I‘m aware I’m going to be getting a lot of shit for this, but I’m going to write this piece anyways. So let me start off with a short introduction.
Personally, I took my first drug at the age of 15,5 during Christmas, when the minimum age requirement to buy alcohol was still 16 in the Netherlands. I tried my first cigarette at the age of 16, but didn’t like it and it never became a habit. Finally cannabis, I tried for the first time at the age of 19 in a student house.
Due to peer pressure, teenagers are actually high likely to attempt experimenting with sex, drugs and alcohol
For most people, the first time they try drugs (alcohol usually first), is somewhere between the age of 14 and 16. Most of them, end up doing just fine later in life (Obama, Clinton, etc…). And yes, there will always be a group that doesn’t end up well, but it arguably has more to do with the situation at home and not the drug. (Just because you can kill someone with a kitchen knife doesn’t mean we should ban kitchen knives, right?)
Drug education at schools has mostly been about condemning drug use in general (if there is any at all), but it hasn’t stopped teenagers from experimenting. Due to peer pressure, teenagers are actually high likely to start experimenting with sex, drugs and alcohol.
And while this raises concerns about drugs influencing developing brains, the argument does not calculate the risk of teenagers having to reach out to the uncontrolled black market. A dealer does not take into account you shouldn’t immediately go for the strongest pot, or any other drugs for that matter.
My home country, the Netherlands, used to have the minimum age requirement to buy cannabis at 16, until 1994 when they changed it to 18. Just like alcohol, which they only recently (2014) changed to 18 and is actually causing underage drug use to spike.
Unlike the United States, where the minimum age requirement to buy alcohol is 21. And underage binge drinking is raging rampant across the country.
So, what is the solution?
Studies have shown underage drinking is far worse for developing brains than cannabis use. And because we’re on a cannabis website, we’re going to stick to the pot argument.
Under a regulated cannabis program, teenagers should be allowed to buy cannabis at the age of 16. But just like the minimum age requirement used to be 16 for beer and 18 for hard liquor in the Netherlands, stronger versions of pot, whether it be edibles, hash concentrates (dabs) or strains known for their potency, should only be allowed to be sold to you when you have passed the 21 mark. So what’s left? Organicly grown cannabis, with a healthy balance of cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) which will not ruin your life.