Tag Archives: youth marijuana use

Colorado Rethinks Marijuana Legalization

colorado-marijuanaNew reports out of Colorado indicate that legal marijuana  is posing real risks to the safety of young people. As Colorado rethinks marijuana, the rest of the nation should watch carefully this failing experiment.

Healthcare officials representing three hospitals in Pueblo, Colorado, issued a statement on April 27 in support of a ballot measure that would end Marijuana commercialization in the city and county of Pueblo. “We continue to see firsthand the increased patient harm caused by retail marijuana, and we want the Pueblo community to understand that the commercialization of marijuana is a significant public health and safety issue,” said Mike Baxter, president and CEO of Parkview Medical Center.

Among their concerns are  a 51 percent increase in number of children under 18 being treated in Parkview Medical Center emergency rooms.  Furthermore, of newborn babies at St. Mary-Corwin Hospital, drug tested due to suspected prenatal exposure, nearly half tested positive for marijuana.

In more bad news for the pot promoters, the Denver school system has produced a video to show how marijuana tax revenues are not providing education dollars. This is a common rationale used by the industry to garner support for legal weed.

Earlier this month, the Denver Post published an opinion piece by a Colorado activist which raises the issue of the high potency levels of pot, and the widespread use of marijuana by teenagers in the state.  Marijuana above 15% potency is considered a hard drug in the Netherlands, yet Colorado’s pot is 17% and beyond. Describing the risk of marijuana to the developing brains of young people, the writer then goes into the troubling statistics:

“… especially of concern given than 36.9 percent of Colorado high school students say they have tried marijuana, according to the 2013 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey. One out of five students reported using it in the past 30 days.

In Denver, where there’s been the most marijuana commercialization, teen use over the previous month was disturbingly much higher, at 26.6 percent, with almost half of students saying they have tried marijuana.”

A bill to ban marijuana edibles which appeal to young children, such as gummy bears, is now being considered in the Colorado state legislature. It just passed the House with an overwhelming majority and is heading to the senate.

Smart Colorado, a citizen action group concerned about marijuana’s impact on youth, health and safety says that 165 cities and counties have banned marijuana sales, and yet 61% of high school seniors have already tried marijuana.

It is time to end the unwise Colorado experiment which is endangering the lives and futures of the most vulnerable.

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Marijuana Vs. Alcohol

The marijuana lobbyists want to “mainstream” marijuana and call for its regulation to be like alcohol.  Let’s make it equal to alcohol, they say.   Why are they asking for addiction equality?

When they compare its illegal status to alcohol, they don’t mention that Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935, the year after a 13-year Prohibition era ended.  When the marijuana community decries the nationwide prohibition of marijuana in 1937, they forget to mention that it happened much earlier, state-by-state, 1911 in MA, 1913 in CA, 1914 in NY, etc.

These same marijuana lobbyists keep suggesting that people who drink too much booze or take pain pills should switch to marijuana.   As much as addiction is hard to overcome, the suggestion of substituting one addiction or bad habit for another can just get you back to square one.

Why are we making a second vice, pot, totally legit for those 21 and over while keeping it illegal for those under 21? The minimum age for alcohol purchase is 21, yet the US already has a problem with underage drinking. Why duplicate this problem with marijuana?

The only obvious reason is that there is a business and a marijuana industry that wants to make profits.  Like with alcohol and tobacco, 80% of those profits will come from those who are addicted or over-indulgent.  The growing industry wants and needs to get young users to keep a steady stream of buyers; the younger they start, the greater likelihood of getting hooked.

An experiment with lowering the beer and wine age to 18 in much of the US in the 1970s did not work.  The national law needed to be changed back to age 21.  Elsewhere teens do not go to the extremes that are common to American culture.  We simply are not a modest or temperate culture, like the Netherlands.

The sales pitch of the marijuana lobby:

“Wouldn’t you rather have your teenage son driving stoned, rather than drunk?”  Both practices are very dangerous, and even more dangerous when stoned and drunk at the same time.

“I support legalization so marijuana can be on equal footing with alcohol.”   Pot users don’t have addiction equality yet, but statistics and studies show that 9% of marijuana users will be come addicted (approximately same rate as drinkers) and that rate jumps to 17% if they begin before age 17.

“No one has ever died from marijuana.”  The advocates claimed in the campaign for legalization in Colorado and Washington.  There have since been 2 deaths in Colorado this year directly attributed edible marijuana and many child-abuse deaths caused by the parents’ usage of marijuana.

Simplistic soundbites don’t tell the whole story.   Marijuana is not safer than alcohol, but it is used less frequently by Americans than pot.   Leah Allen’s account of growing up with a marijuana-addicted father is similar to what it would be like having a chronic alcoholic dad: negligent, irresponsible, violent to the mom and prone to anger when he could not have it.

Pot users could be 7% of adult Americans, vs. at about 66% who drink.  They’re asking us to change a law for the 7%, and Parents Opposed to Pot disagrees.  More people die from alcohol because it is and has been a larger part in society.

We’re better at recognizing who might be  susceptible to alcoholism.  We have little idea who is most at risk for mental illness and other negative effects from marijuana.   Certain teens haven’t thought about it, either.  Tobacco cannot affect brain function, memory and mental health the same way marijuana can.

The risk for mental illness caused by marijuana alone is too great not to be noticed.

 

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