Will Legalization Cause A Surge Of Stoned Kids?

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 3 2012 @ 1:42pm

Mark Kleiman questions my view that "if [cannabis] were legal and regulated, we’d be better able to keep it from [minors]":

How do you make something way more available to adults and not have it become more available to minors as well? Yes, many kids today have better access to cannabis than adults do. But (despite frequent assertions to the contrary) nowhere near as much access as they have to alcohol, which is dirt-cheap and available from the wino outside any liquor store, or (in most cases) at home. Here are the brute facts: more kids engage in binge drinking every month than smoke pot at all in that month. Is that because alcohol is more fun? Or because it’s so easy to get?

The Dish has addressed this question before. Here's a reader we featured back then:

Survey data reliably shows us that children today can more easily access illicit cannabis than either alcohol or tobacco.  California has seen no increase in teen use after the medical marijuana industry in that state exploded.  Usage numbers among Dutch teenagers are even lower than they are here.  There's simply no evidence that more liberal cannabis policies lead to higher use among kids.

From another reader:

Those who distribute marijuana are already violating the law and operate in a black market, where there is no incentive to follow any rules like age limits. However, legitimate establishments that sell alcohol have many incentives to follow the rules, including the possibility of losing their license to operate.

Some first-hand experience from another:

I started smoking pot at 14 because it was significantly easier to get than alcohol. Buying booze always involved either an illegal fake ID handed over to a stranger, or approaching a homeless person and negotiating with them. Neither of these were things I wanted to do at 14. On the other hand, my friend's older brother sold pot and I had known the guy for years. And since what he was doing was illegal anyway, he didn't give a shit how old we were.

Read the rest here.