Colorado goes to pot

| March 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

To the shock of some citizens and the joy of others, Colorado state in the US legalised the sale and use of marijuana in early January 2014. As one might expect, thousands of parents and educators fall into the former group and students into the latter. Many mental health non-profit organisations are also dubious, despite the state’s dictum that no one under 21 years may smoke pot.

The group Freedom from Chemical Dependency is one of them, citing research carried out at the University of California that found that even when people stopped smoking the drug for 30 days, they still exhibited “subtle deficits in attention, executive function, and memory”. The University of Michigan also released related research results after following the US debate around the legalisation of dagga, as it’s known in South Africa.

The latest Monitoring the Future survey done by the university suggests, interestingly, that fewer adolescents believe that the drug was risky than in 2005. Comparative studies conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions revealed, however, a reduced understanding among teens of the possible consequences of ‘getting high’.

In addition, American teens have adjusted their definition of the term ‘designated driver’. Today, that person tends to be “the kid that has had the least amount to drink, or more typically the kid that’s smoking marijuana and not drinking,” said a researcher. Child development experts advise that schools and parents redouble their efforts to help young people understand that they’re not invincible. Parents should also ‘hold the line’ when confronted with the old chestnut: “But everyone’s doing it!” – which, say the experts, simply isn’t true.

Category: Autumn 2014

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