Insufficient Safeguards in the Use of Medical Marijuana
A question still begging to be answered is just how effective marijuana is as a medical therapy. There are enough disparate opinions on the subject among medical experts to warrant further study before more states decide to grant approval for its cultivation, sale and individual use.
However, even before that important issue gets resolved, there are pressing concerns about whether or not the safeguards approving states have in place are sufficient to keep the substance out of the hands of non-registered individuals. Especially teens and young adults.
The state of Colorado has given the nod to registered citizens to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes, has established guidelines for where marijuana may be sold and keeps a record of which individuals in the state are approved for its use. First there were problems with the location of medical marijuana merchandisers. Some of them were within blocks of public high schools. Now, substance abuse facilities in the state are saying that many teens coming in for treatment report using someone else’s medical marijuana, not once, but many times.
An online medical report recently told of two Colorado substance abuse facilities who say that close to 74 percent of the teens who enter their programs say they have used diverted medical marijuana dozens of times. Since there are less than 50 teens in Colorado registered to receive the drug for medical use, it seems apparent that these teens are getting it from adults and not from other teens. So, just how safe is the practice of medical marijuana? Use of medical marijuana is not governed by FDA regulations. Neither is the supply being protected from street sale for non-medical use.
It is hard to say how much all of this influences teen perceptions regarding the safety of using marijuana recreationally. The teens in the Colorado treatment center say they saw very little, if any, risk in using it. Surprisingly, Colorado continues to broaden its marijuana use policy. Hopefully, other states will watch carefully and learn.