Clear Boundaries

From scottcochrane.comWith the wealth of misinformation being peddled by marijuana advocates, recent studies highlight the vulnerability of teenagers to drug use. While the science is clear, marijuana advocates continue on their unholy crusade to legalize their own criminal behavior.

A recent study highlighted by NPR (National Public Radio) delves into the reasons why teenagers are prone to making bad decisions. There is a concrete biological explanation that has to do with adolescent brain development. While other parts of the human body may be fully developed by the end of puberty, certain parts of the brain still require additional years to reach full development. This includes the parts of the brain responsible for decision-making – the part that is responsible for deciding whether or not to use marijuana.

While advocates would argue that marijuana should be decriminalized for this very reason, a look at the big picture would show why current laws on marijuana possession are important to keeping teenagers safe.

Parents rely on strict directions when raising children to teach them to make good choices. “DO NOT take drugs.” “DO your homework.” Even secular sex education programs hone their messages knowing the impulsiveness of teenagers and their propensity toward poor decision-making. In sex education, the emphasis is on abstinence first – not use of condom. The supporting knowledge regarding pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) reinforce the clear message – abstinence.

If we were to use the same logic of marijuana advocates, our sex education programs would sound more like “DO NOT get pregnant” rather than “DO NOT have sex.” This is why the zero tolerance policy of the current law is so important. The law reinforces what parents are teaching their families – and makes a clear line in the sand that minors should never cross. Because adolescents are prone to impulsiveness and are prone to make poor decisions, the clear line between good and bad behavior is important.

Furthermore, studies cited by Smart Approaches to Marijuana note that marijuana use impairs development of the very same parts of the brain that are responsible for decision-making. This ups the ante in the war against marijuana. Imagine a marijuana user who started regular marijuana use at age fifteen. In their mid-twenties, when their brain development is supposed to be complete, the same user would still make the same poor decisions that teenagers do. This would not improve when the same user is thirty or forty since brain development has already stopped.

Do not fall for the arguments that marijuana advocates are using. While the position of this blog is to oppose any legalization/decriminalization of marijuana, the threats it presents to the most vulnerable members of our society make the current bill (SB879) even more dangerous. Under no circumstances should minors be in possession of (let alone using) marijuana. It is not okay for them to possess alcohol. It is not okay for them to possess cigarettes. Why would the Legislature make any exception for marijuana?