February is Marijuana Awareness Month . . .
Because of the recent legalization of marijuana for recreational use in both Washington and Colorado, the Metuchen Youth Alliance is concerned that some of our peers may think that smoking marijuana is harmless and not a big deal. This fact sheet has been prepared to send the message that marijuana may be legal in some places, but it's still not safe.
· The recreational use of marijuana is NOT legal in New Jersey and in 47 other states. It is also NOT legal under federal law, even in Washington and Colorado.
· Marijuana has a long-lasting, negative impact on your developing brain, causing structural and functional deficits.
· Short-term effects of marijuana use include euphoria, distorted perceptions, memory impairment, and difficulty thinking and solving problems.
· Long-term marijuana abuse can lead to addiction.
· Marijuana smokers show deregulated growth of epithelial cells in their lung tissue, which could lead to cancer.
· Today's marijuana is very potent: The mean concentration of THC, the psychoactive ingredient, in confiscated cannabis more than doubled between 1993 and 2008. THC interferes with learning and memory.
· Approximately 90% of addictions have roots in the teenage years. Research shows that the earlier you start using marijuana, the more likely you are to become dependent on it or other types of drugs later in life.
- Each day approximately 6,000 Americans try marijuana for the first time.
- Almost 25% of the nation's high school seniors say they have smoked marijuana in the past month, and 36% admit using the drug in the past year.
- Among 10th graders, 3.5% report using marijuana daily, while 17% in the past month, and 28% in the past year.
- Among 8th, 10th and 12th graders 41.7% view occasional use of marijuana as dangerous, and 66.9 percent view regular use as harmful. These rates are the lowest since 1991.
· Among 12th graders, 20.6% view occasional marijuana use as risky, the lowest rate since 1983. Among this group, 44.1% view regular use as harmful.
· The statistics above show that not "everyone" is smoking pot. In fact, more than half the teenagers surveyed do not. People should not feel pressured into trying marijuana.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. " Monitoring the Future Survey." December 2012.
For more information, see www.monitoringthefuture.org
Metuchen Municipal Alliance/ Youth Alliance. February 2013.(http://metuchennj.org/municipal_alliance_committee.html