A study recently came out touting an increase in pot use among children under six. The headline (predictably) throws large percentages around to drum up scary feelings and concerns that legal weed has damned our children to ruination and mediocrity.
This particular headline claimed that pot use skyrocketed by 147.5% in the 7 years between 2006 and 2013. What they don’t mention until the fine print further down the page is that the 147.5% amounts to roughly four children. Buried even deeper is the fact that they are talking about an increase from an exposure rate of just under six children per million in 2006, all the way up to just over ten children per million in 2013. Amortize that over seven years, and you come out with an increase of less than one child per year, per million. My, oh my! Let’s start an anti-cannabis organization, this pandemic is out of control!
Look, I don’t mean to minimize child endangerment and I certainly don’t condone careless cannabis users who intentionally or accidentally allow young children access to cannabis. But let’s keep this in perspective. One report from 2014 found that two children per week are killed by guns. That’s 104 per year. There is not one state in the nation that outlaws guns, nor would any lawmakers allow such a bill to become law.
Furthermore, even in the cases where children did get their hands on cannabis, not one fatality was reported. Most of the children had very minor experiences, while a few experienced seizures and temporary comas. Again, I’m not touting cannabis for babies here, I would be devastated if one of my sons had ingested cannabis at that age.
My point is, if we are going to make a stink about child safety and try to paint a picture where children are in danger like never before since cannabis has become publicly popular, I just have to call hogwash on that. Let’s keep the panic to scale.
The number of children being exposed to cannabis was significantly higher in states that have allowed medical/recreational cannabis, but the overall numbers for the nation is what I wrote above. Of course there are more cases in states where there is more cannabis. There are a lot more forest fires in Yellowstone than there are in Death Valley too, considering one has no forests at all.