With the push to legalize, pediatric pot poisonings surge

Pot poisonings are increasing the caseload of emergency rooms, all over the country

Over the last decade, there has been a national push to legalize marijuana. Pop stars, athletes, actors, and politicians have created a culture celebrating Pot as a wonderfully benign narcotic. So far, twenty-one states and Washington, D.C., have legalized weed, with several others laying the groundwork to do so. However, as more data becomes readily available from studying the impact of legalization, it is becoming clear that making weed legal has had one devastating effect – endangering the lives of children.  

Our last article revealed over 300 child abuse and neglect deaths associated with cannabis. 

Recent studies have revealed a correlation between the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults with a significant increase in “pediatric cannabis poisonings.”  For example, data from Massachusetts, Colorado, and Washington. The National Library of Medicine published research that shows that marijuana legalization in these states has led to an increase in “cannabis-related calls to poison control centers and emergency department visits for cannabis poisonings in children.” Such poisonings have resulted in young children experiencing seizures, respiratory depression, and a decreased level of consciousness, among others.  

It’s a nationwide problem

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a study in January 2023 that was even more concerning than a 2016 study. From 2017 to 2021, there were 7043 known pediatric exposures to marijuana products in the country. This included an increase of 1375% over the four years, going from 207 reported cases in 2017 to an astounding 3054 in 2021. Even more disturbing was that nearly 98% of these incidents occurred in “residential settings,” according to the study. And, out of all these incidents, seventy percent involved “central nervous system depression.”

Prominent newspapers assist the pot industry, by publishing articles encouraging its use.  Even the Washington Post came out with several articles suggesting parents treat stress with cannabis. Children’s lives are at risk because of the Pro-Marijuana lobby. Simply put, the push for adults to enjoy marijuana has endangered children and left them vulnerable to the vices of parental irresponsibility. 

People who vote for legalization don’t figure in the extra cost of emergency medical treatments when they’re voting.  Big Pot reaps the financial benefits of adults getting stoned while innocent kids get rushed to hospitals because of accidental poisonings – incidents that could have been prevented if weed was not a legal option.

These are all the more reasons to reconsider legalizing marijuana. Numerous studies have confirmed these dangers. Will Big Pot prioritize principle over profit and finally do what is necessary to prevent harm to children? Or will it be business as usual for the pro-weed lobby and, unfortunately, pediatric emergency rooms?

Pot states like California, Colorado, Washington lead the way

In California, a rash of weed poisonings took place in schools recently.   On December 1, ten students overdosed on cannabis edibles at Van Nuys Middle School in the San Fernando Valley.   On December 7, three middle school students went to the hospital in Riverside County, after ingesting cannabis.   Then on March 23, eight students from Sun Valley Magnet School who ate  marijuana gummies ended up in the hospital.   Do the parents give the children marijuana, do the kids find the parents’ stash, or do the drug dealers get involved?  We may never know.

Washington, another early legalization state, had 82 pot poisonings for children under 5 in 2016.   Consequently, the state regulatory board tried to ban edibles, but faced a pushback from the industry.   Both Colorado and Washington encourage lock boxes for parents, but there’s no evidence pot-using parents can be “responsible” and lock up their weed.

Consider a 2016 study, “Unintentional Pediatric Exposures to Marijuana in Colorado, 2009-2015,” which analyzed children admitted to Colorado hospitals because of cannabis poisonings. The average rate of “marijuana-related visits to the children’s hospital” nearly doubled from two years before legalization to two years after, going from 1.2 per 100,000 population to 2.3 per 100,000. Additionally, annual regional poison center pediatric marijuana cases more than quintupled during this period, from 9 in 2009 to 47 in 2015.