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Stunning Increase in Marijuana Exposures among Children Ages 5 or Younger
The rate of marijuana exposures among children younger than six increased by 147.5 percent in the United States between 2000 and 2013, finds a new study published in Clinical Pediatrics.
Of even more concern, in states that have legalized medical marijuana, the rate increased nearly 610 percent over that time.
A total of 1,969 such exposures occurred, or 5.9 per million children. More than three-fourths of the children exposed were younger than age 3 (average age one and one-half).
The data come from the National Poison Data System, a database maintained and continuously updated by poison control centers across the US. Some 75 percent of the children were exposed by ingesting edible marijuana products, both those produced commercially and in the home. The marijuana-infused candy corn pictured above illustrates a recipe featured in Edibles Magazine.
Almost half of the children exposed to marijuana were managed at a health care facility, according to the original text of the study. Of those, some 29 percent were treated and released, 12 percent were admitted to a noncritical care unit, and 7 percent were admitted to a critical care unit.
The most common clinical effects seen were drowsiness or lethargy, ataxia [failure of muscle coordination], agitation or irritability, and confusion. Serious effects included coma, respiratory depression, and single or multiple seizures. All the coma cases occurred in children ages 3 or younger.
The researchers recommend that states that may legalize marijuana for medical or recreational use in the future include the same measures used to protect children from medicines and dangerous chemicals via the Poisoning Prevention Packaging Act of 1970. They urge marijuana-using parents to keep all marijuana products, including marijuana-infused foods, out of sight and under lock and key.
Read study summary here. Read full text of study here.
Colorado Finally Requires Medical Marijuana
to be Tested for Contaminants, Potency
Colorado legalized marijuana for medical use in 2000 but did not require growers or processors to test their “medicines” for either contaminants or potency. SB 260 finally remedies that omission. It is one of 12 bills, out of 30 proposed, that the legislature passed this year to deal with a burgeoning medical and recreational legal pot industry.
Other measures include HB 1305, which prohibits everyone except licensed marijuana businesses from making marijuana concentrates. The goal is to prevent home explosions that are occurring across the state when people use hazardous chemicals to make hash oils.
A third measure, SB 14, cracks down on caregivers by requiring them to register with the state and limiting the number of marijuana plants they can grow to 99 in an effort to curtail Colorado’s black market.
Read a summary of what all twelve new laws do here.
Parents Opposed to Pot Investigates How Some Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Operate
A reporter visited 20 different medical marijuana dispensaries in Arizona and Colorado and learned quite a bit that was disturbing. First, the reporter acquired a certification.
“Anyone can obtain one. Just say you have pain, no proof required; headaches qualified me,” notes the reporter.
Quite a few dispensary staff (called budtenders) denied that marijuana is addictive. The reporter asked if budtenders had heard of “severe cannabis-use disorder” and got replies like these:
“Never heard of it.”
“No such thing.”
“That is just anti-cannabis lobby talk.”
“It’s just a billing code for a doctor to be reimbursed by health insurance.” [Health insurance does not cover marijuana states have legalized for medical use].
One young woman said she advises her customers to do what she does. “Eat a marijuana edible before going to a bar, then drink.”
Research shows that marijuana is addictive. Combining marijuana with alcohol impairs driving more than either drug alone. The only qualifications required of dispensary workers is that they be age 21 or older. They are not required to have any medical, public health, or addiction training.
Read the full report here
To Our Subscribers
With this issue, we welcome many new subscribers. We hope you find our e-newsletter will keep you up to date on the marijuana story. Nearly 24,000 readers have clicked through now to read the health report from Colorado featured in the February 4th issue of The Marijuana Report. Many of you shared that issue with others and apparently so did they. More than 11,000 readers have clicked through to the Colorado public safety report featured in our February 11th issue. Thank you for being such effective, committed networkers. For those who missed the Colorado health report, click here (note new link); the public safety report, click here.
National Families in Action and partners, Project SAM and the Treatment Research Institute, welcome our new readers. We hope you enjoy this weekly e-newsletter to keep up-to-date with all aspects of the marijuana story. Visit our website, The Marijuana Report.Org, and subscribe to the weekly e-newsletter The Marijuana Report to learn more.

National Families in Action is a group of families, scientists, business leaders, physicians, addiction specialists, policymakers, and others committed to protecting children from addictive drugs. We advocate for:
  • Healthy, drug-free kids
  • Nurturing, addiction-free families
  • Scientifically accurate information and education
  • A nation free of Big Marijuana
  • Smart, safe, FDA-approved medicines developed from the cannabis plant (and other plants) 
  • Expanded access to medicines in FDA clinical trials for children with epilepsy
What is our call to action?
  • Ask your leaders to establish FDA expanded access to Epidiolex® for children with epilepsy.
  • Ask your leaders to find a middle road between incarceration and legalization of addictive drugs.
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