Legalizing Marijuana Creates Challenges for Youth

Schools, Educators Have New Problems

Legalization legitimizes pot for adults, which of course makes the children believe there are no negative consequences.

The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Traffic (HIDTA) report provided statistical information.  The report also had some anecdotal reports from the schools.  In August, 2015, high school guidance counselors answered survey questions about by how marijuana legalization in Colorado affected the schools.  According to the survey 51% of the respondents said that the most prominent marijuana violation is “students being under the influence of marijuana during school hours.”

Among the anecdotal incidents reported in elementary, middle and high schools, were:

• “I have 6th graders that smoke marijuana before school. They steal it from their parents or older siblings.”

• “One junior boy, while in class and trying to pick up girls offered to share marijuana edibles (Rice Krispy treats infused with fruity pebbles) to three girls in his class while asking for their phone numbers.”

• “During the spring I made contact with a student under the influence of marijuana with friend in an alley. After taking them back to my office to write citations, a female who was 18 years old had a marijuana card. She related that her parents took her to get it on her birthday. I advised her she had be 21 regardless of her card.”

• “Had two marijuana overdoses requiring ambulance transport to ER. Both incidences were 14-year-old females.”

• “A 15-year-old” with red card obtaining marijuana from friends in tobacco form. Attempted to give it to other females if they would smoke with him. Same student was caught with pipes on month before. The student attempted to fight with staff to keep them from searching him.”

• “17-year-old male refused to hang up cell phone during class. Student caused disruption in class attempted to physically stop principal from taking his backpack. Subsequent search found marijuana in his backpack. He later assaulted his father and was taken into custody.”

• “In April 2015, five middle school students observed on the playground passing around what appeared to be a marijuana joint. When contacted, each admitted to consuming marijuana on campus. When asked where the marijuana was obtained, one of the students admitted taking it from his father.”

• Vapor Pens: “Students smoking marijuana in class out of vapor pens. 8-year-old found in possession of vapor pens and tested positive for marijuana.  In another article by the Hudson Institute,
David Murray and John Walters cited a another set of school incidents. 

Also troubling is the fact that suicides have risen in Colorado since 2009. Marijuana was the common substance found in the body of those ages 10-19 who committed suicide. Sixteen percent had marijuana, versus 11 percent had alcohol. As the study from New Zealand reported, teens who use marijuana are 7x more likely to commit suicide than those who never use.

Clearly marijuana is getting in the hands of young people.  More children and teens will use if they see older children and their parents using.The marijuana lobby was wrong:  Legalization is not regulation that keeps it out of the hands of children.  Young people are the biggest victims of Colorado’s experimentation with marijuana legalization.