The Narragansett Prevention Partnership has joined forces with other Rhode Island Drug Free Communities grantees to form the Ocean State Prevention Alliance, a statewide coalition of prevention specialists and mental health professionals committed to reducing the negative impact that decriminalization and “medical” marijuana legislation is likely to have on Rhode Island communities, especially among youth.
Evidence from 16 other states clearly identifies a dramatic increase in social, economic, health and safety issues that followed decriminalization or the enactment of “medical” marijuana laws, including a dramatic rise in the number of youth who report using marijuana.
The NPP wants to give the community data-driven information about what we can expect when RI marijuana legislation goes into effect in 2013. Our goal is to encourage Narragansett residents, especially parents, to advocate for policies, additional legislation and prevention programs to reduce the negative impact on our youth that 16 other states have already experienced.
Here are some facts from other states, along with some recent scientific discoveries about marijuana, that suggest what RI can expect – unless we take steps now to address the known risks associated with legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana.
- Teen Use Skyrockets. In 1979, after 11 states legalized marijuana, the United States saw the highest rates, 51%, of marijuana use in history by teenagers. States with “medical” marijuana programs had an increase in marijuana use not seen in other states.
- More Drivers Drive Stoned. Marijuana is the most prevalent illegal drug detected in impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers and motor vehicle crash victims. It has also been reported that after Colorado relaxed their marijuana laws in 2006, drivers who tested positive for marijuana in fatal car crashes doubled between 2006 and 2010.
- Weed Lowers IQs. A recent study found that those who used cannabis heavily in their teens and continued through adulthood showed a permanent drop in IQ of 8 points. A loss of 8 IQ points could drop a person of average intelligence into the lowest third of the intelligence range.