Pubdate: Thu, 28 Sep 2017
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2017 Los Angeles Times
Author: Patrick McGreevy
Column: The rolling paper


Months before California allows the sale of marijuana for recreational
use, the state has launched an education campaign about the drug,
including highlighting the potential harms of cannabis for minors and
pregnant women.

The state is scheduled to issue licenses starting Jan. 2 for growing
and selling marijuana for recreational use, expanding a program that
currently allows cannabis use for medical purposes.

In response, the California Department of Public Health has created a
website to educate Californians about the drug and its impacts,
including how to purchase and safely store cannabis.

"We are committed to providing Californians with science-based 
information to ensure safe and informed choices," said State Public 
Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith.

The website, "Let's Talk Cannabis," notes it is illegal for people under 
21 to buy marijuana for non-medical use and warns that "using cannabis 
regularly in your teens and early 20s may lead to physical changes in 
your brain."

The site also warns that marijuana edibles may have higher 
concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. "If you eat too much, 
too fast you are at higher risk for poisoning," the website warns.

The state urges parents and guardians to talk to their teenagers about 
legal and health issues surrounding marijuana use.

The state officials also say consuming cannabis is not recommended for 
women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or who plan to become pregnant 
soon, noting that it "can affect the health of your baby."

The website got good marks from legalization activist Ellen Komp, deputy 
director of California's chapter of National Organization for the Reform 
of Marijuana Laws.

The website is "fairly accurate," she said, but added, "The risks with 
pregnancy are somewhat overstated, telling women they should not use 
cannabis for nausea or even if they are thinking of getting pregnant."

Some 43% of Californians have used marijuana for recreational purposes 
and 54% said they have not, according to a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles 
Times poll last November.

Among those who have not used it, just 2% said they are much more likely 
to use it if Proposition 64 passed, which it did, while 5% said they are 
somewhat more likely to use it, and 89% said they are no more likely to 
smoke pot if it was legalized.

Other advice from the state's site: driving under the influence of 
cannabis is illegal and increases the chance of a car accident, and 
cannabis should be stored in a locked area to avoid poisoning children 
and pets.
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MAP posted-by: Matt