Opponents of marijuana legalization say they don’t believe states where recreational use of the drug is legal will be able to keep it out of the hands of children, according to the Miami Herald.
“Kids are going to be bombarded with this – they’re already getting the message that it’s acceptable,” said Kevin Sabet, Director of the University of Florida Drug Policy Institute, who served as an adviser on drug issues to President Barack Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Legalization supporters say they also want to prevent children from obtaining marijuana. “Forcing marijuana sales into the underground market is the worst possible policy when it comes to protecting our young people,” said Mason Tvert, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, a pro-legalization group. “It is odd that those who wish to keep marijuana out of the hands of kids are fighting to keep it as uncontrolled as possible.”
In Colorado, where recreational use of marijuana is legal for those over 21, the state will ban marijuana advertising aimed at anyone younger. The state will form a marijuana educational oversight committee to tell minors the drug could impair their neurological development, according to Jack Finlaw, Chief Legal Counsel for the Colorado Governor.
Washington state, where recreational use of the drug is also legal for those over 21, plans to sell marijuana in child-resistant packaging. None of the state’s retail marijuana stores will be allowed within 1,000 feet of a school, park, playground or video arcade, the article notes.
The University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future Study (MTF) – an annual survey on teen drug abuse tracking 8th, 10th and 12th graders – shows a multi-year surge in childhood marijuana use among the nation’s school-aged children. The 2012 survey of approximately 45,000 youth ages 13-18 found marijuana use among children escalates after eighth grade. The survey found that more than 11 percent of the youngest children surveyed (13-14 year olds) report they used marijuana in the past year.