This concern is unwarrented. The Netherlands, with their coffee shops and defacto legalization of marijuana use, has a lower usage rate of cannabis than either Canada or the United States.
Decriminalization might seem to cause a temporary spike as cannabis consumers feel more comfortable with making their use known. A small percentage of the public might be emboldened to try marijuana if the penalties were relaxed, but not everyone enjoys the effects of marijuana, so many of these people will be one time experimenters.
After 70 years of effort and huge amounts of taxpayer money spent on the failed policy of prohibition we have still seen no progress of their stated goal -- to curb the use of marijuana.
As is the same with other countries around the world, cannabis use has slowly been increasing and more people learn they have been lied to about the dangers from cannabis by government and police union reps.
Cannabis is a popular drug, and for good reason. Thirteen percent of Canadians have tried cannabis. To think use would go up if cannabis laws are relaxed is irrational. The laws against cannabis are already ignored.
Newsflash: People who want to use cannabis are already doing so.
[ *more info: Cannabis use statistics in Canada ]
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