Michigan Children Do Not Want Recreational Marijuana
Educator says no to legalizing recreational marijuana. Thank you to this Michigan leader, Teacher Mary Craite with 33 years of experience for her powerful piece on why recreational marijuana legalization is bad for our youth.
The kids in my classroom struggle with battles that adults 10 times their age have never even imagined. I cannot, in good conscience, stay silent on the idea of making recreational marijuana legal in Michigan. It has the potential of being an unnecessary poison to these children, their families, and communities. A poison that you and I can – in some part – help prevent.
33 Years of Teaching in Michigan
I have been a teacher of hundreds of students for 33 years in east Michigan. It has been an immense honor to have the opportunity to invest in young minds and play a role in shaping their future. As I get to know them, experience their talents and see the potential for their precious lives I want to do all I can to set them up for success.
I have seen – first hand – students using substances in school, that they thought were harmless because they were legal like chewing tobacco and smoking cigarettes. Even more significant, I have experienced students progress from tobacco to marijuana to opioids. As a state and society, we will be telling our youth, “recreational marijuana is okay! One has fun when they use it! It won’t hurt you.” But it’s not, they shouldn’t, and it does.
More than likely those of you reading this would never in another million years put recreational marijuana within reach of a child. But in many homes it will happen without a second thought. A recent interview suggested that a 21 year old age requirement (through this ballot initiative) would be sufficient to keep recreational marijuana within the hands of the responsible. But anyone that has children knows the existence of a law is not always enough.
This Ballot Initiative is Bad for Michigan Youth
Fact after fact highlights when something like recreational marijuana is made law, it becomes more permissible, acceptable, and most definitely more accessible. Anything made easily accessible by an adult becomes much more accessible to a child.
If passed, this ballot initiative would allow every adult in a house to have 12 marijuana plants. This is defined as easy access for a child. And if a child accesses and ingests it could have life altering consequences.
To keep something legal, yet harmful, from a child involves parental involvement and oversight. Many children, sadly, do not have the types of homes that are in a place to provide this scrutiny and monitoring. And recreational marijuana – unlike alcohol – can infiltrate our bodies simply by exposure (vs consumption) through close proximity in and out of the womb.
Today’s youth often start smoking at the age of 12. Those who get into the “edible” forms of marijuana can be much younger. The effects of marijuana to a child’s brain can greatly stunt their growth, rewire chemical pathways, and provide mind altering experiences that the most mature and healthy adults would shutter to experience.
Using recreational marijuana influences their mental capacity and youth will jeopardize their academic and athletic success. Though it “would be legal in Michigan” it is still a federally illegal substance. A child’s use in one Michigan town will have grave impacts outside the state for any future collegiate or athletic career. The use of recreational marijuana often leads to extreme mental health issues including psychosis, schizophrenia, and depression. It is addictive and research (and my real life observation) proves that when they start using as youth, they will more than likely continue when they are older.
Students already struggle, coming from broken and fractured homes. In Michigan, the average reading level is 3rd grade (approximately 8 or 9 years old). Teachers in my position are trying our hardest to do our best with the resources we have been given. But the children who walk into our classrooms are each a different, and often very broken, story. To open the door to recreational marijuana being made legal gives them one more rock to climb over on their path to success.
Educator Says No to Recreational Marijuana in Michigan
Children do not know better. We as adults do. Our votes will impact their future. How can we, in good conscience, support something that once it is released out of the bag you can never get it back in? Michigan citizens we MUST protect the most vulnerable.
Please help us as educators, school administrators, coaches, and counselors put the students on a good path: do not legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan. The next generation is depending on your no vote on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Join our effort at www.healthyandproductivemi. org
- Teacher Mary Craite, Waterford Michigan
Mary Craite has served as a teacher in Waterford, Michigan since 1986. She has a Master’s Degree in Teaching from Michigan State University. In the 33 years of teaching public education she has taught grades Kindergarten to 9th Grade. Mary serves as President of the Waterford Education Association (representing 600 Waterford Teachers) and is part of the leadership for Waterford Coalition for Youth, Waterford Optimist Club and Blessings in a Back Pack. Married for 32 years, she and her husband have 4 young adults. Her passion and dedication are making a difference for Michigan’s children.