Friday, May 4, 2012

Politifact validates Gary Johnson's claims on student drug use

I always tell my students that there is a simple methodology to determine if a politician is distorting history or statistics in support of his agenda.

Watch to see if his lips are moving.

It's therefore important to know when politicians are actually telling the truth, and Politifact validates former New Mexico Governor (and presumptive Libertarian Party presidential nominee) Gary Johnson:
Gary Johnson intends to make
marijuan legalization a corner-
stone of his presidential bid.

"Fifty percent of the graduating class of the year 2012 will have smoked marijuana or have done illegal drugs."
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson during a Feb. 25th, 2012 candidate forum.

We wondered if Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson was blowing smoke when he made a claim about teenage marijuana use during a candidate forum in Georgia.
"Fifty percent of the [high school] graduating class of the year 2012 will have smoked marijuana or have done some illegal drugs," said Johnson, a former two-term governor of New Mexico.
For the record, Johnson doesn’t believe teenagers should have access to marijuana. Johnson does believe marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and thinks the money the federal government spends on marijuana enforcement could be better spent "against the individuals committing real crimes against society."
According to 2009 data from the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 46 percent of 12th-graders had smoked marijuana at least once. Nearly 8 percent had used cocaine; 2.5 percent had tried heroin; about 4 percent used methamphetamines; 8 percent had tried Ecstacy; slightly more than 3 percent had used steroids.
Data from the federal National Institutes of Health found that in 2011, 50 percent of high school seniors reported having tried an illicit drug at some time.
We couldn't find data about the percentage of high school seniors graduating this year who've smoked marijuana or have done any kind of illicit drug, but the data line up with Johnson's claim. Johnson's statement rates a Mostly True.


delacrat said...

"You can grow 'em in your squad car..."

maryiscontrary said...

I've always found the War on Drugs a national exercise in futility. I may be a one-issue voter but I find it horribly wrong that the enjoyment of a natural herb is illegal when prescription drugs and alcohol are legal and do more harm. I agree with Johnson that teenagers should not have access to marijuana. The money spent on current drug laws could be better spent on education. I think Gov. Johnson made a great choice in his selection of Judge Jim Gray to run for VP. Judge Gray is is probably the country's foremost expert on the abject failure of the War on Drugs. He's a credible running mate and will give Johnson's campaign a boost.