Anti-Drug Group to Talk Pot with Teens

by ARLnow.com November 26, 2012 at 9:55 am 9,161 95 Comments

Between the successful ballot initiatives that legalized casual marijuana use in Colorado and Washington state, and the news that a seven-year-old child is among those legally using marijuana for medicinal purposes, it might seem like American society is moving toward a more permissive attitude toward pot.

That’s exactly what Arlington’s READY Coalition is trying to fight.

The group — whose name stands for Reduce or Eliminate Alcohol and Drug Use by Youth — will be holding a “town hall meeting” this week called Marijuana in Arlington: What’s the Big Deal? The event will seek to remind teens that marijuana can be harmful.

“In the most recent surveys from Arlington teens we see a disturbing decrease in perceptions of harm regarding marijuana and increasing numbers of teens saying they have used marijuana,” the READY Coalition said in a press advisory. “This forum provides a dialogue about a subject that is typically underrepresented in our community. It will explore some of the dangerous consequences of teenage marijuana use.”

The town hall will feature a panel that includes an Emergency Room doctor from INOVA Fairfax Hospital, a scientist from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an Arlington County police officer, and a “young man with extensive experience with marijuana use in Northern Virginia.” The event will be held at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29.

A 2010 survey found that nearly half of all Arlington 12th graders had, at some point, used marijuana, while just over 1 in 4 had used marijuana in the past 30 days.

  • Legalise it.

    • MrMeow

      This is America, speak American. “Legalize”

      • Observer

        Dope fiends can’t spell.

      • Bobby

        This is America, speak whatever you want

      • Say it Ain’t So

        You mean, ‘This is the United States, speak English…’ geez…

    • Harry

      Absolutely. The only beneficiaries of marijuana prohibition are drug cartels and the prison-industrial complex. Thanks to the (failed) drug war, the land of the free now has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Note that there is no correlation between criminal penalties and rates of use. The United States has higher rates of marijuana use than the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, all of which have legalized and/or decriminalized.

  • Really

    This is just a gateway talk to other harder drugs

    • Source Please?


      • Timely Warning

        “Reefer Madness”

    • Heard that before

      By that logic, alcohol and tabacco are gateway drugs as well…

    • HolyPeristalsis

      And my keyboard is the gateway to my masturbation…. see you
      in 5.

    • Ruth

      The only reason pot is a gateway to other drugs is that the pusher you get your pot from is also selling the other drugs. There is no medical research that shows that the use of pot leads to other drugs.

  • Corey

    What can they possibly say that isn’t either a) a lie or b) not really scary at all? Isn’t the worst clinically-proven side effect of pot some minor short-term memory loss after literally years of heavy use?

    • drax

      There are many health risks associated with pot and alcohol when used irresponsibly.

      That’s why most people don’t want their kids using either one. Doesn’t mean adults can’t. This is about YOUTH use, hence the name of their group.

      • Ruth

        Please do not put alcohol and pot together as equal risks. Thousands of people every year die from alcohol overdose. Not one person has ever died from pot overdose. Pot is just a weed that has a narcotic effect.

    • Harry

      Well they have a police officer presenting, so they will no doubt cite marijuana’s illegality as reason to steer clear of marijuana. This hardly justifies maintaining a hard line on marijuana. NIDA produces tax-payer funded junk science, so you can also expect some dubious “scientific” claims like the famous monkey experiment wherein monkeys were axphyxiated with cannabis smoke and (surprise!) suffered brain damage – as a result of oxygen deprivation.

  • Ballstonian

    “Young man with extensive experience with marijuana use in Northern Virginia” — did they find him in Clarendon?

    For such a progressive county, this whole thing is really an embarrassment. I’m almost inclined to show up with facts showing how small a percent of marijuana enthusiasts the scary conditions (psychosis, etc.) actually apply to. (Especially relative to alcohol)

    • Trev

      Hey brah, it’s me! It’s part of reducing my sentence when I go to jail next week.

    • Ren

      Is “extensive experience with MJ use in NoVa” more topical than same in other parts of the DMV or beyond? If one of the panel supports marijuana use, could make for a very lively debate!

    • Say it Ain’t So

      Totally. The ‘Young man’ is probably a born-again who was brain washed into repenting… I say stick with alcohol folks – teach about how messed up that can make you in comparison.

    • Harry

      I agree. It is an embarrassment. Marijuana laws are based on racist xenophobia, not health outcomes. Instead of focusing on lethal alcohol or the growing use of prescription drugs, Arlington County is bolstering a misguided culture war. Naturally it’s all about “the children,” at least until they turn 18 after which these modern day inquisitors are seemingly content with branding youth who choose marijuana over martinis as criminals for life. Lest anyone think marijuana prohibition is a public health campaign, let me remind all that criminal records are not ideal health interventions. The culture wars are apparently alive and well in Arlington and we’re unfortunately on the wrong side in this case.

      • FecalForfeiture

        Methinks you made a hard left back there in Albequerque.
        One too many Howard Zinn books on your shelf

    • drax

      You can do better than that. Show up high!

    • Lavra

      @Ballstonian, that’s exactly why I’m going.

  • MrMeow

    People like to conveniently forget that smoking anything can cause lung cancer and also the link between pot and schizophrenia.

    • Libby

      Noooooooo. Only tobacco smoke is bad. Even if it comes from the neighbor three doors down.

    • Chris

      Mr. Meow: Sorry, but your argument about lung cancer is irrelevant. If that was the standard for banning substances, this would be a very different country. And as for the link with schizophrenia, that is correlation, and just as likely due to the possibility of self-medication (i.e., reverse causation). Marijuana has been shown to relieve a host of symptoms for various mental and physical diseases.

    • hellohello

      actually, recent studies have shown that while yes, inhaling smoke from plant matter can be harmful, given that most people who smoke cannabis do so much more infrequently their lungs are in some cases stronger than non-smokers and are less prone to lung cancer. Additionally, the added tars and toxins that are in cigarettes are not present in cannabis. Lastly, cannabis doesn’t need to be smoked to feel its effects, in fact, edibles are broken down differently by the liver and cause the effects to last much longer

    • BoredHouseWife

      I will guide you to a book called Monkey Luv.

  • AtownWill

    Legalise it. This will prevent kids from being beat up or killed for wanting to try it or consume it while not harming anybody else. unlike alcohol, you dont know what you are doing and in some cases see more drink and drive issue over marijuana abuse. Common sense folks, you rather have someone in chill state of mind than someone who is drunk and can go and kill him or her self and anybody else on streets. cmon man.

    • Captain_Obvious

      you do realize that different substances (alcohol, pot, etc…) affect people differently.

      • Harry

        Yes – alcohol is the drug most closely associated with violent behavior. It kills more people via overdose than all illegal drugs combined. Marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death. The primary harms associated with marijuana stem from the plant’s illegality.

        • drax

          I’d say the greatest risk for both is addiction. If you can use them in moderation, they’re pretty safe, but some people can’t. I know I’m lucky not to be an alcoholic – I’ve certainly given alcoholism every opportunity.

          I think pot should be legal btw.

  • Obvious Captain

    And tax it Arlington! Another source of revenue on top of issuing parking tickets. And we can have street trolleys up the wazzu

    • DutchBoy

      Yes! just like Home!

    • ex-lax

      ” And we can have street trolleys up the wazzu”

      Now that would be quite the enema !!

      • Arlingtonienne

        + One billion

  • Major Pup McPuppo Jr.

    i’ll be outside trying to slang to those same teens.

    but srsly. legalize & tax it for 21+ adults. don’t be ridiculous.

  • Brian

    Legalize it, but not in an open fashion like alcohol.
    Background checks on vendors, video from plant to counter, etc.

    Only allowed to smoke at one’s residence, only allowed to transfer in the trunk of a car, etc

    • Josh S

      Aside from the no public consumption, I don’t see why any of the other restrictions would be necessary. It’s hardly more dangerous than alcohol and probably less dangerous, actually.

  • Becoming Indifferent

    Only allow it to be smoked on trolleys and at the aquatic center.

    • Bong head

      And let’s not leave out the Artisphere

  • Captain

    Illegal drugs is a 65 billion dollar industry. The market says people want this. Why are we fighting human nature, instead of seeking the best way to channel this energy to the betterment of society? Why do we allow young punks, gangs, criminal elements and terrorists to make large sums of money illegally off of human nature?

    • MrMeow

      Why is prostitution illegal? Should everything be legalized because “people will do it anyways”??

      • Westover2

        Personally I would like to bring back the ability to purchase human chattel for my own uses, which I am sure would bring in quite a nice bit of revenue for the Assembly with but a moderate tax upon the transaction.

        • drax

          This is about prostitution, not slavery. Different things.

          • Lauren

            Except when it involves human trafficking of course, right?

          • drax

            That goes without saying, Lauren.

      • Major Pup McPuppo Jr.

        … why is prostitution illegal?

        • sunflower

          it’s complicated—but don’t grey wolves mate for life?

          • Major Pup McPuppo Jr.

            ya don’t u worry about me, i’m a monogamous wolf for sure!!

      • Josh S

        Straw man. No one is saying everything that people do should be legal.

        Please stick to the merits or shortcomings of legalizing marijuana itself.

        You can’t deny that efforts to fight marijuana use are an abject failure. Why continue with this tremendous waste of public resources?

        • RWarren

          Strawman. Just because many people use it does not mean that many other people do not due to the public information campaigns.

          • speonjosh

            Are you trying to say that if it were made legal, these public information campaigns would have to stop?
            They would not.

          • RWarren

            No, and I have no idea how you would draw that conclusion from what I typed. My statement stands independent of any issue of legality/illegality. In fact, that was the purpose, to point out that any comment about the efficacy of public information campaigns is a terrible adjunct to the debate over legalizing pot.

          • speonjosh

            Wait, whut?

        • Libby

          I thought smoking was bad. Is only SOME smoking bad?

          • drax

            Smoking is legal.

        • Captain_Obvious

          It’s very complicated.

          • WeiQiang

            I’d like to make a substantive comment about how complicated it is.

      • Harry

        No victim, no crime. Prostitution should be legal. It would remove violent pimps, allow for age and STD controls, and limit transactions to consensual ones between adults. Alcohol prohibition once gave rise to violence and corruption, but that’s no reason to reinstate it. These reefer madness types would have us believe that the collateral damage caused by marijuana prohibition is good reason to maintain the status quo.

  • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

    Won’t somebody please think of the children?

    (Can’t upload iconic Simpsons jpg.)

  • Yay!

    How about at the beer garden, but only when no amplified music is being played?

  • Mary-Austin

    Maybe they should be addressing the root problem which is parents are raising dumb**s kids who are going to harm themselves one way or another.
    What kind of idiot has to go to the ER from smoking pot?
    How about educating kids with correct information about marijuana and alcohol so they grow up to make intelligent, informed decisions for themselves?

    • drax

      Like parents taking their kids to this meeting?

      • PloppaGanda

        She said correct information. There is a subtle difference between correct and
        biased. But your keyboard wouldn’t wait for your brain to process it.

        • drax

          This meeting is all bullsh*t, man!

  • Lois

    Intelligent, informed teens still make dumb decisions that can harm themselves & others. This goes for drinking, driving with other teens, smoking mj, smoking cigarettes, having unprotected sex. If you are a parent, regardless of what you do, at some point you have a teen who does dumb-as-rocks stuff.

    • sunflower

      amen to that–one of our offspring got hold of some very bad (or very good) mj in college and whipped up some brownies. Result was a trip to remember for all–scared them $h1tle$$ and made them much wiser.

  • Mary-Austin

    Somehow I don’t think an ER doctor from INOVA, someone from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an Arlington police officer, and a young man with extensive experience with marijuana use in Northern Virginia (really?) are going to offer the entire truth on what marijuana is, the real reasons behind prohibition etc.
    All this kind of thing does is make kids want to rebel and smoke pot.

    • drax

      What are the “real” reasons?

      • Mary-Austin

        Why don’t you do some research into the war on drugs instead of acting like a stuck up child on here.
        You’re not impressing anyone with your unproductive yet condescending comments.

  • Coraline

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with teaching minors that the use of any mind or mood altering substance can have harmful and negative consequences. Chemicals of many kinds have a different and oftentimes more intense effect on younger brains and bodies. Combine that with the natural thrill seeking and boundary testing of your average teen and you have some serious problems with alcohol or drugs of any kind.

    BUT! Young people are not stupid. Filling their heads with extreme exaggeration and even outright lies will only serve to cause them to ignore the entire message. Wild claims about long term mental illness, a life long dependency on hard drugs after one hit off a joint, or other complete garbage just makes it that much worse for those of us trying to actually help teens learn to think for themselves to arrive at healthy decisions.

    • drax

      “Filling their heads with extreme exaggeration and even outright lies will only serve to cause them to ignore the entire message.”

      Sure, but is there any evidence that they will get lied to at this meeting?

      • Mary-Austin

        Yes, plenty.

        Is there evidence they will be given unbiased information at this event? I do not see any.

  • BoredHouseWife

    they just need to legalize it and stop treating the citizenry like their idiots/prisoners

    • BoredHouseWife

      woops they’re

  • MissKittenCat

    will teens really go to this event? aren’t they busy smoking pot?

  • Hmm

    READY is carte blanche against someone using a prescribed medicinal form of marijuana (in form of an oil) to treat adverse conditions of chemo and cancer? Clearly they have not seen someone in chemo treatment.

    • drax

      Are they against it? Or are you just assuming that?

      • Hmmm

        I simply read the first two paragraphs of the article. I didn’t assume anything.

    • Mary-Austin

      Exactly. This is the type of group that continues to put out propaganda about how terrible marijuana is while failing to recognize it may have any legitimate purpose.

      I still don’t understand why an ER doctor would be speaking at this event other than to somehow misinform children they may need to go to the ER from smoking pot.

  • ted

    Regarding the War on Drugs, why is so much being spent on teen sports if teen sports aren’t proven to be an effective deterrent to controlled substance use by teens?

  • Cheech

    Dude, VAPORISE!

  • Dick Kennedy

    There is no disagreement that kids should not be using any drugs, but we owe it to them to provide accurate information and the logical place is to start is the number of deaths:
    Tobacco kills approximately 440,000 people annually in the US
    Alcohol kills approximately 100,000
    Marijuana kills approximately zero
    (It’s presumably not exactly zero–there must be some marijuana-caused traffic fatalities, for example. But the number is too small to be detected in epidemiological studies.)
    If you doubt those numbers, try checking them at the CDC, NIDA, SAMHSA, Merck Pharmaceuticals, or any other reliable source.

    • Question

      When are they going to hold the forum “Alcohol in Arlington: What’s the big deal?”?


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