Letter: Legalized pot sends wrong message to kids

Published: 11/25/2018 12:01:12 AM

New Hampshire is considering following its neighbors and legalizing recreational marijuana. However, this could have many downsides for New Hampshire.

No matter how popular this drug may be, it is clear there are many negative effects to marijuana use. Marijuana affects attention, memory and learning, and marijuana use is proven to negatively impact young people. Further, as a prevention specialist working with high school-aged students, I worry about the increasing perception that marijuana is harmless. When the risk of harm is perceived as low, then the use goes up.

The capital region already has an issue with its youth using marijuana and other drugs, and if marijuana becomes legal it will be viewed as being less harmful than it truly is to a developing brain.

I have very open and frank discussions with the students I see, and a theme that comes up constantly is that “if pot was so bad, other states wouldn’t have already legalized it.” And “don’t worry it was ‘only’ pot at the party this weekend.” Again, this goes back to the perception of harm and how this directly influences use. Capital-area families are already struggling with a multitude of issues around substance use/misuse and legalizing recreational marijuana would only add fuel to this already raging fire.

There has yet to be enough research to prove that marijuana is safe, and there have certainly been negative effects in states that have legalized this harmful drug. Why should New Hampshire jump into the unknown while we are already dealing with another substance use crisis? We should wait to see more research from states with legal recreational marijuana before we make a decision we may regret.



(The writer is a student assistance program counselor at Concord High School.)

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