Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa





Grassley on Teen Drug Use Survey; Marijuana Results are Worrying

Dec 16, 2014

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee and co-chairman of the Caucus on International Narcotics Control, today made the following comment on the National Institutes of Health’s 2014 Monitoring the Future Survey.  The survey measures drug use and attitudes among the nation’s 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.   The survey finds that in 2014, in states with medical marijuana laws, 40 percent of 12th graders who reported using marijuana in the past year said they had consumed marijuana in food products (edibles) versus 26 percent in non-medical marijuana states.  The majority of high school seniors do not think occasional marijuana smoking is harmful, with only 16.4 percent saying occasional use puts the user at great risk, compared to 27.4 percent five years ago.

“Earlier this year, President Obama said he thought recreational use of marijuana was just a ‘bad habit’ no more dangerous than consuming alcohol.  He also indicated he thought it was ‘important’ for the legalization of recreational marijuana under state law in Colorado and Washington to ‘go forward.’  Attorney General Holder has also recently stated that he’s ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the legalization of recreational marijuana in those states.  Finally, the President recently installed an advocate for the legalization of recreational marijuana as well as the decriminalization of possession of all controlled substances, including cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine, as acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

“When kids receive the message that marijuana use is acceptable and even welcome, it’s no wonder that the perception of harm from marijuana goes down.  It shouldn’t surprise anyone that marijuana edibles are popular among teen-agers in states where those products are available.  Those of us in the public eye have an obligation to make sure kids understand the dangers of all drug use, including marijuana.  Even in today’s survey press release, a government expert warns of the effects of drugs on the developing brain.  We can’t let up on education and prevention.  By offering pro-marijuana messages, the President and his top appointees are working at cross purposes with the federal government experts who are trying to reduce drug use among teen-agers.

“The good news in the survey reflects education and prevention work at all levels of government and among parents and grandparents.  The emphasis on raising public awareness about prescription opioid abuse and efforts to clean out medicine cabinets are positively impacting the youth trends.  Public awareness and the laws banning synthetic drugs also seem to be have a positive effect on the trends.”

The survey is available here.