The Grass Isn’t Always Greener


Lucy Bailey, Associate Editor

Colorado and Washington have recently legalized recreational use of marijuana. Things have been running rather smoothly for both states..

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper thinks marijuana sales will bring in more than $600 million a year with $134 million in taxes. Washington can expect to take in $157 million in the next two-year budget cycle, state revenue forecaster Steve Lerch predicts. The drug’s legalization caused a stunning 20-percent drop in juvenile arrests in California between 2010 and 2011, according to research from the Center of Juvenile & Criminal Justice. Another new study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, shows that the suicide rate among men ages 20-29 and 30-39 fell by 10.8 percent and 9.8 percent respectively following a given state’s decision to legalize medical marijuana.

According to the New York Times, 51 percent of Americans believe the drug should be legal. Likely to follow Colorado and Washington in outright legalization are Oregon and Alaska, but the states are wary to take action without seeing results in the already legalized states.

However, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. A recent survey has found a very small but growing number of children seeking treatment after accidentally consuming the drug. The popularity of edible marijuana has alarmed parent groups, schools and doctors. They say the highly concentrated snacks are increasingly landing in the hands of teenagers looking for a sweet subtle high or of children too young to know the difference between pot brownies and regular ones.

“The edible products are inherently more attractive than what a bud would look like,” says a Colorado doctor. In one case in the Northern Colorado city of Longmont, two year old Evelyn Hernandez came across a ‘cookie’ in the grass; her mother began to notice that Evelyn was drowsy and struggling to walk. She was promptly taken to the hospital. Sure enough, the toddler tested positive for THC.

So, as predicted, legalization of marijuana is a gamble. We’ll have to stay tuned to see the turnout. But if Bill Gates voted to legalize it, it’s okay. Right?