As advocates gather signatures to put the question of medical marijuana legalization in Wyoming before voters next year, Campbell County school officials are ramping upping efforts to prevent use among students.
The school board has signed on to a campaign called “There is No Debate,” aimed at educating parents and students about the effects of marijuana on academic performance and brain development.
This week, the Board will finalize a resolution asking the Wyoming School Boards Association to take up the cause statewide.
Dr. David Fall is the Campbell County School Board’s Vice Chairman. He says school officials aren’t specifically weighing in on the potential marijuana ballot measure.
“All we’re looking at is education,” says Fall. “We’re not taking a stand on legalizing marijuana in anyway, just education. We just want people to know that this is not a completely benign drug. There are some problems with marijuana—especially in youth.”
But the campaign does tout the fact that ‘normalization’ of marijuana use among adults will increase use among teens.
School officials say the number of students being expelled for marijuana use has skyrocketed since Colorado legalized the drug recreationally.
Fall, who is also a pediatrician in Campbell County, says while some aspects of marijuana use are the subject of public debate, the potential dangers to children should not be among them.
“That’s the big problem,” says Fall. “I don’t think people realize that the adolescent brain is just not developed—especially those areas that have to do with judgment. You just don’t have the control—and you don’t develop that until the mid-20s.”
Brian Farmer, executive director of the Wyoming School Boards Association, says the group has not yet taken a position on the Campbell County School Board’s resolution. The WSBA will discuss the issue at its annual delegate assembly in November.