It’s not because teens are consuming weed more, it’s because they’re using tobacco and alcohol less
Teens used to try alcohol first, then tobacco, and then marijuana. Now, marijuana is increasingly the first “gateway” substance for adolescents, according to new research.
This trend is not because teens are smoking cannabis more than ever. Rather, the change is because teens are smoking cigarettes and drinking less while the numbers for marijuana have held steady, according to Katherine M. Keyes, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University and co-author of the new study, published this week in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
“As we’ve seen the dramatic declines in alcohol and tobacco, we haven’t seen dramatic declines in marijuana, so now every year it’s more and more likely that kids are starting their drug-use careers with marijuana,” says Keyes. She adds that rates of teen drinking and smoking started to fall — thanks largely to widespread public health campaigns — long before the recent wave of pro-marijuana lobbying.
Most likely, this trend will continue as marijuana becomes less stigmatized and more and more states vote to legalize the drug. Though teens aren’t supposed to smoke marijuana even in the states that have fully legalized it, “it’s not going out on a huge limb to suggest that marijuana is going to be more available at a lower cost to adolescents,” says Keyes. “If you make a substance more available at a lower cost and easier to access, you’re gonna see increases.” After all, it’s also illegal for kids to drink or smoke, but many easily find both alcohol and cigarettes in their own homes.
Comment: Education and Legislation work to shift culture better than ‘education’ alone. Our emerging generation are the first in 120 years to grow up with the strong and uncompromising message that ‘tobacco is bad, but marijuana is medicine!’… No surprise as to how that ‘education’ is leading the generation, as this research further validates! Dalgarno Institute
November, 2018 By DATAC
As the legalization of cannabis settles in, coming up on the one month mark, there are many challenges which have arisen in the legal sales arena. There have been issues across the country with the legal dispensaries, either online (ON) or store fronts (NB, QC) running out of product and experiencing website glitches. These bumps in the road for legal sales have meant that many recreational and medicinal users are turning to the black market to obtain their products.
Black market filling the holes
The black market for cannabis sales obviously existed prior to the legalization of cannabis last month, and just this fact alone means that they have a head start in sales. Many users, medicinal and recreational, are going to be hard to bring around to purchasing from legal sources. There are two main reasons for this, the first being that the legal sites (storefronts or online stores) have been running out since they opened their doors. Some have completely run out of all products, and have had to close their doors, while others are simply at very low stock and/or long wait times to obtain the product as things are on backorder.
As well as running out of products there are numerous products which will not be available legally until next year, such as edibles, which includes such things as cannabis-infused foods (from cakes to candies) as well as drinks. Cannabis concentrates are another product which will not be available via legal dispensaries until next year. The black market will have a stronghold on all of these, still not purchasable cannabis products, for at least a year, which also means buyers keeping their relationships with their illegal dispensers.
The second reason for a user choosing the black market is price. Particularly for those users who were already set up with a place to purchase, prior to legalization, deciding now to pay much more for the same thing they can already get, is a hard sell. There is variation from province to province with the cost of product from stores versus street, but the prices in stores can be up to $15 a gram with the average price on the street ranging from about $5 (Alberta) to around $7 (Ontario). It also seems that because the prices are high on the legal market it may have led to a drop in prices in the black market.
Despite security checks by Health Canada, investors with Mafia connections involved in legal production
Marie-Maude Denis · CBC News · Posted: Nov 01, 2018
An investigation by Radio-Canada's Enquête shows Health Canada has granted production licences to companies with individuals with links to the criminal underworld. (Tijana Martin/Canadian Press)
An investor in a major Canadian cannabis company has had longstanding ties, including business dealings, with influential Mafia members and drug traffickers, Radio-Canada has learned.
Another investor in the same company has links with a prominent member of the Rizzutos, the powerful Montreal crime family.
In still another case, an individual managed to sell his cannabis business to one of the big players in the industry, despite his connections to drug traffickers. In return, he received shares in the company and rented out space for a cannabis grow-op.
Security checks only scratch the surface
Throughout the period in which Canada's cannabis industry was developing, primarily for medical purposes, only individuals who directly ran the companies were required to obtain a security clearance.
The black hole of trusts
It's not uncommon for cannabis companies to be funded through family trusts.
Originally designed for estate and tax planning, trusts are an ideal way to hide individuals with interests in a business, said Marie-Pierre Allard, who studies tax policy at the Université de Sherbrooke.
"The beneficiaries of the trust are not disclosed publicly. It's anonymous," she said, adding that it is "one of the great vulnerabilities of the Canadian legal system."
"If we want to eliminate the Mafia cannabis market, we cannot allow them to use tax havens or trusts to enter indirectly through the back door," Carignan said.
After a nursing woman smokes marijuana once, her baby through her breast milk will consume traces of the drug's chief psychoactive element for at least six weeks and possibly longer, according to a soon-to-be-released study out of Colorado.
For physicians who see cannabis-associated birth complications and long-term brain development concerns with children, the research is another step to try to square growing public nonchalance about marijuana with medical guidelines about use.
Researchers and clinicians have long warned women not to use marijuana while they are pregnant or nursing. They agree that infants' exposure to tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, demonstrably changes their brain development. But their studies are limited. Legally, child protective services would have to step in if a child tests positive for the drug—a challenge for researchers who want to figure out how much THC infants absorb and what this means for them in the long term.
Meanwhile, marijuana laws are loosening, and attitudes about cannabis have shifted. Physicians who witness the trends up close fear there will be another public health crisis that will hurt children.
"We are in the opioid crisis due to expanding prescriptions for opioids with little thought to the consequences of widespread use, including use during pregnancy," said Dr. Lauren M. Jansson, director of pediatrics for the Johns Hopkins Center for Addiction and Pregnancy. "My fear is that we will see the same thing with marijuana.