Marijuana: Task force addiction expert warns about parties, cartoon ads, thirdhand smoke
One idea, Thurstone says, is having a state agency in charge of recreational marijuana, which he says would help "take away some of the profit motive."
That could curb dangerous advertising, for example.
Beyond these areas of commercialization, he's worried about some of the problems he sees on a regular basis in his profession being amplified by legalization.
"Second-hand marijuana smoke exposure -- what should we do about that?" he says.
And third-hand smoking, too, which refers to impacts from smoke that stays on someone's clothes or hands and that can affect someone else in contact with that person. "When you go smoke outside, smoke is on your jacket," he says. "You're still exposing the baby to the chemicals that are on your jacket."
Another concern he raised at the meeting was about "social host issues," which he says is a major problem in his clinical work. This, he says, refers to "parents having the attitude that it's okay if my kid uses alcohol and marijuana as long as they are using it under...supervision in the house, and not driving and doing dangerous things."
He continues, "That can lead to parties in houses where lots of kids are using."
Thurstone says there are state laws around this that make parents liable, but adds that local municipalities can have more specific and harsher ordinances that, for instance, establish liability for parents even if they are unknowingly allowing youth to smoke pot.
"I'm proposing that we discuss this," Thurstone says. "I don't know exactly what the best solution is. I don't think it's a wise choice in general...[to say], 'It's ok for my kids to use marijuana in my house.'"
Warning labels and tamper-proof packaging on marijuana are also a must, he says, so that women who are pregnant are warned of the harms and so that pre-schoolers cannot accidentally be exposed to marijuana.
There are members of the task force who likely share his concerns -- as well as others who no doubt disagree quite strongly with him in many of these areas.
Supporters of 64 -- and there is one A64 representative on the governor's task force -- note that a lot of these challenges can be addressed with regulations similar to alcohol, which proponents have long argued is more dangerous than marijuana. In the months leading up to Election Day, the opponents and backers of the bill frequently debated the science and statistics behind the merits of legalization with both sides regularly throwing out studies to bolster their arguments.
Ultimately, Thurstone says, "When you talk about marijuana, it's young people who are disproportionately affected by marijuana-related problems."
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