LUNGREN: Medical Marijuana To Blame For Teen Drug Rise
In his annual "State of the Public Safety" address, California Attorney General Dan Lungren (R) said yesterday that "drug abuse by juveniles is on the rise," in part due to the passage of Proposition 215. He said the 1996 law that legalized marijuana for physician-approved medical use "sent a 'damaging signal' to both adults and young people," the Sacramento Bee reports. Lungren, who is running for governor this year, said, "As a result [of Proposition 215], [h]ere in California our young people are using marijuana more than at any other time during the last 10 years." Lungren noted that Arizona, which also passed a medical marijuana initiative in 1996, is "the only other state that experienced an increase in illegal drug use by minors."
Lungren also said he "is very concerned about methamphetamine use by youths in California." The attorney general said he "plans to spend more than $2 million from a new $18.2 million federal grant to launch a public-awareness campaign about the adverse health and safety effects of the drug." Lungren said, "To kids who think crank is cool, we will show them that meth users are nothing but tremendous time bombs." In related news, at a press conference following his speech Lungren said he does not support a proposal by Lt. Gov. Gray Davis (D) "to allow random drug tests of high school students." The Sacramento Bee notes that Davis is also running for governor this year (Bernstein, 2/3).