The DUH! Files: Teen Pot Usage Up Since Legalization in Colorado

November 13, 2013

The legalization of pot, a social evil, is a wink and a nod from the government directed to youngsters, transmitting the message, “It’s okay. Pot is a LEGAL substance, just don’t get caught until you’re 21.”

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The Denver Post article  by Nancy Lofholm which broke yesterday exposing the “sharp rise” in marijuana abuse among Colorado middle school and high school students focuses its sights right here in my home town; Grand Junction, in Mesa County, Western Colorado.

Jeff Grady, a local School Resource Officer (SRO) is cited in the article:

Jeff Grady, a Grand Junction school resource officer who has spent 25 years working in schools, tells a story about sitting in his car at a park near Grand Junction High School one day watching groups of kids through binoculars because they come to the park to smoke on lunch breaks.

“Kids are smoking before school and during lunch breaks. They come into school reeking of pot,” he said. “They are being much more brazen.”

Grand Junction tends to be a marketplace for illegal drugs because the I 70 corridor bisects the valley where we live. And yes, ILLEGAL marijuana commerce has INCREASED since recreational pot for people over 21 was legalized a year ago. When “medical” marijuana shops popped up like mushrooms in Grand Junction only a few years ago, the problems related to teenage possession and intoxication rose dramatically despite the notion that only adults with a doctor-issued medical card would have access to the medicinal stuff.

Many, including myself, fought hard against Amendment 64, the “Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol” initiative for which Coloradans voted by a strong majority in November 2012. With a background in public education across many settings, I have an understanding of how the law and consequences for breaking the law are regarded by most youngsters. It is a fact that where pot is illegal across the board, there is less abuse by teens because they FEAR the consequences. True, some just don’t care and come from families which model destructive behavior, but they’re in the minority, and in the minds of most kids, whether or not something is ILLEGAL provides a psychological barrier against using it.

We now find ourselves a mere year out from thy Pyrrhic pot victory of 2012. Are we surprised that despite the fact that the City of Grand Junction and Mesa County have banned commercial production of pot and retail shops within their jurisdictions, and the stipulations in the state law that its legal only for those over 21 years of age, that ingestion and possession by youngsters are up? I’m not. I’m an observer of human behavior, and this trend is as predictable as the massive surge in promiscuity and abortions following Roe vs. Wade, and tsunamis of illegals flooding the country following the amnesty act of 1986. It is human nature to follow the example of the law–whether that law is moral or not.

In the Denver Post article, Christine Harms, director of the Colorado School Safety Resource Center, is quoted:

“The increase of marijuana in schools is not just a problem for school resource officers to grapple with. It was discussed when school psychologists met in Vail last week. “They are seeing more incidents of kids smoking and thinking it is a safe thing to do. More kids are saying they are getting it from their parents.”

Children and families need good examples. American law, traditionally, provided a forceful illustration of healthy civic boundaries, discouraging immoral behavior and encouraging self-regulation. The legalization of pot, a social evil, is a wink and a nod from the government directed to youngsters, transmitting the message, “It’s okay. Pot is a LEGAL substance, just don’t get caught until you’re 21.” Colorado has succeeded in its push to “regulate marijuana like alcohol,” and now there is an additional, very powerful intoxicant to add to the problems that booze and bad behavior already bring to the lives of our kids.

by Marjorie Haun 11/13/13

  1. Kevin

    Interesting that we let folks say one liners with absolutely no challenge!

    How about we start asking for specific answers to their failed war on drugs? Chances are they won’t be able to defend their one liners our wonderful truthful media exploits!

    Here are some stats to prove nothing has changed in our world of status quo especially in the area of drugs!!! Did anyone ask why they stopped DARE??? I mean if it was so successful it would of never been cut, right? Stop believing the smoke & mirrors and challenge how your tax dollars are spent and specifically ask why they always cut so called successful programs?? I bet you would find they don’t give a rats ass about kids, only their take home paychecks and when their next raise hits and their benefit package! Otherwise they wouldn’t CUT so called successful programs.

    Couple of other questions raised: Interesting how we never ask why after all the money spent for the war on drugs do we still have drugs???

    How about the fact they took school resource officers out of schools for some time due to budget cuts as well and now are back in a few of them???

    • Let’s start defending our kids from the social, emotional and physical effects of intoxicants instead of defending cannabis. Just a thought.

      • Kevin

        The only way to accomplish that is get them out of the current system that seems to influence rather than help! Hurrah for common core right? That will fix all these kids! Oh and Mr. Leany ready to call in the Feds when he just mentioned the other day we need them out of the way. This is a local issue not a fed issue but they so what us dependent on them for every aspect of our lives and guess what they are ready and willing to have full control! Where is the Freedom in that???

        I will look for your next stories on teachers molesting and having sex with students, teachers buying and supplying alcohol and drugs to kids, and then the wonderful government servants in uniform that do these same things to our kids. I will also be waiting for your stories on legal prescription drug addictions, heroin sales escalating to highest levels since the war in afghanistan, still arrest being made for Meth in town, DUI’s being made daily which are higher than drug arrest, domestic abuse, and the fact that the system has the highest food stamp recipients and high unemployment here in Mesa County.

        You see you are missing the the point all together and using the State & Federal Force for your personal agenda has completely failed on its merits. When you admit the failure of the current justice system then and only then can we address the real issues. One more law, one more dollar, or one more arrest isn’t going to change anything.

        The war on drugs has been a complete and utter failure yet no one ever questions why. Not condoning the use of marijuana but it seems that so many are spooked by it. There are many alternatives to its use other than smoking to get high but using fear tactics obviously have never worked in stopping its usage to get high.

        Don’t you want less government as a Reagan Conservative??? Or do you agree with Obama on having a military complex patrolling our streets so we obey our evil empire? Be careful what you ask for!

        Couple of links you might be interested in to get a little more educated.

    • Kevin

      Since the passage of HB10-1284, Colorado’s historical medical marijuana regulation legislation, current marijuana use among high school students in Colorado has dropped from 24.8% to 22.0% according to the Federal Government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Assessment. You can view the 2011 report here and the 2009 report here. These findings are consistent with a recent report published by Professor Mark Anderson that shows no noticeable link between increased youth marijuana use and states legalizing medical marijuana. In fact, the reports show that marijuana use among teens in Colorado is slightly below the national average.

      Although some have reported an increase in drug related suspensions in Colorado high schools, it appears those suspensions may correlate better with an increase in detection efforts by school officials than an actual increase in youth marijuana usage.

  2. Kevin

    Also interesting for those so opposed to kids smoking pot is the great fluoride debate where proven that drinking the non pharmaceutical grade required by Govt reduces childrens IQ’s just like marijuana. But because we trust government so much this is an OK solution!

    The average loss in IQ was reported as a standardized weighted mean difference of 0.45, which would be approximately equivalent to seven IQ points for commonly used IQ scores with a standard deviation of 15.* Some studies suggested that even slightly increased fluoride exposure could be toxic to the brain. Thus, children in high-fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low-fluoride areas. The children studied were up to 14 years of age, but the investigators speculate that any toxic effect on brain development may have happened earlier, and that the brain may not be fully capable of compensating for the toxicity.

    • Trust me, as a teacher with a background in Special Education, and now working with juvenile offenders, if there are substances ingested by the kids themselves or mothers while they are pregnant that cause developmental delays, fluoride is not among them. And, none of my juvenile offenders end up in the criminal justice system because of behaviors related to fluoride abuse. RED HERRING.

      • Kevin

        I’m sorry the headline media is correct and mining waste in our water ways isn’t having a health effect at all. The Government has everything under control and I will obey! My bad!

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