I-Team: Impact Of Legal Marijuana On Teenagers

BOSTON (CBS) – One of the biggest areas of concern surrounding the marijuana ballot question is the impact on teens. Those against legalization insist use is up where pot is legal for adults. Proponents believe legal pot will be regulated and more difficult to get.

Teens we talked to on the campus of Boston University believe legal or not, kids are going to smoke. “I know lots of people who smoke and smoke regularly. It’s never something that someone’s like, ‘oh, man I can’t get weed,’” one student told us. “I think more pre-teens and younger teenagers use marijuana because it’s easier to get than alcohol,” another said.

Related: I-Team – Pot Or Not

But if marijuana and all the various forms of edibles and hash oil are legal for adults, critics say it could be disastrous for youth. “You know we are not going to be able to stop it from getting into the hands of our kids,” warned Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael.

But supporters of legalization dispute that. “80% of high school kids have said that marijuana is easy or fairly easy to get and the reason for that is no one asks for their IDs,” explained Will Luzier who heads up The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol.

But what do the numbers say? Even statistics don’t offer simple answers. A survey by a police group in Colorado shows a 20% increase in adolescent use since legalization. But another federal study shows pot use increased just one percent in Colorado and Washington,” he said.

When we visited recreational dispensaries in Denver, we found consistent ID checking.

But just like alcohol, teens say they can still get pot. “Your brother or sister who has an ID can just go in and say hey I want some pot and then they can just give it to a 16 year old teenager,” one Denver teen told us.

That is what has prompted school officials to come out against legalization. Many teens themselves say they’re not sure anything would change.


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