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Thursday, October 06, 2022

Canadians blazed their way to No. 1 in a list of countries ranked by marijuana usage among 11-, 13- and 15-year-olds, reports a UNICEF study. The U.S. ranked fifth on the list, with only 22 percent of adolescents saying they’ve used marijuana.

Brandon Harvey, president of NORML Gators and a 19-year-old UF neuroscience freshman, attributed the gap between Canadian and American numbers to cultural differences.

“If you’re answering a question where your answer is, ‘Yes, I’ve done something that at this moment society thinks isn’t right,’ then some people may be a little bit less inclined to answer truthfully,” he said.

Of the western world, 28 percent of Canadian children who were surveyed reported they have used marijuana within the last year. Next came Switzerland and Spain with about 24 percent and France with about 22 percent.

Canadian police have a more liberal view on cannabis prosecution than American police do, which may add to the number gap, Harvey said.

However, students like Keegan Gay, a 26-year-old UF agricultural education Ph.D. student, say the issue should not be the cultural divide, but the ages of the people consuming the drug.

“I do find it a problem that 22 percent of American kids are smoking marijuana in the first place,” he said. “If it were 22 percent of people over the age of 18, it would be like, ‘whatever.’”

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