In 2012 Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana. Just now, three years later, many negative effects of this choice are being discovered. One of the most concerning is the impact legalization has had on adolescents in Colorado. Although it is illegal for minors to use, CBS4 Denver reported, “over 11 percent of Colorado’s 12 to 17 year-olds use pot.” If we vote to legalize marijuana in Ohio in November, this could be our reality too.
This high rate of teen drug users could partly be due to the media–both social media and advertising media. According to a 7News Denver article, one expert identified YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as social media platforms on which drugs gets advertised as being cool. This is undeniably accurate! Take a minute to think about all the music videos that feature casual drug usage. These videos are practically a celebrity endorsement for marijuana. Also via social media, a teen could see their classmate post about using drugs. Drug use has now gone from being a celebrity habit to a local habit. The bottom line is social media normalizes drug use. The more frequently drugs appear on social media, the less dangerous and harmful these drugs seem.
Media sources local to Denver also play a role in glamorizing marijuana, as parents reported to CBS4 they’re worried their children are noticing “messages promoting pot all over town.” If promotional marijuana ads are commonplace to children, it is conceivable that actual marijuana will eventually become commonplace to them as well. We don’t want marijuana to be commonplace with anybody, nonetheless with minors.
When people become addicted to drugs, these drugs become their coping mechanism. Every time they have an issue, they turn to drugs rather than facing the actual problem. However, drug use just leads to more issues–family relation and friendship tensions, financial problems, health concerns. In turn, these issues lead to more drug use. It’s a never-ending cycle. It’s tragic. It’s even more tragic that social media and advertising in Colorado encourages this cycle to begin at a young age.
At Sojourner, it’s our goal to break the cycle for our clients of all ages. Sojourner provides immediate, short-term drug treatment, but we also provide long-term support through teaching clients coping skills to face their problems in a healthy manner.
Our goal is to end the cycle of drug use, not perpetuate it. So come November, we strongly urge you to vote against the legalization of marijuana. Vote no to Issue 3.