Help our youths realize marijuana not wise choice
December 12, 2012
I am writing to thank Bob Story and Laura Gjovaag for bringing marijuana to the forefront and some of the issues in regards to the new marijuana legislation in the article, "Even with new marijuana law it's business as usual for employers."
There is much concern over the passage of Initiative 502 and the potential effects on business and the legal aspect of this legislation. The Daily Sun News has positively stepped up to be a part of the educational process as the state works through this change in public policy concerning marijuana use.
It is imperative that we remember the impact to our youth in this process, also. As laws concerning marijuana use change, so does the perception of our youth about the perception of harm. For example, only 22.7 percent of high school seniors saw great risk in smoking marijuana occasionally, compared to nearly 26 percent five years ago, according to the 2011 Monitoring the Future survey. The report further showed a continued increase in marijuana use rates among all grades measured in the survey - 8th, 10th and 12th graders.
In fact, the annual prevalence rates among 8th graders during the past two years are higher than any time since 2003. Also concerning is that the rate of daily marijuana use rose among all three grades, with 1.3 percent of 8th graders, 3.6 percent of 10th graders and 6.6 percent of 12th graders reporting that they smoked marijuana on a daily basis. Among high school seniors, the daily use rate is now at a 30-year peak level.
Supporting our youth and children in making healthy choices is a role for everyone in the community. As a community member, there are ways to become active in this process: volunteer at a school, be an active supporter of the children in your neighborhood, become involved in the newly formed Sunnyside Coalition to address youth substance abuse and violence, or find a way to advocate for a healthy community.
Every one of us can make a positive difference.
Again, thank you to the Daily Sun News for being part of that difference.
/s/ Cathy Kelley, Coordinator, Sunnyside Coalition