Tag Archives: Education

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.” Continue reading Legalizing Marijuana Creates Challenges for Youth

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The Pot Piper Leads, Children, Teens Follow

“I’ve seen far more examples of propaganda and unfair marketing practices than I have of reasoned arguments. Worst of all, this kind of marketing targets kids, teenagers, and college students. If we want to make progress in substance use issues, we will need facts and reason, not ploys to grab the attention of our nation’s youth.”  Wharton School of Business student research analyst Theodore Caputi,  recently wrote in an article,  Is Pro-Marijuana Pro-Propaganda?  He’d like to hear more true debate without hype.

Social Media Uses Kids, Teens, Young Adults

How did the push for marijuana legalization come about so rapidly?  The answer lies in a social media campaign by a rich  pro-marijuana lobby aimed at changing opinion.  The Pied Piper has become the Pot Piper.  Young people use social media much more than middle-aged adults and senior citizens.  The largest pro-marijuana Twitter site sends out  an average of 11 pro-marijuana messages per day, according to a study by Washington University psychiatry professor, Patricia Cavazo-Rehg.  Cavazo-Rehg also found that the tweeters targeted Black and Hispanic youth disproportionately, much more frequently than Caucasians.

While Twitter and Facebook have been growing so much over the last decade, the federal government’s funding for substance abuse education and prevention programs has been reduced by 48% during the same time period.  It doesn’t help that a national merchant, Urban Outfitters, has continuously made clothing to glorify marijuana, pill abuse, drinking and now depression.

Surveys of teens indicate they would use more frequently, if marijuana is legalized.  Marijuana lobbyists say they do not advocate for  usage under age 21.  There’s never been a marijuana legalization initiative that would allow users under age 21.  Yet, while NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project “officially” declare it’s not for children, they’ve targeted the youth who wouldn’t be allowed usage under their laws.

Studies show that children and teens have gained the false perception that pot is harmless; this change of perception began in 2005 and grew stronger after 2009,  corresponding to the growth in social media  over that time.

 As the perceived risk in marijuana goes down, teen usage goes up, according to recently-published findings from 2013.  Only Adderall, an ADHD medication, is also trending upward, and it’s being used by those without a prescription.  Cigarette smoking is going down, as is adult smoking, and alcohol use is declining among teens.

Souce: National Institute of Drug Addiction and Abuse, released Dec. 2013
Souce: National Institute of Drug Abuse, released Dec. 2013

Marijuana usage by children and teens has steadily grown along with the push to legalize marijuana and/or expand medical marijuana into more states.  College students use more than ever, probably reflecting this trend, also.

According to the 2013 Monitoring the Future Survey findings, five-year trends show a significant increase in current marijuana use among 8th, 10th and 12th graders.  For example, from 2008 to 2013, reported past-month use increased from 5.8% to 7.0% among 8th graders, from 13.8% to 18.0% among 10th graders, and from 19.4 % to 22.7% among 12th graders surveyed.  Alarmingly, the survey noted that this trend coincides with a decrease in the perceived risk of harm of marijuana use among the same group of students. The annual Monitoring the Future study surveys 6th, 8th 10th and 12th grade students for daily marijuana use, past month use and lifetime use.PiedPiper(13)

Of the top 23 states for teen marijuana usage, 21 of them were in states that had legalized medical marijuana.

How ironic legalization advocates would use ideas like building schools or funding early childhood education by legalizing and taxing a bad habit and dangerous substance like marijuana.   As Washington and Colorado are learning, their states suddenly need to spend money to offset a new problem set of problems.  Taxpayers have to pay for the unnecessary hash oil explosions that have gotten out of hand this year.

Colorado found it necessary to fund public service announcements to warn against stoned driving and against marijuana usage by those under age 21.  The state has decided to spend $2 million on the “Don’t be a Lab Rat” campaign.

Create a Problem to Solve a Problem

Legalizing marijuana to collect taxes and fund drug prevention is the way to create a problem — or make a problem worse — in order to solve the problem. Taxes collected from Washington’s legalization program are supposed to go fund drug prevention programs.   Already taxes in Colorado run far behind what was expected.

States that have had recent problems with pill addiction, cocaine and  heroin, had greater percentages of marijuana usage in youth, in 2010-2011.  They tend to have higher alcohol usage, too.  When asked,  Barbara Cimiglio, deputy commissioner for substance abuse in Vermont’s health department linked the heroin epidemic in Vermont to higher youth usage of marijuana.   “I think what drives this up tends to be the higher use of marijuana, and if you look at the states [with high illicit drug use], they tend to be the states that have decriminalized or have more favorable attitudes toward use of marijuana,” she said.

Marijuana use in the young often creates a-motivational syndrome and apathy, in addition to and apart from the affects of addiction.  It becomes more challenging for many students to keep their educational options open, get jobs and achieve their goals.

There is a connection to regular marijuana usage, gaps in college education and dropping out of high school, which often hinders future success.  “Chronic/heavy marijuana users are twice as likely to experience gaps in college enrollment as minimal users, ” according to  Dr. Robert DuPont, Director of the Institute for Behavior and Health,  in Rockville, MD.

Researchers at Northwestern University recently published their studies indicating the changes on specific parts of the brain, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has written about some of those findings.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry  warns about  marijuana and young minds:  “Marijuana’s deleterious effects on adolescent brain development, cognition, and social functioning may have immediate and long-term implications, including increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, sexual victimization, academic failure, lasting decline in intelligence measures, psychopathology, addiction, and psychosocial and occupational impairment.”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell should speak out against the growing usage of marijuana at younger ages. The current spike in middle school and high school students using marijuana means that the time is now!

 

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Marijuana Puts Education, Kids Futures at Risk

Heather Mizeur naively campaigned for the governorship of Maryland by supporting universal pre-Kindergarten and paying for it by legalizing marijuana.  Her support came from NORML and the marijuana industry.

What good does earlier education do for child welfare when you introduce a whole set of new problems?

Look at what is going on in Colorado and Washington, and the unusual types of child endangerment that have gone on with legalization.   Many very young children have gotten into marijuana edibles which look like cookies and candy.

“Encouraging marijuana commercialism and consumption to fund and support education are two inconsistent goals,” explained Diane Carlson, a co-founder of Bravetracks, a non-profit devoted to encouraging youth activity, employment and engagement in Colorado.  “Even before Coloradans voted in 2012 to legalize marijuana, Denver, where marijuana was first commercialized, had some of the highest youth use rates in the nation,” she said.

“The THC content of marijuana is extremely potent with levels reaching 20% and above in Colorado, due to competition in the industry.  Highly potent pot has become incredibly commercialized here and yet our kids have been told it’s benign. Increased access and use is a huge issue for Colorado teens who have no idea how such highly potent products can impact their health and their futures,” according to Carlson.

Since legalization, the pot problem only seems to be getting worse. “Disturbingly, Colorado kids will suck on lollipops, chew on gummy bears, or munch on granola bars without anyone knowing highly potent marijuana is being consumed. They have ‘vaped’ on pens, asthma inhalers or highlighters loaded with a concentrated form of THC that can go undetected in class.”

One high-school teacher in Denver, who wishes to remain anonymous, exclaimed, “Our job is so difficult and there are so many challenges to educating kids well in the best circumstances.  She added, “So why did the state add this other layer of challenge to our jobs and make it harder for our students to achieve success?”

Marijuana Money

“Where Commerce Meets Revolution” is how the Marijuana Policy Project (MMP) describes the Cannabis Business Summit held yesterday and today in Denver.  This title leaves no doubt that the MMP and other pot advocacy groups are about the money.

Amendment 64 passed in Colorado despite warnings of the teachers’ union and a persuasive letter from teacher Christina Blair to the Huffington Post.  It is probably because big money paid for the win in Colorado, with most of that money coming from the industry’s out-of-state lobbying groups.

One year later, by December 2013,  school administrators and law enforcement noticed the changes that came into the schools.  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has warned the governors of other states not to follow Colorado’s example.

Revolutionary ideas grab attention, but Heather Mizeur didn’t win her primary.  She only promoted an idea which was heard all over the nation’s capital region.

Most likely the children who heard Mizeur’s TV commercials about marijuana will end up believing marijuana is completely harmless and could indeed be tied to education.

The pot industry regularly promotes it as a way to fund education.   It is an ironic that they would suggest a solution that only makes a problem worse.

Beware that many local candidates and representatives in Congress are taking money from the marijuana industry.   We need to watch out for the fallout from this “green rush.”  It could be worse than the mess left by the mortgage industry.

Marijuana and Teens

With the push to legalize and expansion of medical marijuana, children and teens have gained an erroneous perception that pot is harmless, studies show.  Surveys of teens indicate use would definitely go up, if marijuana is legalized.

According to David G. Evans, executive director of the Drug Free Schools Coalition,  “Studies indicate that usage will increase to levels near between those of tobacco and alcohol users.”   The annual survey show that all teen marijuana use, and daily marijuana use, have consistently gone up over the last five years.  As a nation and for our individual children, we need to be concerned.

There is a connection to regular marijuana usage, gaps in college education and dropping out of high school, which often hinders future success.  “Chronic/heavy marijuana users are twice as likely to experience gaps in college enrollment as minimal users, ” according to  Dr. Robert DuPont, Director of the Institute for Behavior and Health,  in Rockville, MD.

Marijuana use in the young often creates a-motivational syndrome and apathy, in addition to and apart from the affects of addiction.  It is not a way of saying “yes to life, yes to love, yes to opportunity and yes to education,” as recommended by the Pope Francis in a recent address at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome.

Dr. DuPont and Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, wrote an article to suggest that changing policy necessitates a large, multi-year study using technology that has developed over the past 2 decades.  The study would aim to understand more about the effects of marijuana on the adolescent brain.  Researchers at Northwestern University recently published their studies indicating the changes on specific parts of the brain, and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has written about some of those findings.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry gives  a warning about  marijuana and young minds:  “Marijuana’s deleterious effects on adolescent brain development, cognition, and social functioning may have immediate and long-term implications, including increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, sexual victimization, academic failure, lasting decline in intelligence measures, psychopathology, addiction, and psychosocial and occupational impairment.”

 

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