By Katie Bee kbee@helpingservices.org

Our society is continually debating the issue of legalizing marijuana. With questions ranging from health effects to perceived financial gain, this is a topic we need to look at closely.  According to the Office of Drug Control Policy, “the proportion of Iowans (adults and juveniles) entering substance treatment primarily due to marijuana use has reached its highest point in 20 years – 26.3 percent.” It’s time to shed some light on the realities of marijuana, and that’s what this series will do.

This is a complicated topic. With several states legalizing marijuana and many people feeling marijuana is a safe drug, we, in prevention, are fighting an uphill battle. Conflicting messages are out there playing a role in people’s perception of marijuana.

First, it is important to recognize that even though states pass their own laws, the federal government still upholds the illegal status of marijuana. Secondly, of the eighteen states that have legalized marijuana, both Colorado and California are taking steps to close some medical marijuana dispensaries (Office of Drug Control Policy).

Whether your opinion is for or against marijuana legalization, it is important to bring to light the blunt truth. I encourage you to ask questions about this topic in order to fully understand the magnitude of the issue. Collectively we can work together to keep our youth and communities safe from the misconceptions and increasing use of marijuana.

So where do we go from here?

  • Perhaps start the conversation with us on Facebook.  There you can post a question you have, and we’ll try to answer it in an upcoming post.
  • We will continue to work with local professionals and bring you the most up to date information on the topic. Subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss that data.
  • Sort out the myths of pot. This booklet might help. Share these truths with your kids and neighbors.

So think, what have you been told about marijuana? Maybe you think marijuana in small doses is okay, or that kids will be kids and experimenting should be accepted. My hope is that together we will start positive community dialogue  and take action to decrease marijuana use in our area. Why? Because it’s not “just weed.”

 

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