Legalizing Marijuana Encourages Teens to Use It, Studies Find

A study published earlier this month from researchers at the University of Washington reveals that letting adults use recreational marijuana may encourage teenagers to use it as well.

Since the 1990s, teen marijuana use generally has declined.

However, researchers found that teens in Washington became much more likely to report they had used marijuana in the past year following legalization of recreational marijuana in that state in 2012.

A similar study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine last February found adolescents in Oregon were more likely to use marijuana as recreational marijuana expanded.

In other words, it appears that legalizing recreational marijuana for adults encourages teens to try marijuana as well.

That’s dangerous, because other studies have found marijuana use is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide — particularly among adolescents.

A 2019 study found that marijuana addiction among young people is tied to increased risk of heart problems.

A second study found regular marijuana use increases a young person’s risk of suffering a stroke.

Researchers have repeatedly found marijuana use is tied to stroke as well as permanent loss in IQ and an increased risk for schizophrenia.

That’s part of the reason why the U.S. Surgeon General has warned young people about marijuana use.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that marijuana is dangerous, groups in Arkansas are working to legalize marijuana, and Arkansans have spent millions of dollars of so-called “medical marijuana.”

As we have said time and time again: Marijuana may be many things, but “harmless” simply is not one of them.

Federal Government Still Funneling Money to Planned Parenthood’s Sex Ed Programs

Last month the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Population Affairs announced it was awarding $56.3 million to different groups to conduct teen pregnancy prevention programs around the country.

The announcement showed that beginning July 1, the federal government would award more than $1.1 million to Planned Parenthood of Greater New York and more than $684,000 to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

The funding is part of a three-year grant from the federal government.

Planned Parenthood will be able to use this money to conduct sex education programs in New York and parts of the Midwest.

We know from experience that Planned Parenthood’s sex education simply does not work.

The Obama Administration gave Planned Parenthood millions of dollars to conduct teen pregnancy prevention programs in the Pacific Northwest.

Students who went through these sex education programs actually were more likely to become pregnant or cause a pregnancy afterward.

In other words, Planned Parenthood’s sex education programs did exactly the opposite of what the federal government had wanted.

In the 1980s and 1990s, public officials in Arkansas promoted Planned Parenthood-style sex education. The programs failed to have a meaningful impact on teen pregnancy and abortion in Arkansas.

These programs focused on teaching public school students about contraceptive use.

During that time, Arkansas’ teen birth rate remained high, and teenagers were among those most likely to have an abortion.

In 1997 the state switched strategies, promoting abstinence-based sex-education in public schools. The results were nothing short of staggering.

Teen birth rates and teen abortion rates in Arkansas plummeted.

From 1997 to 2003, the teen abortion rate fell by approximately 37%, and the teen birth rate fell by 16%.

Arkansas’ abstinence education program was so successful that it garnered national attention from other states.

Despite this history, state legislators narrowly defeated a proposal to implement comprehensive sex education in Arkansas last year.

S.B. 304 by Sen. Will Bond (D – Little Rock) and Rep. LeAnne Burch (D – Monticello) would have made it possible for Planned Parenthood to worm its way into junior high and high schools across Arkansas under the auspices of teaching teen pregnancy prevention and sex education.

The bill was narrowly defeated in the House Education Committee.

All of this underscores why Arkansas does not need to mandate comprehensive sex education in public schools.

If we do, it will almost certainly let groups like Planned Parenthood into our public schools — and they may be able to use the programs to get federal taxpayer funding in the process.

Photo Credit: Planned Parenthood Sticker by dogra on Flickr.