Blame It on the Cancer Patients

Drug czar Gil Kerlikowske takes more shots at pot.

Former Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, now the nation's drug czar, thinks he knows why pot use among teens is higher than it's been in decades. And his old stomping ground, Washington state, is apparently part of the problem. Kerlikowske blames the acceptance of medical marijuana in states like this one, where it's legal, for the uptick in teen drug use revealed by a new federal survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. "We have been telling young people, particularly for the past couple years, that marijuana is medicine," Kerlikowske said in an interview with ABC News this week. "So it shouldn't be a great surprise to us that young people are now misperceiving the dangers or the risks around marijuana." In a separate statement, the drug czar urged parents to counteract "mixed messages" about pot. Of course, you might say that the administration he's part of is sending mixed messages. On one hand, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the feds will de-emphasize prosecuting medical-marijuana cases. On the other, Kerlikowske has continued to sound the alarm about any kind of pot, medical or otherwise. He and his staff can't even bring themselves to use the phrase medical marijuana without putting the word "medical" in quotation marks. The survey that prompted this tsk-tsking from the drug czar was conducted by the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse. Approximately 21 percent of the high-school seniors surveyed had used marijuana in the previous 30 days—slightly more than the number of seniors who'd smoked cigarettes in that period. 

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