VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 10, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As the newly elected Prime Minister moves toward legalizing marijuana, advocacy groups representing those whose families have been harmed by the drug question the move. Groups across the United States, including the California-based Citizens Against the Legalization of Marijuana and Parents Opposed to Pot are tracking the impact of marijuana legalization in the United States. The groups cite the rise in traffic fatalities, emergency room visits, and teen use in California, Washington and Colorado.
The state of California legalized medical marijuana in 1996. Today, the state is home to 50,000 grow sites, most of which are illegal. Drug prevention activists are seeing teen use is the norm, rather than the exception it once was. The state growers now export marijuana illegally, supplying 60% of the recreational marijuana around the U.S.
Washington State legalized medical and recreational marijuana in 2012. Since then the state has seen dozens of deaths directly caused by the drug, in car accidents, school shootings and black market violence. Washington leads the U.S. states with 27% of their fatal accidents being caused by drivers using marijuana.
Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana resulting in devastating consequences. The lawsuits and extreme emergencies continue to be a burden to the state. Marijuana use among Colorado adolescents (12-17, age range) is 39% higher than the U.S. national average, with 23% getting marijuana from their parents. Traffic fatalities in Colorado involving marijuana impaired drivers increased by over 100%. A state report on the first year of legalization shows a 29% increase in the number of marijuana-related emergency room visits, a 38% percent increase in the number of marijuana-related hospitalizations. Colorado is also experiencing an increase of poisonings of infants and children under the age of five by marijuana edibles (106 cases in 2010-2014).
"Marijuana is both addictive and impacts the formation of the brain. Using marijuana before the brain is fully formed affects brain development. When teenagers see adults approving of marijuana use their use goes up. Teens are still most influenced by their parents," says Scott Chipman, the California Director of Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana.
In 1989 Canada ratified the Convention on the Rights of a Child treaty. It specifies that children are to be protected from abuse, exploitation and harmful substances. Studies published in Cannabis Dependence Its Nature, Consequences and Treatment, show that 1 in 6 kids who try marijuana will become addicted to the drug. "Exposing children to a mind altering substance they can become addicted to violates their rights," says Pamela McColl, a drug prevention specialist in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The outcomes in U.S. states and the need to protect our children give Canadians the evidence to maintain our strict laws against marijuana.
Parents Opposed to Pot is a 501c3 non profit supported by parents against legalization of marijuana because of the dangers it poses to the mental and physical health of children.
CONTACT: Enzo Rios (703) 473 5016 firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Parents Opposed to Pot