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Medical Marijuana

By: Peggy Senentz on Feb 2, 2014

Medical Pot on Ballot: Children at Risk from Pot

[Tampa Bay Times article from January 30, 2014]

“Voters should reject ‘medical marijuana’ on the ballot in November.  I saw firsthand the damage it can do during my nine years as a juvenile judge in Pinellas County.  Adolescents who used marijuana appeared before me paranoid, unfocused, depressed, chronically truant from school, mean and rebellious at home, fighting with parents and siblings.  When I would send them to drug court to be educated, they would fall asleep.

Nothing in the ‘medi pot’ ballot language prohibits minors from obtaining a ‘referral’ for marijuana.  All they need is a ‘condition’.  Ironically, that ‘condition’ could be the very depression and paranoia linked to marijuana usage.

The American Psychiatric Association has taken the position that adolescents are particularly vulnerable to harm, given the effects of cannabis on neurological development.  There is plenty of evidence that the more marijuana is available, the more it will fall into the hands of our youth.

The sad kids in my courtroom most often used marijuana to mask the effects of abuse, neglect and feelings of inadequacy.  It wasn’t a fun ‘high’.  These kids need adult help, counseling; tutoring and mentoring.  They need hope, not dope.

For the sake of our kids, vote ‘no’ to marijuana in November.”

Irene Sullivan
Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge, Retired
(Pinellas Park)