The shifting of views and the ever changing laws regarding marijuana has opened the blinds on the drug. With four states where legalization laws are in place, and more sure to follow, many are curious about the far reaching effects that legal pot will have on communities. While many hail legalization in Colorado and Washington as a success, the reality for the marijuana trailblazers may be something altogether different.
A new report from a leading U.S. anti-marijuana group, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), found that in Colorado the number of children treated annually for accidental consumption of the drug has reached double-digits, and the state has seen a dramatic rise in the number of teens seeking drug treatment for marijuana abuse, Reuters reports. What’s more, in the last year marijuana use in all age groups in Colorado and Washington exceeded the national average.
Around a dozen Arapahoe House Denver-area drug treatment facilities reported a 66 percent rise in teens seeking marijuana abuse treatment between 2011 and 2014, according to the article.
The SAM report also mentions the rise in burns from butane hash oil extractions.”We need a pumping-of-the-brakes on the marijuana industry,” SAM’s president, Kevin Sabet, said in an interview. “When we have hospitalizations and burns and deaths, we need to stop many of these products from being sold.”
This week, health officials in Colorado announced a public education campaign which will explain the dangers of marijuana-infused products.
Fighting the changing winds concerning marijuana is challenging, especially when the majority of informed citizens are aware of the sinister nature of alcohol and the effects it has on society. It is difficult for anti-marijuana groups to argue that marijuana should be illegal, while alcohol continues to be legal, ravaging families across the country and causing far more deaths than any other mind-altering substance.
While the SAM report findings are not all that promising, the fact is that there has been little research on the long term effects of marijuana use because of government bans. The little research that has been conducted has produced conflicting results, according to Mason Tvert, a spokesman for the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project.
“Trying to draw any conclusions with less than one year of data is irresponsible,” Tvert told Reuters.