Impact of the ‘Marijuana Experiment’

Two Pieces of Bad News about Pot Legalization —  Rates of Marijuana Poisoning Skyrocket Among Colorado Kids & Stoned Driving Increases in Washington Since “Retail Legalization”

Two significant studies released this weekend showed continuing problems of legalized marijuana in Colorado and Washington State. The first study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that marijuana poisoning cases among children in Colorado has been rising an average of 34 percent per year — almost double the average 19 percent annual increase in the rest of the United States.  The second study, conducted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, found a statistically significant increase in daytime stoned driving in Washington State since its implementation of legal retail marijuana sales in 2014.

With respect to the Colorado study, about half of the cases of child marijuana poisoning involved edible pot products. The average stay at the hospital was 11 hours.  Moreover, the researchers concluded that, “Almost half of the patients seen in the children’s hospital in the 2 years after legalization had exposures from recreational marijuana, suggesting that legalization did affect the incidence of exposures.”

In Washington State, researchers conducted voluntary, anonymous drug tests of drivers via oral and blood tests, and found that more drivers tested THC-positive one year after implementation of the retail sales law than immediately before. Statistically significant increases were observed among daytime drivers, where that rate more than doubled from before implementation of legalization laws (7.8%) to one year after retail legalization was implemented (18.9%).  Stoned driving at night also increased in the same time period (17.5% to 22.2%), although this difference was not statistically significant. Overall, more than one in five drivers tested positive for marijuana one year after implementation.

“A powerful marijuana industry lobby has emerged in Colorado and Washington — stopping at nothing to block restrictions on advertising and promoting marijuana candies — and now we are paying the price,” said Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “Other states should look at the example Colorado and Washington offer when considering whether or not to legalize and commercialize marijuana. The best intentions do not matter — once legalized, the industry takes over and writes the rules.”

Jo McGuire, co-chair of SAM’s Colorado affiliate and president & CEO of 5 Minutes of Courage, a Colorado advocacy group for drug-free communities, workplaces, and youth, also commented, “It’s not surprising that we’re experiencing these problems.  We have made pot use more socially acceptable for everyone. Other states shouldn’t follow our example.”

For more information about marijuana policy, please visit

New Data Shows Colorado Youth Marijuana Use on the Rise Since Legalization

SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) Press Release:

(Alexandria, VA) – A new state-funded report out of Colorado today found that marijuana use among high school students is on the rise in Colorado since legalization, while youth cigarette use has declined.  This rise is a result of particularly pronounced increases among juniors and seniors, whose last-month pot use rose from 22.1 to 26.3 percent (juniors) and from 24.3 to 27.8 percent (seniors).

The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) found that though marijuana use rose among high school students, cigarette use fell. Since 2013, monthly cigarette consumption among that demographic fell just over two percentage points, from 10.7 to 8.6 percent, while monthly pot use rose almost as many percentage points in the same timeframe — from 19.7 to 21.2 percent — reversing a four-year decline that ended after Colorado legalized the drug in late 2012. 

While the HKCS also found Colorado high school youth rates were on par with national rates from the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavioral Study (YRBS), a more comprehensive National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that Colorado ranks first in the nation for marijuana use by 12-17 year-olds, well above the national average:

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“A powerful marijuana industry lobby has emerged that sued Colorado to stop restrictions on advertising to protect children, and is now pushing back against municipal regulations to keep pot stores away from schools and day care facilities in other states,” said Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM). “Now that Colorado has legalized and widely commercialized marijuana, unfortunately their children use marijuana more than children in any other state.”

Jo McGuire, co-chair of SAM’s Colorado affiliate and president & CEO of 5 Minutes of Courage, a Colorado advocacy group for drug-free communities, workplaces, and youth, also commented, “It’s not surprising that youth use has increased in our state since legalization.  We have made pot use more socially acceptable for kids without setting up any serious, organized educational campaign on the harms of getting high.  This will really hurt our state in the long run.”

For more information about marijuana policy, please visit


Ohio SPF-PFS Intent to Apply Sessions

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) is hosting two Intent to Apply sessions to support to support the Ohio Strategic Prevention Framework Partnership for Success (SPF-PFS) Grant Opportunity.

The purpose of the project is to fund rural and Appalachian communities for up to three-years to engage in the Strategic Prevention Framework, Partnership for Success (SPF-PFS) initiative. The Intent to Apply will provide interested communities with additional information about the project.

While not required to apply, attendance is strongly encouraged. Each session will be held from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.





Regional Learning Collaboratives – Register Today!

Ohio’s Regional Learning Collaboratives (RLCs) are designed to offer guidance and support as Ohio’s prevention professionals seek and obtain their Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist credentials.

For additional information and to register, please select the date and location below:

Each meeting will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 4.0 CEUs have been approved.

For questions or additional information, please contact Stacey Gibson at or 419.334.6395.


The OhioMHAS Office of Prevention and Wellness has issued the SFY 2017 Strategic Prevention Framework Partnership for Success Sub-recipients Request for Proposals. OhioMHAS is offering grant funds to support the Partnership for Success initiative through this competitive RFP.

Proposals must be submitted electronically to by noon on Sept 2. All questions must be submitted to by Aug. 19 at noon. Responses will be posted to the OhioMHAS Funding Opportunities webpage.

Strategic Framework Partnership for Success RFP

RFP Application Template

Latest OSAM Network Trend Report Available

OhioMHAS-Square_125pngThe Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network today released its most recent drug trend report Surveillance of Drug Abuse Trends in the State of Ohio: June 2015 – January 2016. The Network consists of eight regional epidemiologists, located in Akron-Canton, Athens, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown, who conduct focus groups and individual qualitative interviews with active and recovering drug users and community professionals (treatment providers, law enforcement officials, etc.) to produce epidemiological descriptions of local substance abuse trends. Qualitative findings are supplemented with available statistical data such as coroner’s reports and crime laboratory data.