Illicit Drug Use Up in 2009; Government Blames Marijuana

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Remember when Brad Pitt dated Juliette Lewis? Those were the days.

Despite notable strides in its public image, like bringing (possibly untaxed) revenue to pockets of California like the Emerald Triangle, pot has yet to shake its high school rep as a gateway drug. Now the government is dragging marijuana's name through the mud again. A new national survey shows an 8.7 percent increase in illicit drug use last year, including the use of ecstasy and methamphetamines. The survey also showed that 21.2 percent of young adults experimented with illegal drugs. But rather than blaming a new generation of ravers and tweakers on the need to get the image of the terrifying jobs charts out of one's head, the report says the trend was "also driven in large part by the use of marijuana." Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske worries that the youth of America are getting "mixed messages" from the idea that marijuana is a medicine. Calling it an "entry drug" (rebrand!), Kerlikowske noted that for the first time since 2002, fewer than half of young people believed smoking pot was harmful.

Marijuana to Blame for Increased Drug Use in 2009, Government Report Says [CBS]