Pubdate: Tue, 16 Apr 2002
Source: Sun, The (WA)
Copyright: 2002 SunLink
Author: Bruce Mirken, Director of communications, Marijuana Policy Project, 
Washington D.C.


To the Editor:

Heidi Hottinger's Sunday Forum column in The Sun, "It's not your father's 
joint," attempts to persuade readers of the growing threat of teen 
marijuana use. What Hottinger has actually provided is a lesson in the 
misleading and distorted use of statistics.

Hottinger reports with alarm that "marijuana use among Washington students 
in grades 8 - 12 has more than doubled since 1990."

She neglects to mention that the figures --  from the Washington Survey of 
Adolescent Health Behaviors --  actually show a steady rise until 1998, 
followed by a sharp drop in 2000, the latest figures available.

In every age group, the percentage who had used marijuana in the past 30 
days dropped by at least 15 percent from 1998 to 2000; among sixth- and 
eighth-graders, use dropped by more than a quarter.

Hottinger's claim that "today's marijuana THC concentration ranges from 8 
to 28 percent" is simply wrong.

The latest scientifically reviewed, government data, published in the 
January 2000 Journal of Forensic Science, show an average THC concentration 
of 4.47 percent.

No one wants to encourage adolescent drug use.

But the welfare of our young people is too important for such statistical 

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