General Eric Holder said Wednesday that just because states are legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes doesn’t mean minors will be able to roll up a joint.
“People cannot buy alcohol I guess now until you’re age… age 21, but young people find ways to get alcohol because adults can have access to it,” Holder said before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I’m not sure that we will see the same thing here given what we have said with regard to our enforcement priorities.”
His comments came as Colorado and Washington state have been implementing new laws allowing recreational pot. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and under questioning, Holder defended the Obama administration’s stance in allowing the states to move forward with their laws while the feds work to make sure the drug doesn’t become available to minors or move across state lines.
“The distribution of marijuana to minors will… will entail a very vigorous federal response,” Holder said.
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Federal drug abuse officials called out Colorado by name Wednesday in releasing a new national survey of illicit drug use among teenagers, saying marijuana legalization efforts are clearly changing youth attitudes in a dangerous way.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy noted many teens report getting their marijuana from others with medical marijuana access. Past-month pot use by high schoolers jumped over five years, and perceived risk by teens is plummeting, said the annual report of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Colorado, Washington and other states heading toward legalization are conducting a “large social experiment (that) portends a very difficult time” for drug-abuse control, said Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Legalization advocates, meanwhile, cited other statistics in the report showing the recent national trend in high school use of pot is flat.
The most recent three years of the survey show little change in self-reported use in the annual tally.
In 12th-graders, for example. . . . . READ MORE
Support for marijuana legalization has reached a new high — and young adults are fueling the flames.
A Gallup poll released Tuesday revealed a majority of adults back cannabis legalization for the first time since Gallup asked the question in 1969.
58% of the respondents supported the idea, but among 18- to 29-year-olds the figure jumps to 67%.
Michael Kenney, professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, says supportive attitudes were inevitable among Millennials who came of age in the midst of the legalization debate.
“Every year, millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens are using cannabis,” Kenney says. “It’s not necessarily looked down on by young people. It’s no big whoop.”
Karilla Dyer, a junior at the University of Florida, meets very few people who haven’t tried the drug. Smoking should be considered a lifestyle choice, she says.
“If someone wants to smoke marijuana occasionally in a social setting or just to relax, it should not be more illegal than having a glass of wine,” the 21-year-old says. “Pot is not something that ruins lives.”
Currently, 20 states and Washington, D.C., a. . . . . READ MORE