Top Pro & Con Arguments


Medical legalization of marijuana makes a drug that is dangerous to children, teenagers, and young adults more readily available.

Whether medical marijuana is legalized for everyone or only adults, legalization provides everyone more access to the drug. [38]

“An ‘unintended consequence’ of marijuana legalization is the impact on the pediatric population. From prenatal exposure to unintentional childhood exposures, through concerns of adolescence abuse and marijuana use for medicinal indications in children, marijuana exposure can affect pediatric patients at every stage in childhood. Regardless of the stage or reason of exposure, concerns exist about short-term and long-term consequences in a child’s physical and mental health,” argues Sam Wang, Associate Professor of Pediatrics-Emergency Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. [39]

Adult use of marijuana, medical or otherwise, during pregnancy can cause child development problems during and after pregnancy. If exposed to marijuana before birth, children may be more susceptible to “increased hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention symptoms” and problems with “visual-motor coordination, processing speed, [and] visual memory.” [31] [39] [40] [41]

Any drug at home poses potential risks for children, but medical marijuana edibles look like regular treats (gummy bears, hard candies, and chocolate bars, to name a few), yet are infused with potent marijuana. And, unlike a regular treat, a marijuana infused edibles should be carefully portioned for the correct dosage. A child accidentally eating an entire marijuana candy bar could overdose and end up in serious medical distress. Within just five years, accidental cannabis exposures in kids aged one to six who ate edibles increased 1,375% from 207 cases in 2017 to 3,054 in 2021. [39] [42] [47]

The danger does not decrease as children age. According to the National Institutes of Health, “heavy chronic marijuana consumption in young people under the age of 25 has been associated with decreased cognitive and executive function.” Researchers are not yet certain whether the damage is permanent, but one New Zealand study found teens who smoked marijuana heavily and developed a marijuana use disorder lost 8 IQ points on average between ages 13 and 38. [40]

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