#Washingtonstate, #cannabis, #RickGarza; #LarryWolk
Ottawa, May 29 (Canadian-Media): Washington state in 2014 became the world's first system for legally growing, processing and retailing cannabis, media reports said.
As Canada prepares to go live with pot sales in a few months, there is a looming fear in the minds of the parents of the harmful impact of cannabis can have on children.
But according to official reports it was revealed that even after the legalization of cannabis in Washington state in 2014, the percentage of the youth using cannabis remained the same as it was before cannabis was legalized.
Before legalization, 17 percent of Grade 10 students in Washington State said they had smoked pot in the previous month. Four years after legalisation also only 17 percent of Grade 10 students reported that they have smoked pot in the previous month.
“We thought we would see a significant increase in teen use,” said Rick Garza, director of the Washington State Liquor Control and Cannabis Board. “But what the kids will tell you is that they didn’t need adults to legalize it to get their hands on cannabis.”
This four years of practical, hands-on experience in the western United States reportedly throws light that parents should not worry about the impact of cannabis on children and teens.
Many teens experiment with marijuana, as they do with alcohol, but only a minority use them semi-regularly.
The of legal age for purchase (21 in Washington State, 18-19 in Canada) doesn’t make much difference.
“It was really easy to get a medical card,” Mr. Garza noted. “We estimate that only about 20 per cent of medical users were using for medical reasons.”
Larry Wolk, Colorado’s Chief Medical Officer, made a similar observation. “About 97 per cent of medical cannabis users are 20-year-old snowboarders with chronic debilitating pain,” he said with a laugh.
Dr Larry Wolk. Image credit: Twitter handle
At the same time, Wolk pointed the many legitimate uses for medical cannabis, but more research is needed to determine effective strains and doses.
Wolk said that the most reassuring news for lawmakers in Canada is that legalization of cannabis has had virtually no impact on public health in Colorado or other states.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)