Kids or Pot, Pick One

You can’t put our children’s future first and still support Prop 207. That’s because this particular ballot initiative goes far beyond decriminalizing marijuana. It creates a client base for years to come by pretending to protect kids, while marketing to kids.

Prop 207 claims marijuana use is only for adults, but it allows high potency marijuana laced gummies, cookies, snacks, and vape pens (ARS 36-2860); it allows advertising on all platforms (ARS 36-2859); it waves a hand at legal penalties (ARS 36-2853(B); and it potentially allows stoned caretakers of the elderly and children (ARS 36-2851).

In other states that have legalized recreational marijuana for “adults only”, a lot more teens use it. The drug is illegal for minor use in all “legal” states, but that doesn’t stop them. And teens are at greater risk because their brains are still developing. Marijuana use inhibits brain development; it causes permanent IQ loss; it permanently damages neuropathways related to cognition, including learning, attention, and emotional responses; and it can lead to long-term dependence.

But, even if you support decriminalizing marijuana, consider the ramifications of this particular initiative. Prop 207 was written by the marijuana industry, for the marijuana industry. Starting with the fact Prop 207 allows the sale of marijuana laced candies, snacks, and vape pens – all of which appeal to kids and teens. And this isn’t the same kind of pot from Woodstock, which was about 1% to 2% THC (the psychoactive ingredient). Today’s marijuana is up to nearly 100% THC in some forms.

Prop 207 limits potency only in edibles, and the limit is deceptive. It allows edibles to contain 10 mg of THC per serving – but one serving is one gummy, or a tenth of a cookie. No one eats 1/10th of a cookie! This sets up a high risk of over-consumption.

And just in case kids don’t know these candies and snacks are available, the marijuana industry wrote Prop 207 to allow themselves the ability to advertise on all platforms, including TV, billboards, and social media – where kids and teens frequent.

Prop 207 doesn’t do much to discourage use by minors. The marijuana industry included protections for young users. Most penalties for minors caught using marijuana are petty offenses that will likely go unenforced and will do little to deter violators. Teens caught with marijuana face more lenient consequences than underage drinkers. In addition, Prop 207 drops the current drug education and counseling programs for first offenders.

Prop 207 puts even the youngest Arizonans at risk by tying the hands of employers who want to keep a drug-free workplace. The initiative wouldn’t stop a daycare worker or senior care worker from using marijuana before arriving at work.

One more thing to remember: Arizona laws passed by a ballot initiative are nearly impossible to fix or change. The state legislature can do nothing to fix problems that would arise. Arizona would be locked into bad law.


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