Last week, the Seattle PI’s Pot Blog included an opinion entitled “Why legal marijuana will be good for Washington kids.” It starts by stating that most kids say marijuana is easy to get. Let’s turn to data from the 2012 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey for a closer look at this statement.
“Most” students do not report that marijuana is easy to get.
Among 8th grade students attending Seattle Public Schools, 27% reported marijuana is easy to get. Meanwhile, 31% reported that alcohol is easy to get. Forty-seven percent of Seattle 10th grade students reported that marijuana is easy to get and 52% reported that alcohol is easy to get.
High school students get marijuana from friends.
Most Seattle high school students who use marijuana get it from friends according to the 2012 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Alcohol, which is more widely used by high school students, is primarily obtained from friends as well.
This is supported by national data which indicate that marijuana is the primary drug sold by students who sell drugs. According to the survey, 44% of high school students know of a student who sells drugs and overwhelmingly the drug being sold is marijuana.
Legal drugs are easier for youths to get than illegal drugs.
The same survey reports that students in schools where drugs are easy to get say that within an hour they can get alcohol, cigarettes, and prescription drugs more easily than marijuana.
Legal drugs are used more than illegal drugs.
Even when marijuana is sold by peers, alcohol is used more according to the national survey cited above. Of the students who can identify a classmate who sells drugs, 55% use legal, regulated, and taxed alcohol and 35% use marijuana.