Initiative 502 on the Nov. 6 ballot seeks to legalize marijuana use, with limits, for people over 21. Private stores, producers and processors would be licensed to sell marijuana. The intent is to utilize sale profits for economic and educational improvements, but it negatively impacts youth.
As of May 16, the Seattle area has 685 homeless youth, with an estimated 1,000 between the ages of 13 and 25 living doubled-up, in shelters and in transitional housing, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The approval of I-502 would be a disservice to this population, as the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute reports that “marijuana dependence accounts for 62 percent of the youth treatment admissions to Washington state treatment programs,” and marijuana use rates amongst youth 12- to 17-year-old are higher in states with medical marijuana laws (8.6 percent).
Short-term use is linked to depression in 43 percent of users, and long-term use includes lowered grades in 51 percent of users. The approval of I-502 would have negative impacts on youth, homelessness and dependency rates. Please vote no on I-502 for Washington youth.