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Marijuana myth busted

| Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
In this file photo taken Jan. 13, 2015, marijuana plants sit under powerful lamps in a growing facility in Arlington, Wash. Washington launched its second-in-the-nation legal marijuana market in mid-July 2014 with just a handful of stores selling high-priced pot to long lines of customers. A year later, the state had about 160 shops open, tax revenues had soared past expectations and sales topped $1.4 million per day. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
In this file photo taken Jan. 13, 2015, marijuana plants sit under powerful lamps in a growing facility in Arlington, Wash. Washington launched its second-in-the-nation legal marijuana market in mid-July 2014 with just a handful of stores selling high-priced pot to long lines of customers. A year later, the state had about 160 shops open, tax revenues had soared past expectations and sales topped $1.4 million per day. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

A new governmental report shows minors' marijuana usage hasn't risen since Washington state legalized recreational marijuana for adults, bolstering the commonsense case for ending counterproductive marijuana prohibitions.

This new report was required by Washington's legalization law and produced by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy — “the state Legislature's think tank,” according to The Seattle Times. Its finding that legalization hasn't led to increased marijuana usage among Washington's minors is based on information from a twice-yearly survey of sixth-, eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders conducted by that state's Health Department.

Since Washington voters approved legalization in 2012 and sales began in mid-2014, marijuana usage “in all four grade levels was stable or has fallen slightly,” according to the newspaper. Among Washington high school sophomores surveyed last year, 17 percent said they'd used marijuana during the previous month; comparable usage figures were 18 percent in 2006, 20 percent in 2010.

That's a heartening contrast to prohibition advocates' gloom-and-doom predictions about legalization's effects on minors.

Washington and other states that have legalized recreational marijuana are blazing a trail that Pennsylvania and the rest of the states — and ultimately, the federal government — should follow, especially because this report suggests that path is largely free of one of its biggest potential pitfalls.

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