Pubdate: Tue, 13 Oct 2015
Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)
Copyright: 2015 Sun-Times Media, LLC
Author: Calvina Fay
Note: Calvina Fay is the executive director of Drug Free America 
Foundation and Save Our Society From Drugs.


As medical marijuana becomes a reality in Illinois, residents should 
brace themselves to the problems seen in other states. Already, as 
reported last month, the marijuana industry is ignoring bans on 
advertising and launching a million-dollar marketing campaign to boost sales.

Advertising highly potent edible products, such as cookies and candy, 
that are appealing to youth sends the wrong message and leads young 
people to believe marijuana is harmless. The medical marijuana 
cottage industry lacks consumer safety protocols and has led to an 
increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits in other states.

In Denver, Colorado, nearly 74 percent of children in treatment for 
addiction report getting marijuana from a qualified card holder. In 
Illinois, the most recent youth survey reports that about one in four 
( 27 percent) of Illinois 12th-graders have used marijuana at least 
once in the past 30 days. Is this a number we want to see increased? 
States with "medical" marijuana programs typically have higher youth- 
use rates than those without. Instead of worrying about the 
implementation of pot in Illinois, officials should be looking at 
ways to prevent youth use and reduce the impact of marijuana on 
communities throughout the state.

Proponents of medical marijuana want you to believe that only those 
with debilitating conditions who have unsuccessfully sought out other 
approved treatment methods will qualify. This is not true! One only 
needs to look at the numbers from other states that have similar laws 
to see how widely the programs are abused. Fewer than 10 percent of 
marijuana users in programs that track conditions cite cancer, HIV/ 
AIDS or glaucoma. Adding more conditions such as PTSD or arthritis 
would potentially open the floodgates for more widespread abuse.

The bottom line is that marijuana programs create a whole host of 
problems that include increased youth use, drugged driving fatalities 
and costs to health care and public safety.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom