Marijuana Use and Abuse
Medical marijuana legalization has always been a trending topic, but how’s this for a hot bit of news: A news item recently exposed that the medical marijuana law in Washington has no age limit.
According to Seattle’s KPLU, the state’s law on medical marijuana procurement does not include any age restrictions or parental supervision. According to Bellevue drug counselor Paul Weatherly, he regularly meets with teenagers exposed to marijuana. One time, one of the teens told him, “Oh, I can hardly wait until I’m 18 and I can get my medical marijuana card.” Weatherly was reminded that “when I read the law, I didn’t see any age restrictions.”
This loophole may be exploited by teenagers who want access to a lot of marijuana, as well as scheming medical professionals who want to earn more, albeit illegally. In fact, Weatherly said he was able to talk to a kid who got the go signal to purchase marijuana from a physician through Skype.
Meanwhile, Lisa Sharp, a manager for Seattle Public Schools’ prevention and intervention, said that may teenagers already have authorization for medical marijuana, and can even visit pot dispensaries to get their daily dose. The rise in marijuana use on and off-campus has been observed by school staff as well. “We are seeing it all over our city, so in middle schools and high schools and elementary schools,” said Sharp.
Many parents are concerned about how legalizing the use and sale of marijuana may affect their children. Medical marijuana has been made legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia while recreational marijuana has been allowed for people who are at least 21 years old in Colorado and Washington.
Parents worry that their teenagers may have easier access to marijuana, which may increase the likelihood of today’s teens using them. This is a valid cause of concern, since teens are found to be using drugs at younger ages, when their bodies and brains are still on critical developmental stages.
A study that looked into 20 years of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey gives parents a reason to let out a small sigh of relief.
Researchers compared the data in states that have legalized medical marijuana and data in neighboring states that haven’t. The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that marijuana legalization for medical purposes does not result in greater use of marijuana by teens. “There were no statistically significant differences in marijuana use before and after policy change for any state pairing,” writes lead author Dr. Esther Choo.
It still is a popular illicit drug among U.S. kids, but its use has remained steady before and after a state legalized marijuana. The estimates are based on self-reports given by over 11 million students through anonymous surveys.
Colorado’s only certified adult burn center has logged 10 people being treated for serious injuries from making hash oil since early this year, according to a report on Yahoo! News.
Since the state officially legalized the use of recreational marijuana, there has been a rise on scorching explosions and a notable increase on reported injuries accompanying these explosions as pot users attempt to make their own hash oil at home.
Fire marshals and other law enforcers are at a loss on how to respond to this dilemma as the legality of the process made it impossible to punish the rising number of amateur chemists. The production of hash oil is being protected in the new legal pot law.
The unscientific home-based procedures performed by amateur chemists can produce hash oil that is far cheaper than store-bought finished products, but are hazardous to the one extracting the oil. The castoff leaves and stems of marijuana being packed into a pipe are poured with highly flammable butane to heat the concoction. If the makeshift laboratories are not properly ventilated (as is the common case in the reported explosions), butane fumes can linger in the room, making it susceptible to explosions.
According to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, the state’s firefighters have responded to a good 31 explosions this year due to butane hash oil procedures although the number of explosions may be higher but only unreported.
Brian Vicente, a Denver attorney and co-author of the Colorado pot law, said that fires will decline if pot users realize the hazards of producing crude hash oils instead of getting it from authorized pot shops.
[ Image source ]
Marijuana has been classified as a Schedule I Substance together with most dangerous drugs, but this claim seems to lack medical facts. Even President Barack Obama said in the past that he doesn’t think marijuana can be more dangerous than alcohol. However, alcohol is readily available to the public while the ban for marijuana hasn’t been lifted by the POTUS despite his favorable statement.
A Yahoo! Finance article recently revisited the discussion of famous neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who admitted he was wrong to ignore and not acknowledge the many benefits of medical marijuana. He even wrote an article against it on 2009.
In his travels, he had convened with medical experts and marijuana patients which led to his realization that the advantages and benefits far outweigh the disadvantages of marijuana for medical purposes. He conducted his investigation and research, and got to meet real people treated with medical marijuana. He stayed long in laboratories to study and analyze the controversial plant.
Gupta said the world had been misled for the past 70 years that marijuana is harmful and addictive. Recent research and studies prove otherwise, he adds.
More and more patients are looking for cannabis because they want to try it for their respective ailments. In some medical instances, marijuana seems to be the only medication that works. Some claim that it is safer to use than most prescription drugs.
Marijuana advocates suggest using its medical name cannabis to further establish its rightful role in the society as an effective medicine.
The State of Kentucky is now embracing the legalization of medical marijuana through the passage of senate bill 124, which will allow the utilization of cannabidiol (marijuana oil) as treatment for children suffering from severe chronic seizure disorders.
The bill forwarded by Republican State Senator Julie Denton was unanimously voted in the Kentucky House judiciary Committee last March 19, allowing the treatment under the supervision of Universities of Louisville and Kentucky Medical Schools who are conducting research study for the pediatric seizure patients.
Sen. Denton said in a news release that the bill is centered to help those children whose life is being threatened by the disease and to give support to the families who are most affected by their children’s fate. She is concerned for those families who are desperate in finding medical treatment for their patients and even consider transferring residency in the state wherein use of medical marijuana is legal.
The bill is now in the House for final deliberations as Speaker Greg Stumbo expresses his support of the bill, with the assurance that this could be signed into law due to popularity of support from his colleagues.
Some 30,000 epileptic children will be benefited in this law with 10,000 of these group are suffering from severe seizures according to the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana.
If the bill will be approved and signed into law, the state of Kentucky will be included in the 21 states that legalized the use of medical marijuana.
Twenty U.S. states and the District of Columbia have already passed their respective medical marijuana laws, but local implementation seems to be going through a tough set of loops.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that a residential neighborhood in Phoenix has lobbied for the ban of marijuana use within the area, despite the approval of medical marijuana use in Arizona. Tom LaBonte, a resident of the unidentified neighborhood, shared his frustration over the homeowners association’s plan to ban cannabis use. Because of the protest from the area’s residents, the association decided not to push through with the ban.
LaBonte, a cancer survivor, said that the association encroached on homeowners’ rights not only in the issue of medical marijuana use, but also in other personal and private matters. “They’re there to dictate things about house callers and make sure that nobody does car repairs in their front lawn and have cars up on jacks, things of that nature,” he shared.
This conflict is just one of the many confusions across the states that have just approved laws for medical cannabis. For instance, some Michigan cities were planning to ban medical marijuana, but the state’s highest court revoked the ban on grounds that it clashes with the state law.
Amidst the approval of medical pot, many people are still opposed to legalizing marijuana use. Most of the opposition groups include Republicans and senior citizens.