A Letter to Parents about teen marijuana use

Although NIDA’s (National Institute on Drug Abuse) annual Monitoring the Future survey shows that daily marijuana use in teens is mostly steady, the survey also shows that as cigarette smoking rates drop, daily marijuana smoking has become generally more common than daily cigarette smoking among teens.

By the time they graduate high school, about 45 percent of teens have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime, a rate that has remained relatively steady for the past two decades. The survey also reports that high school seniors in states with medical marijuana laws are more likely to have vaped marijuana and consumed marijuana edibles than their counterparts in states without such laws.

Additionally, the number of teens who think marijuana use is harmful is declining. This is concerning because there is growing scientific evidence that heavy, regular use of marijuana that begins during the teen years can interfere with aspects of functioning and well-being.

Survey results show that we still have a long way to go in our efforts to prevent teen marijuana use and avoid the toll it can take on a young person’s life. NIDA recognizes that parents have an important role in this effort and can strongly influence their children’s attitudes and behaviors.

However, the subject of marijuana use has become increasingly difficult to discuss—in part because of the mixed messages being sent by the passage of medical marijuana laws and legalization of marijuana in some states.

In addition, many parents may have used marijuana when they were younger, which could make it more challenging to discuss openly or set rules about its use.

Talking to our children about drug use isn’t always easy, but it is crucial. We are pleased to offer this short guide to review with your children (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-parents-need-to-know/letter-to-parents). We have a similar booklet, called Marijuana: Facts for Teens, that you can also share. Sometimes, just beginning the conversation is the hardest part. I hope these booklets can help.

Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse

APF statement on FY2021 Revenue Forecast

Alaska Policy Forum (APF) issued the following statement in response to today’s (Dec. 6th, 2019) release of the state’s fiscal year 2021 revenue projections. The Alaska Department of Revenue – Tax Division has published the Revenue Sources Book Fall 2019 and is forecasting unrestricted revenue of $2.0 billion for fiscal year 2021.

The revenue projections are very disappointing but not unexpected. With only $2.0 billion in revenue, to ensure long-term stability for the state, reducing spending will be a necessity again in the next legislative session.

Years of overspending by lawmakers has stifled the private sector, but continued reductions in government spending will allow it to flourish. Economic stability produced by responsible and sustainable budgeting will give individuals the confidence they need to expand and open businesses, and create job opportunities in Alaska.

Reducing government expenditures to match revenue will provide financial stability for the state of Alaska, and increase jobs and opportunities for our residents. As the government spends less, the private sector has room to grow.

Last February, analysis conducted by the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska Anchorage estimated that for every $100 million in budget cuts, 1,000 jobs would be lost. Correspondingly, the $650 million in reductions made to the FY2020 budget would mean a loss of 6,500 jobs.

Fortunately, the predictions of the government-employed economists at ISER are thus far inaccurate, as year-over-year employment has not decreased at all, but in fact has increased by 1,400 jobs. Additionally, Alaska is experiencing the lowest unemployment in its history. This is further evidence that reducing the size and scope of government to match revenues is the best path forward for Alaska.

Bethany Marcum, Executive Director, Alaska Policy Forum

1 Comment

  1. I don’t think the perception of the dangers of use have changed; was has changed is the fact that it is common knowledge now that cannabis does not belong in schedule I. The disparity between facts and cannabis classification has led to a mistrust in the government. Kids know it is not harmless but they also know it doesn’t belong in schedule I. Placing cannabis in schedule I is a detriment in the sense that if kids know cannabis isn’t that bad and it is in schedule I then drugs in schedule II are not that worse or even less dangerous than cannabis. So the government is basically saying “cocaine is safer to use than cannabis”; which anyone with common sense knows that’s not true; and that’s where the mistrust lies. That’s where the “perception” goes down.

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