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Taylorville, IL 62568
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SHERIFF BRUCE KETTELKAMP PHONE (217) 824-4961
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FROM THE SHERIFF’S DESK VOL 3, NR 3
By Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp
A CRITICAL TIME FOR MARIJUANA LAWS.
The Illinois legislature is considering House Bill 1 that would create the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act.
Presently, there are 18 states and the District of Columbia, which have such laws in force. In 15 of these states, some or all patients and their caregivers can cultivate their own marijuana crop. And of course, Washington State and Colorado have made recreational use of the drug legal in their states.
Executive Director Greg Sullivan of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association notes that every state that has passed “medical cannabis” laws has had significant problems in controlling the illegal drug trade and holding the line on youth’s access to cannabis.
He says that these laws basically send the wrong message to our youth because they think it means “If its medicine, it can’t hurt you.”
There’s no question that the last thing we want to see is an increase in ready availability of marijuana for young people.
Many medical and law-enforcement people agree with this concern. Dr. Mitchell Rosenthal is a prominent child psychiatrist and the founder of Phoenix House. It is the nation’s largest non-profit substance abuse treatment and prevention organization. In a recent nationally published article, he wrote, “Granny may be smoking it for glaucoma, but there is nothing benign about the effects of pot on the juvenile brain. Whatever its legal status, pot is not harmless.”
And of course, growth in the available marijuana crop means problems with adults too.
Colorado, for example, in 2010 had slightly over 2% of their population having a medical marijuana ID card. Based on that, if Illinois had these cards reaching qualified people in the same proportion the total number would likely be 270,000.
And these 270,000 people would be qualified to drive under the influence of marijuana. The proposed law would allow a qualified medical marijuana patient to drive with an unlimited amount of marijuana in their system unless they are “impaired.”
According to research, a single marijuana joint with a moderate THC level can impair a person’s ability to drive for more than 24 hours. It can slow reaction time, impair motor coordination, limit short-term memory, and make it difficult to concentrate and perform complex tasks.
If the law ends up allowing 18-year-olds, high-school seniors, to get medical marijuana cards and to drive, it would be a catastrophe.
How big a problem would that be? One survey indicates that during the past 12 months, 20.3% of 12th graders and 6.2% of 10th graders admitted that they had driven when using marijuana or other illegal drugs. That number would certainly increase.
HB1 allows a qualifying medical cannabis patient or caregiver to get 2.5 ounces of cannabis every 14-day period. An 18-year old person can apply for a medical cannabis card. Eighteen-year-olds, high school seniors, can get medical marijuana cards without a parent’s permission. As a qualified patient the student can get 2.5 ounces of marijuana every 14 days. This is the equivalent of receiving 183 joints or 13 per day. Just how high would this be?
Even the most experienced marijuana all-day-long drug user smokes on average only 3 or 4 joints a day. As a matter of fact, smoking 3 or 4 joints a day would leave him student with roughly 145 joints to sell or share. The patient could sell the remaining joints of marijuana for $250 to $550.The results of these sales would quickly become a problem for schools and communities.
There are receptors in our head that react to THC and the more you smoke the more these shut down.
Marijuana impairs cognitive and psychomotor performance. It can slow reaction time, impair motor coordination, limit short-term memory, and make it difficult to concentrate and perform complex tasks.
Marijuana use makes it difficult to judge distances and react to signals and sounds on the road.
University of Washington School of Medicine working with the Seattle Children’s Foundation explains that euphoria, relaxation, and altered perception occur 15-30 minutes after inhalation.
Immediate effects typically last 1-3 hours if inhaled.
Possible adverse initial effects include thought distortion, anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations and paranoia.
BAD FACTS ABOUT POT
These statements are from several studies conducted on the topic of marijuana and youngsters.
*The younger people are when they begin using marijuana, especially before the age of 21; the likelier they are to become addicted to an addictive substance.
*Regular marijuana users often develop breathing problems. Smoking five marijuana cigarettes is equal to smoking a full pack of tobacco cigarettes. And there is 50-70% more cancer-causing material in marijuana smoke than in cigarette smoke.
*For young users, marijuana can lead to increased anxiety panic attacks, depression, and other mental health problems. For those already prone to depression or anxiety attacks, marijuana use may accelerate or exacerbate problems.
*A British mental health organization reported there had been a 60% increase in people who had smoked cannabis and had mental problems in the last five years.
* A roadside study of reckless drivers who were not impaired by alcohol showed that 45% tested positive for marijuana.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
The most important thing to do is to contact your Illinois Representative and tell him your concerns. Enlist family members and your friends. Explain why this act, if it should result in large scale usage in our young people, would create damage that would never be undone.
Ask them to help us avoid the truly alarming results that have now occurred so widely.
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