Cal. NORML Press Release May 27, 2000

A state report on the impact of California’s medical marijuana initiative, Prop. 215, showing that use of marijuana by students declined slightly following passage of the 1996 initiative after having increased for several years previously, is being suppressed by the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.

The report, authored by Rodney Skager, professor emeritus of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and founding director of the California Attorney General’s Student Survey on drug use, contradicts the main arguments against passage of Proposition 215 in the 1996 state election.

The report found that while marijuana use among 16 year olds in California leveled off after the election , it continued to rise among older high school students in the Eastern U.S., according to a survey that was conducted from 1997 to 1998.

Skager said this segment of the survey, which was underwritten by a federal agency, has been “under review”by the DADP for the past two years. He added: “I wonder if it will ever see the light of day? Almost two years have passed since delivery of the first draft. People in the sponsoring agency undoubtedly fear the consequences of release of the data. The findings are politically incorrect because federal propaganda about the medical marijuana initiative insisted that passage would ‘send the wrong message to young people.'”

Sources say that the report is being deliberately withheld because officials feel the times are too sensitive for release of the findings that Prop. 215 had no impact on youth marijuana use.

“It is time for the drug bureaucrats who opposed Prop. 215 to face the fact that they underestimated the intelligence of California youth,” commented California NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer, one of the original organizers of the medical marijuana initiative. “Kids are smart enough to understand that medical marijuana use is not a green light for them to get stoned.”

The survey covering the period 1997-98 reported 41.6 percent of eleventh graders in the state had used marijuana, compared to 42.8 percent in 1995-96. In the East, the survey showed an increase in marijuana usage among twelfth graders, from 40 percent in 1995-96 to 43.5 percent in 1997-98.

In addition to the Office of the Attorney General of California, the California Student Survey is now sponsored by the California Department of Education and the California Office of Alcohol and Drug Programs. The latter agency provided the federal funds for the special study of marijuana. The anonymous survey is administered to students in grades seven, nine and eleven, and has been given on a biennial basis since 1985.

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