Letter: Educating kids about pot
October 22, 2013
The passage of Amendment 64, and the rules and regulations that have followed, is a progressive step toward restricting the access of marijuana to adults 21 and older.
It reinforces the concept of moderation and helps parents and educators explain to children that adults can consume marijuana responsibly the same way they can consume alcohol responsibly while at the same time discouraging adolescent use.
Emerging research continues to provide evidence that marijuana usage among teenagers has not increased in states with regulated marijuana-distribution programs, including Colorado. Some states even have experienced a decrease in pot use among their youth population. Study after study has shown that the most effective way to reduce youth access to and consumption of adult-only substances is through government regulation, honest public education on the risks of abuse and a strong message of moderation for adult users.
Colorado's newly implemented regulations will be dually beneficial in keeping kids away from pot. Not only will they restrict youth access, but a portion of the revenue derived from the legal sale of marijuana to adults will go to supporting educational institutions. This, in turn, will provide school systems the proper tools necessary to help children understand the potential physiological effects of marijuana use on their growing bodies, how to reduce any auxiliary harms and how to distinguish between use and abuse.
Concentrating on harm-reduction education and putting a concerted effort into public campaigns to discourage teen use are, without a doubt, one of the most sensible answers to achieving this goal.
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