School leaders fear how Washington’s new pot law will affect kids
Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction is concerned about a possible increase in use of marijuana by young people, particularly following the passage of Initiative 502, which legalizes possession of small quantities of the drug for adults.
School officials around the state report they’re seeing a rise in pot possession among young people since the passage of Initiative 502.
“There’s really a mixed message there,” says Denise Fitch, a drop-out prevention specialist in the office of the state schools superintendent. “Time will tell how this thing all plays out but I think we need to be aware as school folks that marijuana use doesn’t have any business on campus.”
Fitch said the legalization of marijuana comes on top of cuts to school drug prevention programs, which statistics show have been effective in reducing drug use among young people.
“When the funding goes away, we see use rates climb and perception of harm go down,” she says.
Schools just finished the 2012 Healthy Youth Survey, which includes questions about drug use. Results come out in March.
Schools Superintendent Randy Dorn says the new law legalizing marijuana does not change the law prohibiting possession or use of marijuana on school grounds, on school buses at bus stops and at other school-related activities.