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White House warns legalization may be increasing teen pot use




Anthony Guillen, left, and Diana Sibrian explain the differences between medical marijuana strains to patients at the California Heritage Market in Boyle Heights.
Anthony Guillen, left, and Diana Sibrian explain the differences between medical marijuana strains to patients at the California Heritage Market in Boyle Heights.
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

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On Wednesday, following the beginning of legal retail marijuana sales in Washington state, the White House criticized marijuana legalization, arguing that it is leading more U.S. teens to smoke. In its report to Congress, the Obama administration pushed to allocate $25 billion in the next year to broader drug fighting programs.

Legal recreational marijuana has critics concerned that more teens may become heavy marijuana users due to a changed perception of risk. Others argue that reports of increased usage are overblown, and that regulared legal marijuana is sound policy.

Might legalized marijuana entice more young Americans into become regular or heavy users of the drug? Is there a balance to strike when it comes to recreational marijuana legalization? How will teenagers be affected?

Guests:

Mason Tvert, Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project, a marijuana policy reform group advocating non-punitive marijuana laws 

Kevin Sabet, Ph.D, co-founder and director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-marijuana legalization group with a health-first approach