My husband and I have four sons. Our oldest, Trevor is 16. It gives me a great deal of pleasure and emotion to be able to write this letter, because he has overcome so much in the last six months. Since Trevor was 12 or 13, we had emotional difficulties with him and trouble in school. He started experimenting with cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana with his friends, which was a shock. Trevor hadn’t been exposed to any substance at home, since we don’t even drink, let alone consume drugs or smoke anything. Right about the same time, the discussion about legalization was hot, and Oregon voted to legalize marijuana in 2014.
We knew something was off with Trevor, but at first we didn’t know if it was just typical adolescent troubles, a phase, or what. When we discovered he had been exposed to marijuana, and was using it, parenting became such a challenge. The availability of substances became rampant in the wake of legalization, and yes it was affecting our oldest son.
The Slippery Slope
Trevor moved beyond marijuana and got involved in so much more:
Dealing/trading other drugs, pills and alcohol
Stealing from friends and family
Driving without a license or even a permit
Skipping school, lying and promiscuity
How we finally got help
The effects of drugs on the teen brain are horrific. Many adults don’t even know, and many kids have no idea what they are doing to their brains when they’re doing pot. One must live through it in their own home, with their own child, to understand the dynamic and heartache this behavior brings. In our situation, the county juvenile services became imperative. We were forced to turn our own son over to authorities. Without the police and the county services, Trevor would not have progressed so far in the right direction.
Trevor has a support system in place: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and therapists. Counseling was pivotal for him. With time and much effort on everyone’s part – particularly, Trevor’s efforts, he appears as of now to be on the mend. We’re also thankful for cognitive therapy and accountability. It is vital that we somehow teach our kids the importance of their daily decisions and how it can impact the rest of their life. Our culture and media influence in many cases does not help. Our kids are being exposed to images and ideas promoting substance use.
As a mother, I’m aware that at any point this could turn and he could be headed down a dark path once again. Trevor’s probation is over I pray he has learned some valuable lessons. I’m on a community coalition board for a non-profit educator and our city. I’m determined to make a difference and would like to be able to help other families as they face similar challenges in the wake of drug legalization and normalization. Our communities are up against so much in terms of our youth. Legalizing pot is a mistake!
Defenders of marijuana such as Governor John Hickenlooper say youth use of pot did not go up after legalization. When surveys don’t track the state’s largest schools, the information gets distorted. Many counties in the eastern plains and western slopes do not allow marijuana shops. Interviews with teachers and administrators in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and the central part of the state tell another story.
We believe the evidence of teachers, counselors, parents and school administrators reveal more than any survey of students. Please listen to this video:
Social Justice is a pretext, the handy catch phrase to get people to support the legalization of pot. The idea doesn’t come from disadvantaged minorities. “Marijuana legalization is the worst way forward to reforming drug policy for the minority community,” claims Will Jones, founder of Two is Enough D.C.
Jones, whose family has always been involved in the Civil Rights movement, is enraged by the social justice message. “If you aren’t a minority, maybe legalization does look ok because you’re not going to have the deluge of (pot) stores in your community,” Liquor shops are on every block in his neighborhood. Jones admonishes the marijuana industry for “cherry picking criminal justice issues to conveniently pick a statistic that helps them.” Of the places that voted to legalize pot, only Washington DC has managed to stay free of commercial pot stores.
It was easy to cut through the illusion by watching Ethan Nadelmann at the Democratic National Convention last summer. Nadelmann, director of Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), was bragging to his supporters about how profitable the marijuana industry is. At the end of the video, when the cameras was on him, he added “and don’t forget social justice.” It was an afterthought. He must have been joking.
Where’s the Real Social Justice in a Mind-Destroying Drug?
We question the sincerity of those who promote “social justice” as a reason to legalize marijuana. What is the “social justice” in promoting a substance that lowers your IQ, weakens memory and directly contributes to the mental illness as a causal factor? Even without drug testing, using pot makes some people lazy and less likely to get a job or hold onto it.
Those who believe in social justice, should look into policies to reduce drug-related crimes and its ugly bedfellow, drug addiction. Even if the “war on drugs didn’t work,” it’s false to claim legalization and incarceration are the only options. Those trying to legalize marijuana intentionally scramble the messages so the public confuses decriminalization with legalization.
Since legalization, the number of actual marijuana users has increased to 13% of people ages 12 and older. Thirty percent of those users, or 6 million people have Cannabis Use Disorder. The business model of increasing addiction and making money off of those who are addicted is working.
Investors and politicians claim that legalization can end the black market. Evidence from Colorado and Washington shows that cartels are emboldened by legalization and the black market still thrives.
Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) promotes a falsehood that marijuana is safer than alcohol, another delusion. Instead of encouraging less drug use, MPP, DPA, NORML and the ACLU manipulate opinion. Financial opportunists connected to these lobbies pretend pot is harmless and that arrest discrepancies will be solved by legalization. This marijuana industry and drug promotion organizations are devious, not compassionate.