Are Kids Getting Pot from Med. Marijuana Cardholders

Jan 3, 2013

A new report shows that nearly one out of every eight high schoolers who regularly smokes dope got it from a medical marijuana cardholder.

Nearly 29 percent of students in grades 10 through 12 admit to having smoked marijuana, with half having lit up in the last 30 days. The most frequent sources are friends and family. But close to 12 percent said they got the marijuana from someone who has permission to grow or purchase the drug for their own medical conditions, someone who may also be a friend or family member. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said that's not surprising.

"When you wind up with a purported medical marijuana system that in reality is a recreational use system I would say that this is a foreseeable consequence," Montgomery said.

Giving or selling medical marijuana to someone not authorized to have it is a crime. But Montgomery said the problem is making the case.

"When you have juvenile who's in possession of marijuana, it's not a standard course of questioning to ask where did you get it from," Montgomery added. "You'd have to have someone volunteer the information about where they procured the marijuana."

Cory Nelson, a deputy assistant state health director, said his agency is aware of the numbers of teens who said they got drugs from a cardholder. But Nelson said people should not lose sight of other numbers in the report.

"We've got almost 80 percent who say they're getting it from friends, and another 15 percent that say they're getting it from family. So we need to make sure we are looking at all those areas and not focusing on just the one area," Nelson said.