New recreational marijuana legalization measures in Washington and Colorado both set the age limit at 21 years old. The voting age is 18 and some of the voters who said yes to I-502 and Amendment 64 were younger than 21, but they are left out in the cold, for now.

420times_000003343241XSmallAnd while it does seem unfair that those 18 to 21 can vote and die in a war but cannot legally posses marijuana, 21 is the age limit that will come with marijuana legalization in every state, with few exceptions, if any.

The same arguments are used when it comes to alcohol, and although marijuana is much safer than alcohol, the age limit of 21 is much more practical and will result in more votes from those over 21. And that is why most, if not all, of the big marijuana law reform organizations support an age limit of 21.

“[MPP]will not be working to lower the age limit in Colorado or any other state that passes similar legislation including a 21 age limit,” said Mason Tvert, one of the main backers of Amendment 64 and now the spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Allen St. Pierre of NORML said that a lower age limit is not a concern for his group. “NORML’s board of directors supports legal access to cannabis to be similar to that of alcohol,” he said. “If society deems 18 years old the age of ‘consent,’ fine. If society wants to stick with 21 years of age, fine with us too.”

Even though marijuana is much safer than alcohol, advocates must deal with the stigma that still surrounds much of the cannabis culture. 75 years of propaganda is a tough thing to overcome and the path of least resistance dictates that legalization come with an age limit of 21 instead of 18.

It is unfair, but so are many things in life and they must all be dealt with as they come.

Joe Klare

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About The Author

Joe Klare has been writing about marijuana issues for the past 5 years online, in print and on air.

  • BobKat

    The fact of the matter is is that we want to discourage drug use – including alcohol and tobacco to those under 18. The message is quite clear – the brain of those under 18 is developing, and any drug not prescribed by their MD is considered harmful and dangerous. I agree with the reasoning. Where I disagree is when a person reaches age 18. They can enlist in the military, risking their lives for our country. They can strip naked in front of cameras, and have sex. They can purchase tobacco products. They can vote. They legally are of age to be free from their parents regulations, and essentially government regulations that apply to those under 18. It seems logical and very reasonable, even wise to let those 18 and older to use cannabis. It is safer than alcohol, and tobacco too. It is logical as while an 18 year old decides their future, whether as a military person, scientist, musician, college student, stripper, or tobacco user, they should have the option to imbibe in the least dangerous psychotropic commodity next to alcohol. That would be cannabis. The hope being, by the time they are of legal age to drink, they have possibly “experimented” with a psychotropic like cannabis – which many do anyways, and can better decide whether alcohol is for them. I realize the alcohol industry may not like this idea, but the tobacco industry can share some of their death money with the alcohol industry to appease it.Heck, those 18 or over may choose to not use tobacco… I know now at 58 if I’d had a choice between tobacco and cannabis I’d never have continued using tobacco – I’d have chosen cannabis instead. Or nothing. It’s a question of how to we give new adults choices in life – and what choices legal by law? The only reason cannabis is considered a 21 year old thing is because of alcohol laws. The reality is, cannabis is not alcohol. And should not be regulated exactly the same as alcohol. States, and especially the federal government are not thinking rationally or realistically. Many current “drug laws” do not have science, common-sense or civil-rights as a basic consideration in their enactment. This not only sends a confusing message, it undermines the whole concept and rationality behind laws. Our goal as a nation is to prevent use of drugs for those under 18. That is enshrined in the fact we permit tobacco use for those 18 and older. You’re an adult when you’re 18. Let’s recognize that fact, and have laws that realistically accept that and make sense.