The argument being fought over as the legalization push continues is whether or not the Marijuana industry is stealing from the Tobacco and Alcohol play books by targeting children. Addiction for profit industries rely on getting the next generations hooked on their products to continue their business. The similarities are really close.
For years the Big Tobacco used Doctors to push their products in advertising saying that Doctors approved the use of tobacco denying the health risks associated with its use. Now we have the Marijuana industry using Doctors to push their products by saying that marijuana is harmless or "Safer than Alcohol". Despite what the advertising was 50 years ago with tobacco, we are seeing the health risks associated with its use. One big step with tobacco and teen use was using science to educate our kids on the dangers of using tobacco. When we use that approach with Marijuana we should see the same declines in teen marijuana use. That is why the Marijuana industry and its supporters are so quick to try and discredit the science that contradicts their claims. They saw what science based education did with tobacco and they know that when science is used to educate on marijuana they will lose money on this fledgling industry. If they can't get the next generation then legalization is a waste of time.
In 1994 the CEO's of the Tobacco industry testified in front of Congress saying that Tobacco was not addictive. Again denying the science that was being presented to them. Big Marijuana is now doing the same thing. Despite the science that says Marijuana does have addictive properties, they deny this science. Addiction for profit is a huge business and they know that they stand to lose a lot of money if they allow the science that goes against them.
For decade Big tobacco continued their push to target kids with products specifically for them. Those of us that are old enough remember those candy cigarettes that you used to be able to get at the corner market or the grocery store. Some were generic brands, but others were marketed using the products of actual tobacco such as Marlboro, camel and Pall Mall. Then there was also the alcohol industry that started putting Non Alcoholic (NA) beer on the market during the 1980's also looking to target the kids. That way when Dad cracked open a cold one so could Jr. Now the Marijuana industry is taking it even further. At least with the candy cigarettes you know that while the product packaging looked like the real deal, the actual product was only candy. The marijuana industry is marketing edible products that look exactly like the candy you find in the stores but these are laced with high potent THC. The problem now is that kids can't tell the difference when it's out of the package. The marijuana industry and it's supporters will argue that "The difference is that Edibles come in a child proof package and are sold in stores for people 21 and older". Well that all fine and dandy when it is sitting on the shelf in the dispensary, but what about once it ends up in someones house and left out in view without the child proof package? That is exactly what is happening with all of these kids accidentally ingesting THC edibles, they're finding it at home or elsewhere without the child proof packaging.
If the THC infused candy weren't enough, now they're trying to appeal to kids with mascots. Responsible Ohio unveiled their mascot during the 2015 campaign to legalize marijuana. We all remember Joe Camel and The Marlboro man, the first being more kid friendly. The 70's and 80's were chalk full of commercials showing these two characters try to show kids how cool smoking was. This move was the eventual downfall for the legalization movement in Ohio.
Washington, Oregon and Colorado all saw jumps in Emergency Room visits and Poison Control calls for kids after legalization. As it was noted above, Legalizers are clinging to the "Edibles come in a child proof package and are sold in stores for people 21 and older". However they can't guarantee that once it leaves the store that the person that purchased it will be responsible enough to keep it out of reach of children.
Legalizers will jump on this with deflections to prescription medications for children and laundry pods that may look like candy and be enticing to children. They are just distractions to take your attention away from the fact that kids are ending up in ICU because of the potential medical complications from exposure to marijuana. But why do they need to be hospitalized, it's just weed isn't it? Well no it isn't just weed. With edibles your dealing with higher concentration of THC which brings on more severe symptoms that last longer than the tradition smoking. Some major symptoms that have been found with pediatric marijuana exposure is cardiac and respiratory problems. There was one incident in Colorado where an 11 month old died from exposure to marijuana.
You will be faced with a difficult decision when you hit the polling places on November 8th. Should you or should you not vote to legalize recreational or medical marijuana. I can't tell you how to vote, but I can put information out to educate you when you do vote. 4 states have legalized recreation marijuana and 25 states have some form of legalized medical marijuana. Oregon, Washington, Colorado (#1 in past month use) and Washington DC are all in the top 6 for past month teen marijuana use according to the last SAMHSA survey. All states that have legalized for medical use have all seen a rise in teen use since they legalized also. Looking at the precedent Big Tobacco and Alcohol in means of targeting kids, it's already being seen on how marijuana is following down the same path. Do we really need another legal addiction for profit industry threatening the health and safety of our children and our communities? That is the biggest question you must ask yourself.
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