Legalizing Weed In Colorado is Reefer Madness

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Recently 60 Minutes did a piece on Colorado’s gangbusters Colorado “medical marijuana” industry that’s on track to become a nine billion dollar drug boom by 2016. Although Coloradans are the healthiest, most athletic bipeds in the nation, so direly in need of medication by cannabis are we that 204 med marijuana shops bloom on Denver’s streets and strip malls. And if the state’s November referendum to go really big and legalize weed becomes law, our green gold rush will double or even triple.

But Colorado parents — and parents in Washington and Oregon that have similar ballot issues — beware. Far from being a harmless “recreational drug,” weed can do permanent damage to children’s brains. This is no prudish “reefer madness” propaganda. Rather, it’s the conclusion of a comprehensive study by researchers at King’s College London and Duke University in the U.S. that found persistent marijuana users who started smoking at school age had lower IQ scores as adults, and were more likely to suffer attention and memory problems in later life than their abstaining peers. “Quitting or reducing cannabis use did not appear to fully restore intellectual functioning among adolescent-onset former persistent cannabis users,” said Professor Terrie Moffitt, of KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry. She said adolescent brains appeared “more vulnerable to damage and disruption” from cannabis than those of fully mature adults. You can read about it here:

There’s a reason weed smokers call their high being “wasted.” I’ve personally seen the wasted brains and wasted lives that result from marijuana use in four of my close family members that I know of. All started smoking at 11 or 12, and two later dropped out of high school. All were males with great promise. Our family saw their drug use turn the years of their youth that should have been full of bright achievement, instead become mired in hopelessness and sullen depression. The aimlessness and sapped energy of the stoner replaced the eager exuberance that should be the province of the young.

Colorado’s Amendment 64 would make it legal for anyone 21 or older to grow, possess, consume, “transfer” and “transport” marijuana to others, allowing an ounce of the drug – that’s enough for several dozen joints or eight pans of pot brownies. It also permits growing up to six plants. So growers can privately“transport” and “transfer to others 21 or older. It’s against the law for the underaged to be on the receiving end of all this transporting and transferring, so no potential for mischief there. Too bad the proposed law didn’t include a few million dollars for extra police to pound on doors and make sure home gardeners are only growing the regulation six plants. Oh, and to watch the transporters and transferrers, 24-7, to make sure they’re not selling to adolescents. Legalization supporters always insist that current marijuana law enforcement is useless and ineffectual because kids can get it anyway; why then would anyone believe that enforcement of a law limiting pot to “adults only” is possible? A logical absurdity, by their own logic. When kids see the government legitimizing drug use, the message is loud and clear: this stuff is harmless so why not experiment?

The libertarian’s argument elevating the right of the free adult to make personal choices without government interference also crashes and burns on the sharp crags of reality. Real life teaches that as “legal” dope proliferates, so does its illegal use by adolescents, especially when the cultural stamp of approval comes from the government itself. That’s already happened in Colorado. As medical marijuana shops have boomed statewide, so has the number of youths illegally using the drug. In the last four years, suspensions for drug violations at Colorado public schools have increased 45 percent. As a result, Colorado already leads the nation in adolescent marijuana use, reversing the prior decade of steady decline.

One big reason pot accounts for 67 percent of the adolescents in substance-abuse treatment programs nationwide is that today’s weed is a much more addictively wacky weed, in fact up to 10 times more potent than that of several decades ago. It’s not your dad’s and mom’s doobie.

In a transparently cynical bid for votes, the marijuana legalization measure requires the state to use the taxes from drug sales for “constructing public schools.” So while weed is leaching the intelligence out of our children’s brains, their drug use will build more classrooms where they can slump stoned in their seats, getting “educated.” Only the truly drug-addled could come up with such a twisted bribe of well-meaning parents who want to increase school financing. Using drug taxes to fund schools is like taxing dogfights to benefit animal shelters, or taxing human trafficking and giving the revenue to debutante balls.

Colorado’s Amendment 64 is worse than crazy; it’s actually a form of child abuse since science has proved permanent damage to vulnerable young brains. Weed cripples our kids’ futures: studies show that youths who don’t smoke pot before age 18 are nearly four times more likely to graduate from high school and college than those who do. But these damaging consequences to our youth don’t concern the selfish adults who care only about indulging in their drug of choice without the annoyance of legal consequences.

Colorado’s legalization measure may well pass. This debacle provides a canary warning to the 17 states with “medical marijuana” laws. Take heed: total legalization is headed your way. Meanwhile, of course federal law prohibits the production, possession and sale of marijuana and correctly classifies it as a dangerous Schedule 1 drug, which could provide a problem with a future Department of Justice.

 Joy Overbeck is a Colorado journalist and author who’s written for The Daily Caller, The Washington Times, the Kitchen Cabinet,, and her quirky God website,

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2 Responses to Legalizing Weed In Colorado is Reefer Madness

  • Julie says:

    I feel so badly for Colorado and fear what will now happen. You had a lot of good things to say in the article until making a cutting remark about President Obama in the end. Since more people actually think that GW Bush created the economy, and he smoked pot, too, you loose credibility. If you had said that President Obama had used it and has said that he is not supporting its legalization, you would be adding to your argument. If you said Bill Clinton used it once and didn’t like, you’d be making a stronger argument. There is no reason to make personal cuts against the president. But being a college teacher in the Washington area, it is clear that the Marijuana Policy Project would go to college campuses and recruit students to join their cause. It is a case of elders preying on the young when these people say it is harmless. Please consider removing that sentence.

    • Joy Overbeck says:

      Since science has proved that early weed use permanently damages young brains, and since Barack Obama himself has said he spent much of his youth sucking up THC in the “choom bus” with his friends (which neither GW or Bill Clinton ever did) I stand by my comment. The lingering after- affects are sadly obvious in the current POTUS and the direction in which he is leading our unfortunate nation.

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