Kids and Legalization: Our Kids Deserve Better
The Board of Directors of Youth Connections is committed to the health and safety of our kids by supporting environments where they can thrive. This includes preventing additional access to substances that are dangerous and detrimental to developing brains. Research shows that youth who regularly use marijuana, permanently lose up to eight IQ points. Research also shows that parental use increases youth use. A recent study showed that pregnant mothers increase their risk of having a baby born with autism by 50%! OUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER.
In states where marijuana has been legalized, there’s increased crime, increased homelessness, increased auto fatalities from drugged drivers and increased access by youth. Full commercialization has resulted in products marketed to kids with items like suckers, candy, cookies, and sugary drinks using names like Pot Tarts, Orange Kush soda, and Kif Kat candy bars. After Colorado legalized marijuana, calls to poison control centers more than doubled from children eating their parents’ marijuana edibles because they look like normal treats. Just last month a Michigan pediatric emergency department doctor was calling the increasing rate of accidental marijuana ingestion by toddlers a public health emergency. Of the six toddlers admitted to a children’s hospital, five ended up in ICU. OUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER.
The potency of marijuana has gone from 2-3% THC (the addictive and psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) in the 60s and 70s, to over 25% today because the pot today is genetically modified. Concentrates can have as much as 95% pure THC (Canada is the only place where the percentage of THC is capped). When used in edibles, there is no way to know which gummy bear in the bag has the THC. Some may have all, and other pieces have none. There is no quality control. Teens use vape pens to smoke high-potency marijuana, and teachers or parents cannot tell because there is no odor. The marijuana vape juices come in flavors appealing to youth like tropical and chocolate – and it is not clear by looking at the cartridge if it is nicotine or marijuana. OUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER.
Marijuana is addicting and it is possible to overdose, especially with edibles when the effects may take two hours to feel. Emergency rooms in Colorado saw a 54% increase in visits due to marijuana after legalization. Central Oregon hospitals saw a nearly 2,000% increase in emergency room visits due to marijuana poisoning. Every single day in one emergency room in California, they see an overdose. Marijuana is the number one drug for why youth are in substance use treatment in Colorado. OUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER.
According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry (Journal of American Medical Association) cannabis users are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, and they are 3.5 times more likely to attempt suicide. Colorado toxicology reports show the percentage of adolescent suicide victims testing positive for marijuana has increased. The number of suicides where marijuana was present nearly tripled between 2011 and 2017. OUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER.
Marijuana use affects memory, initiative, and cognition, all reducing school success and graduation.
Considerable evidence suggests that students who smoke marijuana have poorer educational outcomes than their nonsmoking peers. Weekly or more frequent marijuana use by adolescents and young adults is associated with impaired learning, memory, math and reading achievement, even 28 days after last use. In Anchorage, school suspensions for marijuana use and possession increased more than 141% from 2015 (when legalization was implemented) to 2017. OUR KIDS DESERVE BETTER.
We should all be committed to keeping our community safe, so our kids have every opportunity to reach their full potential by staying substance-free. They are our future and they deserve it.
For additional information on the dangers of marijuana visit: youthconnectionscoalition.org/marijuana.
Youth Connections Board of Directors