Opponents of cannabis decriminalisation often use the argument that, if decriminalised, cannabis will become more readily available among teenagers. This has been one of the most successful points for those against drug law reform through scaring parents into believing that, if cannabis is decriminalised, their child will obtain cannabis on a regular basis and lose focus on their education. Yet a recent study from the US has proven that a softer stance on cannabis has no significant effect on the proportion of use of among young people. Researchers from the University of Oregon and Montana State University have found that between the years of 1993 and 2009, the 13 US states that legalised medical marijuana, including California, Alaska and Washington, found that after legalisation was introduced, there was no increase in marijuana use or the likelihood of being offered marijuana among kids at school.
The recent Australia21 study into cannabis use proposed a legal age of 16 to buy cannabis, which I am inclined to agree with. The fact is more than one in ten young people (12-17 year olds) already admit to having used marijuana at least once in their life (2010 National Drug Survey Household Report). Conservative thinkers like to scare parents into believing their child will become dazed, unfocused layabouts if decriminalisation is passed. This is wrong. The greater majority of those who access decriminalised marijuana will be those who already have an affiliation with the drug, and professional pharmaceutical advice will more than likely be reduced to an amount which still allows them to focus thoroughly on their studies. Or we could stay in the current system where our children have their futures ruined from a criminal conviction from a harmless activity. Cannabis is not Criminal.
Here’s a link to the study: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-06/uocd-ssn061812.php