Marijuana Mayhem Invades Massachusetts

Rachael Law, Author

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Rachael Law

Since 2016, marijuana consumers have been patiently waiting for the recreational shops to open. This November the wait finally ceased as the first shops opened in Leicester and Northampton. But these aren’t the only ones popping up. It’s estimated that 23 more shops are opening across the state. The legal age to purchase anything from these stores is 21, but if you think that this isn’t going to influence our younger generation, you’re wrong.

Marijuana use amongst teens is thought to be more widespread than alcohol use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens, 1 in 6 teenagers will become addicted to it and the idea is that “it’s a natural herb” and for the most part is harmless. But the fact of the matter is that it leaves damaging effects on a developing teen’s brain.

When taken into the body, marijuana enters the bloodstream and travels to different organs, including the brain. It triggers the endocannabinoid system which in turn releases dopamine, giving you the “high” feeling.

The problem with this is that once you get that spike of dopamine, the only way to feel that high again is to continue the drug use. The regular dopamine levels in the body aren’t enough to keep you happy, possibly causing depression.

Marijuana also leaves lasting effects on teenagers’ bodies. It creates problems with learning and studying which is critical at this point in your life. According to Dr. Ruth Potee, a guest speaker at Oakmont last year, marijuana should not be used by anyone under the age of 25. The mind is fully developed at age 25 and at that point the research shows marijuana is less apt to leave damaging effects. Unfortunately, not everyone is aware or believes this. The legal age to even enter one of theses new stores is 21.

Since Connecticut legalized marijuana and its shops, there have been increased rates of drugged driving, accidental ingestions of cannabis gummies and chocolates, and overdoses of highly concentrated oils and wax. The rates of teen use of the drug have also increased and officials are worried that this same statistic will spread to Massachusetts.

Vincent Candelora, a Connecticut state representative, expressed that his biggest concern for these recreational stores is the advertising strategies. Candy- like edibles and colorful packaging send the wrong message to kids and teenagers.

There is no doubt that the product of the new stores is going to flow illegally to minors. Just like clothes and music, drugs come in trends regardless of the law. When making choices regarding drugs just remember the effects it can have on your body and mind.