Updated: January 29, 2013 6:24AM
Placing youths in harm’s way with Illinois medical marijuana bill is shameful
Marijuana is a drug that cripples; and if the medical marijuana bill passes, it will cripple thousands of youth.
In Illinois, 15,759 marijuana users were admitted for treatment in 2010 — 36.4 percent were 12-17 years old.
The medical marijuana bill allows 18-year-olds — high school seniors — to purchase medical marijuana cards. The card entitles them to buy 2½ ounces of marijuana every 14 days; 2½ ounces makes 183 joints.
This bill is an invitation to drug use and dealing in high schools. Each year, two-thirds of new marijuana users are under the age of 18. Additionally, more high school seniors smoked marijuana than smoked cigarettes, according to the 2010 Monitoring the Future Survey. The legislature’s action sends the message to teenagers that marijuana is safe.
Marijuana can be addictive. It can compromise academic success by impairing learning, memory, abstract thinking and problem-solving. Teens’ brains are not fully developed. Marijuana use can lead to poor attendance, dropping out of school, delinquency and behavioral problems. It is a gateway drug.
In the 2010 Illinois Youth Survey, there were more youth reporting having driven when they had been using marijuana or other illegal drugs than alcohol. This bill permits a medical marijuana patient to drive a motor vehicle six hours after consuming marijuana. (How could a six-hour law be enforced?) Research shows a single marijuana joint can impair a person’s ability to drive for more than 24 hours. Marijuana slows reaction time and impairs motor coordination.
Who will protect our kids?
President, Educating Voices