Legalize Pot, But Not for Teens, Many U.S. Adults Say
Survey finds support for age restrictions
TUESDAY, July 16, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Most American adults who support marijuana legalization oppose legal marijuana use among children and teens, according to a new survey.
While 40 percent of adults are in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana, a majority of them believe it should only be legal for adults over age 21, according to the survey results released Tuesday by the Partnership at Drugfree.org.
"The reality is that marijuana is now legalized for recreational use in the states of Colorado and Washington and it's clear that society's views on marijuana are evolving dramatically," Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership at Drugfree.org, said in a news release from the group.
Support among adults for medical use, decriminalization and legalization of marijuana was 70 percent, 50 percent and 40 percent, respectively, and only slightly lower among parents.
Support for each of these actions increased between 3 percent and 11 percent when the participants were given specific definitions for medicalization, decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, the investigators noted.
The online survey of about 1,600 adults was conducted in early March. Of the survey participants, 1,200 were parents of children aged 10 to 19. Of these parents, 200 live in Colorado and 200 live in Washington State, where marijuana was legalized last November.
Among the other findings:
- About half of all parents in the survey said they had used marijuana. The number is somewhat higher (62 percent) for parents living in Colorado.
- Increasing tolerance does not mean support for an easy-going attitude toward marijuana, even in Colorado and Washington. Ninety percent of parents in those states believe that "marijuana should be sold only through licensed growers/sellers and not in places like convenience stores, grocery stores or newsstands."
- Similar percentages of parents agree that marijuana use should be prohibited in public places where tobacco smoking is now banned: 92 percent of Colorado parents and 96 percent of Washington State parents.
- A majority of parents in the survey believe it should be illegal to provide marijuana to underage children at home (90 percent of Colorado parents and 91 percent of Washington State parents agree).
- More than 80 percent of parents (87 percent of Colorado parents) believe "marijuana advertising should still be banned."
"This new research provides richer insight into what today's parents believe about marijuana, their thoughts on legalization and the risks it may pose to adolescents," Pasierb said.
"The data bring to life the fact that parents -- including the large number who favor legalization -- have serious expectations that legal marijuana will be regulated and restricted to protect kids and teens," he said. "Those expectations far exceed how legal marijuana is being implemented. So the fact remains, whether marijuana is legal or not, much more needs to be done to protect the health of our children."
The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about marijuana.