dropping from 1,015 at the start of the year to 722 in early 2013.
Resulting from Washington State's decriminalization of marijuana use for adults, not only did pot use among teens fall, but admissions to treatment facilities, and misdemeanor convictions for pot use also dropped. The results, if they can be duplicated nationwide, hold promise for the rest of the country.
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Indeed, the country as a whole is wrestling with a burgeoning opiate and heroin crisis. As TFTP reported more Americans died in 2016 from opiate and heroin overdose than died in the entire Vietnam War. Cannabis holds out effective hope to treat opiate and heroin addicted individuals by substituting addictive opiates with cannabis. In light of those facts, the legalization of cannabis across the United States cannot come fast enough for opiate addicts and their families.
Working against Americans' freedom to choose a natural plant-based medicine, as TFTP reported, is Insys, an Arizona-based pharmaceutical company, and manufacturer of Subsys, a controversial fentanyl-based opiate. Insys actually paid $500,000 to sway voters against making recreational marijuana legal in Arizona. The money was given to Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP) which quickly launched an effective television and radio advertisement campaign declaring that marijuana is an "addictive product" that ensnares children leading to skyrocketing rates of pot use among teens.
As TFTP's Matt Agorist wrote, the hypocrisy was glaring:
Insys Therapeutics, the company who makes insane profits from a drug behind one of the worst overdose epidemics in the nation’s history, fentanyl, has donated $500,000 to a campaign opposing marijuana legalization in the US state of Arizona. In a glaring display of hypocrisy, the maker of the drug Subsys, a sublingual fentanyl spray, claims that marijuana is dangerous because it could hurt children.
What's really hurting children are the nearly 60,000 deaths by opiates and heroin overdose which has taken countless parents away from children, addicted possibly millions of teens and young adults, and taken away grown children from elderly parents.
The ARDP mission statement (which can be read on their Youtube channel) indicated that ARDP was dedicated to "fighting back against the for-profit marijuana industry that makes money from an addictive product". Critics such as Agorist contend that not only did ARDP accept donations from one of the country's most unethical pharmaceutical companies allegedly, to promote fallacies about cannabis, but ultimately ARDP helped enable Insys to keep marijuana illegal in Arizona. The ballot-initiative failed in late 2016.
Almost immediately following the failure to decriminalize cannabis in Arizona, Insys convinced the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to allow Insys to introduce a synthetic marijuana product, Syndros, to the market. Yes, that's right. At the same time Insys was paying to keep safe and natural weed illegal, it was partnering the DEA to profit off of synthetic weed.
The latest facts from Washington State suggest Americans have nothing to fear from weed becoming legal in all 50 states and provinces. But the entire nation has much to fear from an increasingly unethical pharmaceutical industry which will stop at nothing to addict Americans to its powerful, deadly, and dangerous opiates.