Protecting our children and investing in future generations are paramount American values. Many people think that legalizing medical marijuana will encourage children to abuse it. One recent study showed that people who begin heavy marijuana use at age 14 suffer an 8-12 point loss of IQ, which represents similar IQ loss as kids who watch TV instead of reading during these formative years.
While this result is scary, it further demonstrates the necessity for marijuana regulation.
If marijuana were regulated like alcohol, the adult who allowed a child access to marijuana would face severe consequences. 14 year olds are not known for good decision-making skills. That is why the adult who gave that child access to marijuana is what deserves the blame, not the marijuana.
Our current policy of criminalizing marijuana has not decreased teen use, marijuana supply, or potency. In fact, a CDC study below proves that strict regulation decreases teen marijuana use.
Here’s something to think about.
Liquor stores don’t refuse selling alcohol to minors because they don’t want their business. They do it because if they sell alcohol to a minor they face arrest and their store can lose its liquor license, ultimately bankrupting the business.
Strict regulations and requiring licenses allows us to control all facets of the medical marijuana industry including, production (seed to sale), production, consumption and THC levels.
Social Benefits of Regulating Medical Marijuana
A well-regulated medical marijuana program results in many social benefits. By changing the current philosophy from criminalization to education and compassion our society will grow as a whole. The United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world! This includes communist China, socialist Russia and even dictatorship Syria.
The United States arrests and incarcerates nearly 800,000 Americans per year for non-violent cannabis violations. This staggering number costs more than just billions of dollars.
- It takes away children’s parents.
- Costs honest, hard-working Americans their jobs and careers.
- Gives young people criminal records that prevent them from getting college scholarships, and in many cases, the opportunity to attend college.
- These arrests disproportionately affect minority groups.
These are not even the most compelling social benefits for medical marijuana regulation. Get ready for the big one…
A recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study examined teen marijuana use in Colorado. Colorado is one of the 20 states that has a well-regulated medical marijuana program. The study found that between 2009-2011, teen marijuana use in Colorado declined while teen use in the rest of the country increased during the same testing period. The good news didn’t stop there. The CDC study also found:
- Youth marijuana use in Colorado went down 2.8 percent from 2009 (24.8 percent) to 2011 (22 percent).
- Youth marijuana use nationally went up 2.3 percent from 2009 (20.8 percent) to 2011 (23.1 percent).
- In 2011, youth marijuana usage in Colorado fell below the national average — 22 percent in Colorado, 23.1 percent in the U.S.
The study also measured marijuana availability on Colorado school grounds and found:
- Availability of drugs on school grounds in Colorado went down 5 percent from 2009 (22.7 percent) to 2011 (17.2 percent).
- Nationally, illegal drugs offered, sold or given on school property was up 3.1 percent from 2009 (22.7 percent) to 2011 (25.6 percent).
- Availability of illegal drugs on school grounds in Colorado is below the national average by 8.4 percent — 17.2 percent in Colorado, 25.6 percent in the U.S.
“To put it simply, teen marijuana usage has been going down in Colorado since the passage of our comprehensive medical marijuana regulatory model,” says Mike Elliott, executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group. “This is exactly the opposite of what opponents of medical marijuana predicted. Colorado’s teen marijuana usage rate is going down because this regulatory model has taken control away from the black market and given it back to our school districts, local and state governments, and the citizens of Colorado.”
Colorado’s medical marijuana program is so effective that the Federal Government has stated that they will respect Colorado’s sovereignty and allow them to continue this program without Federal interference.
While Colorado’s young medical marijuana program is not perfect, its benefits are very promising.
Halcyon Organics has adopted Colorado’s medical marijuana program as a model to bring to Georgia. Just like the state lottery and The HOPE Scholarship Program, medical marijuana can usher many positive changes into Georgia