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Legal Pot: Marijuana-Friendly Laws Threat to Kids?

Colorado and Washington's legalization of pot has led the states to become the epicenter of a national movement to legalize the drug. It's also heightened concerns about the effect on youth. Read Transcript


Reporter: POT SMOKERS

HAVE WASTED NO TIME IN

LIGHTING UP IN SELECT BARS

IN WASHINGTON AND COLORADO.

THE TWO STATES ARE SEEN AS

LEADERS IN A NATIONAL

MOVEMENT TO LEGALIZE

MARIJUANA, WHILE ADVOCATES

BELIEVE IT WOULD KEEP KIDS

SAFER, OPPONENTS FEAR IT

COULD PROVE DISASTEROUS.

ALTHOUGH MARIJUANA IS NOW

LEGAL IN COLORADO FOR THOSE

OVER 21, MANY BELIEVE THAT

THOSE UNDER 21 WILL BE ABLE

TO ACCESS IT MORE EASILY.

THAT IS A CONCERN BECAUSE

HEALTH-WISE, MARIJUANA

POSSESS A FAR GREATER THREAT

FOR TEENS.

SOME PEOPLE THINK

MARIJUANA IS JUST

PSYCHOLOGICAL ADDICTIVE, NOT

PHYSICALLY ADDICTIVE.

IT IS JUST A SOFT DRUG,

SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

I CAN TELL YOU FROM PERSONAL

EXPERIENCE THAT THESE KIDS

WHO COME TO SEE US ARE

DROPPING OUT OF LIFE.

Reporter: PSYCHIATRIST

CHRISTIAN THERSTONE DIRECTS

ONE OF COLORADO'S LARGEST

CLINICS FOR TEACHING

SUBSTANCE ADDICTION.

HE SAYS ONE IN EIGHT KIDS

WHO TRY MARIJUANA BEFORE THE

AGE OF 18 BECOME ADDICTED.

TWO-THIRDS OF MARIJUANA KIDS

EACH YEAR ARE UNDER 18.

THE WORST PART, THEIR BRAINS

ARE SIGNIFICANTLY MORE

VULNERABLE TO THE DRUG.

IT IS A TIME OF ENORMOUS

BRAIN DEVELOPMENT.

THE VERY RECEPTOR THAT

MARIJUANA BINDS TO IN THE

BRAIN IS THE RECEPTOR THAT

HELPS CONTROL THIS BRAIN

DEVELOPMENT.

Reporter: THAT MEANS

THESE YOUNG USERS CAN LOSE

AS MANY AS EIGHT I.Q.

POINTS.

THEY'RE FOUR TIMES TO DO

POORLY IN SCHOOL, AND TWICE

AS LIKELY TO HAVE AN

ACCIDENT.

COLORADO EDUCATORS PROVE A

LINK TO THE INCREASED LINK

TO MARIJUANA AND TROUBLE IN

SCHOOLS.

WHEN MARIJUANA MEDICAL

CLINICS STARTED POPPING UP

ACROSS THE STATE, SCHOOL

COMPULSION HAVE POPPED UP.

THEY BELIEVE THAT REGULATION

IS THE BEST WAY TO PROTECT

KIDS.

ILLEGAL MARIJUANA DEALERS

ARE NOT ASKING FOR PROOF OF

AGE.

BY TAKING IT AND PUTTING IT

BEHIND THE COUNTER AND

HAVING STRICT RULES ON

SELLING TO MINORS, WE CAN

BETTER KEEP IT OUT OF THEIR

HANDS.

Reporter: THE MARIJUANA

POLICY PROJECT HELPS PAY FOR

AND ORGANIZED THE COLORADO

AND WASHINGTON LEGALIZATION

LEGALIZATION COMPAIGNS.

IT IS TARGETING OTHER

STATES, BUT A NEW

ORGANIZATION IS

SAYING,

NOT

SO FAST.

WE INTRODUCE ANOTHER

ILLEGAL SUBSTANCE WHEN WE'RE

HAVING TROUBLE WITH OUR

CURRENT ONE.

Reporter: HE ADVISED

BUSH AND OBAMA ON THE DRUG

PROBLEM.

ALTHOUGH HE AGREES OUR

COUNTRY IS FAR TOO QUICK TO

CLINICALIZE MARIJUANA USERS,

HE IS NOT CONVINCED

LEGALIZATION IS THE ANSWER.

IT INCREASE THE PER MIS

PER NIPER MISSIVENESS.

Reporter: PATRICK

KENNEDY, AND DAVID FROM,

THEIR ORGANIZATION, "SMART

APPROACHES TO MARIJUANA," OR

SAM, BELIEVES THAT

LEGALIZATION SUPPORTERS HAVE

DOWNPLAYED THE RISK

O

F

SMOKING POT.

THIS IS NOT YOUR

WOODSTOCK WEED.

IT IS MUCH MORE HARMFUL

NOW.

Reporter: BUT KIDS SEEM

TO HAVE MISSED THAT

MESSAGE.

I DON'T THINK IT IS

HARMFUL AT ALL.

AND WHY DON'T YOU THINK

IT IS

DANGEROUS?

BECAUSE IT IS A PLANT AND

YOU SMOKE IT

AND

IT JUST

GETS YOU HIGH.

I

THINK ONE OF

THE

REASONS KIDS THINK IT

IS

OKAY BECAUSE

SO-CALLED

MEDICAL MARIJUANA HAS

SOFTENED AT STUDES.

Reporter: AND HE NOTES

THAT MUCH OF THIS NEW

RESEARCH HASN'T REACHED THE

PUBLIC.

IN THE MEANTIME, THERE IS A

FEAR THAT BIG TOBACCO

COMPANIES WILL GET INTO THE

MARIJUANA BUSINESS AND

TARGET YOUTH, JUST LIKE THEY

DID IN CIGARETTES.

CHURCHES IN COLORADO ARE

FIGURING OUT HOW TO WORK

WITH TEENS AS THE SITUATION

UNFOLDS.

ANY TIME ANY DRUG BECOMES

READILY AVAILABLE, WE NEED

TO TALK ABOUT IT.

Reporter: HE IS A

SENIOR PASTOR AT A MEGA

CHURCH IN COLORADO SPRINGS,

AND SAYS LEADERS THERE ARE

CONCERNED ABOUT HOW

LEGALIZATION WILL PLAY OUT,

BUT SAYS THEY SHOULDN'T MISS

THE BIGGER ISSUE.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WHY

ARE PEOPLE SO WILLING TO

MEDICATE THEMSELVES?

WHAT ISSUES ARE THEY

STRUGGLING FROM THAT CAUSES

THEM TO GO TO THINGS LIKE

MARIJUANA?

Reporter: NO ONE KNOWS

HOW MARIJUANA WILL SHAPE ITS

REGULATIONS OR HOW AVAILABLE

MARIJUANA WILL BE, STARTING

NEXT YEAR.

BUT WHAT IS CLEAR IS THIS:

THE NATION WILL BE WATCHING,

WAITING TO SEE WHAT

LEGALIZATION MEANS FOR

COMMUNITIES, AND ESPECIALLY

FOR THEIR YOUTH.

REPORTING IN DENVER, HEATHER

CELLS, CBN NEWS.

EMBED THIS VIDEO


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