Federal drug control policy director Gil Kerlikowske attributed the uptick in marijuana use reported yesterday in a federal survey to the increase in the number of states that have approved it for medical use, reports USA Today. Delaware in May became the 16th state to approve medical marijuana. “People keep calling it medicine, and that’s the wrong message for young people to hear,” Kerlikowske said.
That view was disputed by Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates decriminalizing marijuana. He said marijuana use rates rise and fall in states that allow medical marijuana in the same fashion as they do in other states. “Whether or not a youth might abuse something doesn’t determine whether or not an adult should have access to a medication and whether a doctor should prescribe it,” Piper said. Rebecca McGoldrick, 21, a Brown University senior, smokes marijuana to get relief from pain and nausea caused by fibromyalgia. “Most of my friends are still unaware of its legal status as a medicine,” said McGoldrick, who is involved with Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, which advocates decriminalization of drug use. “I have plenty of friends who choose to use it and plenty who don’t choose to,” she said. “I think it’s an alternative to alcohol for some people.”