Thursday, March 22, 2012

Marijuana: prevention resources and media stories

So much information to share . . .

Web-based resources

-- Marijuana Resource Center: Marijuana is a topic of significant public discourse in the United States, and while many are familiar with the discussions, it is not always easy to find the latest, research-based information on marijuana to answer to the common questions about its health effects, or the differences between Federal and state laws concerning the drug. This Web-based resource center provides the general public, community leaders, and other interested people with the facts, knowledge, and tools to better understand and address marijuana in their communities.

-- Locally, the University of Washington Alcohol & Drug Abuse Institute hosts an online resource -- Marijuana: Science-based information for the public.

-- A National Alliance for Marijuana Prevention was recently launched with the goals of to developing and strengthening collaboration among communities, agencies and federal, state and local governments to support the efforts of organizations to prevent and reduce marijuana use by addressing the factors that increase risk within a community.

-- The But What About the Children? Campaign website demands that policymakers who want to legalize marijuana guarantee that marijuana will not be marketed to young people like alcohol and tobacco are.

Medical marijuana policy analysis

-- A two part series entitled "Clearing the Smoke on Medical Marijuana" discusses medical marijuana policy.  Part 1 looks at how marijuana is classified in the federal Controlled Substance Act and Part 2 discusses the ability for research to be done on the effects of marijuana.

In the media

-- In January 2010, Massachusetts decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana.  A story in a Massachusetts newspaper, "New Law Haunts Schools Local Officials Charge: Marijuana Law is Taking Toll on Teens at Revere High" reports:  Two years later, public safety officials, school officials and youth advocates are saying it has levied a major toll on the school-age generation – who grapple to understand why marijuana is frowned upon at school and smiled upon in the law books.

-- As fewer teens perceive harm in marijuana use, fewer teens also report that marijuana use is distracting while driving, according to a recent national study.  Stephen Wallace of Students Against Destructive Decisions says the findings reflect a “dangerous trend toward the acceptance of marijuana and other substances compared to our study of teens conducted just two years ago…both in terms of the increased use of marijuana and from the perspective that many think this is not a danger.”

-- From "High Season: Teens and Marijuana Use" (Family Circle magazine):  After more than a decade of decline, pot smoking among adolescents is growing once again. According to the University of Michigan's annual survey of 50,000 middle and high school students, 16 percent of 8th-graders have smoked marijuana, 32 percent of 10th-graders, and 42 percent of 12th-graders.

What's behind the increase? "There's been a rapid erosion of anti-marijuana attitudes in our society," says Tom Hedrick, a founding member of Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA). "A lot of what kids hear today is not to worry." Fourteen states have legalized medical marijuana, and this fall Californians will vote on whether to do the same for recreational use. From movies like Hot Tub Time Machine to TV's Weeds to Michael Phelps' marijuana moment, there's a constant message being sent to teens: Everybody must get stoned, and it's all right. No wonder survey results show that only 44 percent of 8th-graders perceive pot as posing a "great risk" to their health, down from more than 50 percent in 2004. "This is the perfect storm that could lead to a tremendous explosion in marijuana use," says Hedrick. "Parents have reason to be concerned."

Locally . . .

-- The Mayor of Seattle in his 2012 State of the City Address pushes for legalizing marijuana. 

-- In December, KCTS 9 Connects aired a show about marijuana legalization.

Watch December 9, 2011 on PBS. See more from KCTS 9 Connects.

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