It’s hard enough to teach our kids to avoid drugs when even popular celebrities and members of Congress, not to mention the cannabis industry, are trying to normalize its use.
Comedian Bill Maher, for instance, has been campaigning for years to have marijuana legalized, and even brags on his show about using it regularly.
Now three senators have introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), which would remove marijuana from the drug scheduling system, completely legalizing the cultivation, production, distribution, and sale of marijuana.
Despite the assertions by what one expert calls “Cannabis Culture,” marijuana is a psychoactive substance that can have unforeseen results on users.
“Cannabis use is not as benign and safe as some might think,” one study author Nicholas Vozoris, told CNN.“It is especially risky for adolescents and adults with significant mental illness, addictive disease, or who are pregnant,” Timmen L. Cermak, MD, a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction medicine, told Psychology Today.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, “Unlike adults, the teen brain is actively developing and often will not be fully developed until the mid-20s. Marijuana use during this period may harm the developing teen brain.”
Even if adults can use marijuana responsibly—and that hasn’t been proven—just having marijuana within easy reach has been shown to increase its use among young people.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), for example, reported on one study showing that eighth-grade students from schools located within five miles of a medical marijuana dispensary were more likely to have recently used marijuana compared with those from schools located farther from dispensaries.
Another study found that after Colorado legalized marijuana for adults in 2013, marijuana use in those ages 12 and up soared from 26 percent to 61 percent higher than the national average.
Take action now
Even though few observers expect the bill to pass in this round, it’s important that we as a community take a stand against the increasing acceptance of this harmful drug.
So be sure to make your voices heard by contacting your senators as soon as possible to voice your opposition.
You can read the proposed bill here (https://www.democrats.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/caoa_final_introduction.pdf) and contact your senators here (https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm?Class=1).
You can also send a message to Congress through the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) (https://www.cadca.org/advocate-now?vvsrc=%2fCampaigns%2f96570%2fRespond), which is coordinating responses on this important issue. CADCA also provides a sample message you can use.