How might legalizing recreational marijuana affect our youth?
Here are the facts you need to know.
26: The number of cities, out of 31, that have voted to ban recreational sales of marijuana after previously voting for it.
29%: The increase in marijuana-related ER visits, along with a 38% increase in hospitalizations in Colorado.
900: The number of marijuana dispensaries in Colorado, more than the number of Starbucks and McDonald’s combined.
Marijuana Use Affects a Teen’s Education
Memory. Attention. Motivation. Learning. Studies have shown that marijuana use interferes in all of these areas. Students who use marijuana regularly tend to get lower grades, and are more likely to drop out of high school than those who do not use.
There’s a Risk in “Normalizing” Drugs
Not only are teens more likely to try drugs when they are easy to access, normalizing drug use also carries its own risk. When drugs such as marijuana are generally tolerated or are considered “not that big of a deal,” a teen might believe there is no risk in using them.
Teen Hospital Admissions Have Increased
Marijuana abuse accounts for 67% of adolescent substance abuse hospital admissions nationwide. Marijuana abuse/dependence is also the No. 1 reason why youth in Colorado are admitted for substance-abuse treatment. (NSDUH, 2010)
School Disciplinary Reports Have Increased
During the 2009-10 academic year, Colorado schools recorded 5,048 total disciplinary reports for drug offenses. That’s a 25.2% increase over the previous school year. In that same period, school expulsions for drug offenses shot up by a 24.6%, and out-of-school suspensions were up 29%. These upward trends in one year’s time come after years of steady decline. The data includes, but is not limited to, marijuana related offenses.
These increases happened in the same year that hundreds of marijuana dispensaries opened in Colorado.
learnaboutsam.org, drugabuse.gov and nsduhweb.rti.org.