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News :: Colorado expert delivers warning about marijuana at Vinton meeting
· 12:32pm October 9th, 2013
During the last month, 25 percent of Denver high school students have gotten in a car driven by someone who was using marijuana obtained through that state's medical marijuana program.
That was just one of the statistics that Dr. Christian Thurstone shared during a "Truth About Marijuana" event Tuesday evening at Tilford Elementary.
Nearly 50 people, including school officials, parents and law enforcement officers, listened as Dr. Thurstone spoke about the rise in marijuana abuse in his state since medical marijuana became legal in 2009.
Dr. Thurstone is one of fewer than three dozen physicians in the United Stateswho are board-certified in general, child and adolescent and addictions psychiatry. He is medical director of one of Colorado’s largest youth substance-abuse-treatment clinics and an associate professor of psychiatry at the Universityof Colorado Denver, where he conducts research on youth substance use and addiction.
Thurstone cited studies from throughout the world that indicated that impact that marijuana has on people, particularly children and adolescents. He also spoke about more changes and concerns he has about the future; beginning in 2014, marijuana will be legally available for purchase in edible forms.
"The same way that tobacco companies marketed their products to young people, the marijuana companies are targeting youth," he said, as he displayed copies of advertisements that used young female models. The sellers of these products have names such as "Herbal Wellness," attempting to show the health benefits of using marijuana.
But, said Thurstone, only 10 percent of Colorado doctors have issued certificates for medical marijuana. And, he alleges, one of the reasons that the doctors who do issue those certificates (which cosst $100 each) is for profit.
"One doctor issued 2,500 certificates in a two-day period," he said.
Medical marijuana sent to distributors in Colorado has been intercepted in the mail headed to several states, including Iowa. Another problem is that those who have medical marijuana certificates are passing the drug to teenagers there.
The current law makes it difficult for that state's medical ethics regulators to investigate abuse, he adds.
The result of the medical marijuana law, says Thurstone, is a "culture of marijuana" that leads to addiction and other health problems.
Yet, he said, there was and is a strong and well-funded effort to legalize marijuana in Colorado, and many people are traveling the country promoting the use of marijuana, both for medical and recreational purposes
See Dr. Thurstone's slide show from his web site HERE.
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