Zero-Tolerance School Drug Policies Only Make Drug Use Worse, A Study Finds

WASHINGTON:  There’s nothing like getting kicked out of school to make a kid start jonesing for some weed.

That’s the implication of a new study published last week in the American Journal of Public Health. The authors found that “students attending schools with suspension policies for illicit drug use were 1.6 times more likely than their peers at schools without such policies to use marijuana in the next year.” That result held for the student body as a whole — not just for kids who were suspended.

The study crunched numbers from the International Youth Development Survey, which surveyed representative samples of 7th and 9th grade students in Washington State and Victoria, Australia — two places that are demographically similar, but where schools take drastically different approaches to drug use.

Those approaches are summarized below. “Washington school policies have been more oriented toward total abstinence and more frequently enforced with harsh punishment (such as expulsion or calling law enforcement),” the authors write, “whereas policies in Victoria schools have been more reflective of harm minimization principles.”

Georgia Boy Among First To Receive Experimental Medical Marijuana Drug

GEORGIA:  A 7-year-old boy is one of the first people in the country to receive a potent form of medical marijuana as part of an “extended use” clinical trial to reduce seizures.

Preston Weaver, who lives in Athens, Georgia, has Lennox-Gastaut syndrome which is a severe form of epilepsy. He experiences up to 100 seizures a day, although many are confined to his brain and aren’t noticeable to an observer. There is no known cure for the condition.

Many of the drugs available to treat the syndrome don’t work long term, especially for children. Even with more than a dozen medications Weaver has had no relief.

The active ingredient in Epidiolex, the experimental drug that Weaver and one other child are receiving, is called cannabidiol. It’s also the main active ingredient in marijuana though it doesn’t produce a high.

Cannabis Mom: 8 Things You’re Getting Wrong About Parents Who Use Pot

COLORADO:  It is now legal to buy marijuana for recreational use both in Colorado, and as of this week, Washington State. Diane Fornbacher, a long-time cannabis activist and mom of two boys, 11 and 5, would like to clear up some common misconceptions about parenting and using pot. 

1. No, I don’t deal weed out of my house.
I live in Colorado, where I can safely and legally purchase cannabis as a responsible, tax-paying citizen in a safe environment at a licensed facility that has a security team, checks my identification to see if I am an adult, and tests their cannabis for quality, molds and pesticides. The taxes from my purchases go to our state’s schools to improve education. That makes me a happy, conscientious customer.

2. No, I won’t sell you weed at school when we’re picking up our kids.
Some joker saw me on the news and thought it was amusing to ask me, loudly, the next day at the elementary school during pickup, if he could get some marijuana. Not funny. While some activists are parents who have dispensaries and do sell it legally, I am not one of them and I most certainly would not even think about doing that at a school. Time and place, buddy.