There is much debate on the issue of whether marijuana should be decriminalized, legalized, commercialized, and so forth. The most recent news story of kids being exposed to highly potent levels of marijuana, here at home in NH, comes out of an incident that occurred at Timberlane Regional Middle School. It is a good example of why the majority of Preventionists and Public Health professionals do not support legalization. It is not because we do not feel that grown adults should not be allowed to make their own decisions, seek medical advice from their doctors, or to take away any adult’s rights to make an informed choice. Our view point is based in public health, and how matters like legalization will affect the children of NH.

Excerpt from www.new-futures.org‘s Five Fast Facts about Marijuana Legalization:

“Marijuana use during youth, when young brains are developing, can have long-term negative health effects. Here in New Hampshire, we know how important it is to support youth as they make the transition from adolescence to adulthood. We also know that substance use can be an obstacle to that successful transition. Our brains are built from the bottom up and are still developing through our early to mid-twenties. Using harmful substances such as marijuana during those critical years has the potential to negatively impact brain development and lead to negative outcomes.”

Back to the WMUR story out of Timberlane. 

These middle school students were able to obtain what early reports indicate to be commercially made edible marijuana chocolates. They got sick. One had to be treated at the hospital. This is the effect of marijuana commercialization on our children. The potency of edibles is much higher — and scarier when it comes to a young, developing brain — than what some adults may categorize in the likes of “pot brownies” of the 1960’s. It’s a sophisticated business, and just like Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, & Big Alcohol: it is poised and ready to target and appeal to our children. It’s here and it’s already happening.

Please talk to your kids about marijuana. Need advice on how to do this in a developmentally appropriate way? Click here for some great resources.