Medical Marijuana in Idaho: Part Two

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Updated: 5/03/2013 8:49 pm
Thursday, we introduced you to a man who uses marijuana to treat Crohn’s Disease. In part two of our series, examining medical marijuana in the Gem State, we talk with a local law enforcement officer who has concerns about what legalizing medical marijuana could mean for Idaho, specifically the youth.

It’s an issue our elected leaders have firmly planted themselves in opposition of, marijuana. During the 2013 session lawmakers passed a resolution declaring themselves against the drug’s use medicinally or otherwise.

Darin Burrell is the Director of Juvenile Probation for Fremont and Clark Counties.

“Approximately 72 percent of kids that we are treating on intake are being treated for marijuana use,” Burrell said.

Arizona is one of the states that allow marijuana to be used medicinally. A report from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission says one in nine students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades who reported using marijuana in the last 30 days got the drug from either a patient or caregiver under the state’s medical marijuana law. A study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 2012 found states that had medical marijuana on the books had higher rates of marijuana use.

“The impression that it’s harmful and that you can use it without any negative consequences and my feeling is there is a definitive negative potential to using this substance,” said Burrell.

Nationally, a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found, in 2009, 7.3 percent of kids 12 to 17 had used marijuana in the past month, down from just over eight percent in 2002. Close to 52 percent of teens in the same age group reported using alcohol in the past month.

Prohibition advocates also point to a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2002 that found marijuana use by teenage girls predicts later higher rates of depression and anxiety and also a strong association between daily use of cannabis and depression and anxiety.

“It’s so important that they are able to stay clean and sober through their developmental years,” Burrell said. “What we do know about marijuana is it does impact the neurological development as they are developing.”

Burrell says he could support the legalization of medical marijuana, if it included the thorough research necessary.

“I certainly have compassion for people that are suffering but I’m not totally sold on the idea of medical marijuana solving all the problems of illness,” said Burrell.

The American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and American Academy of Family Physicians have all endorsed a reclassification of marijuana for additional studies into its effectiveness of treating disease.

If you missed part one of our series you can find a link at the top of the page.
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malcolmkyle16 - 5/4/2013 2:44 AM
1 Vote
The U.S. comprises 5 percent of the world's population yet uses 60 percent of the world's drugs. The failed attempt to prohibit these (unpatentable) drugs has been waged for 70 years and has cost us trillions of dollars. Prohibition has negatively impacted on the lives of all of us. It has stagnated the normal economy while allowing criminal enterprises to control an untaxed and thriving underground market that's estimated to be worth (annually) well over three trillion dollars ( $300,000,000,000). By it's emphasis on the eradication of marijuana, we have denied ourselves the miracle of hemp, which can offer us the most workable and logical solutions to a number of our society's problems—be they medicinal, industrial or agricultural. According to the CATO Institute, ending prohibition would save an annual $41 billion of expenditure while generating an estimated $46 billion in tax revenues. During alcohol prohibition (1919-1933), all profits went to enrich street-punks, organized-criminals, and corrupt-politicians. Young men, while battling over turf, died every day on inner-city streets. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have been far more wisely spent. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally, the economy collapsed. Does that sound familiar? To support prohibition is such a strange mind-set. In fact, It's outrageous insanity. Literally not one prohibitionist argument survives scrutiny—not a single one!

pusbag - 5/3/2013 8:27 PM
1 Vote
Scientific studies have proven that cannabinoids protect the brain from alcohol poisoning and as we know from being a teenager and studies have shown this age group is most likely to experience this. I would like to save some kids life with a non toxic neurological protectant like marijuana. Isn't it about the children's safety rather than spreading lies officer. If you disagree with me please go to and educate yourself with true scientific medical facts rather than political propaganda . The weight of evidence is so great that no one who is considering marijuana prohibition from a scientific perspective can possibly justify the continuation of this destructive policy .

freedomseeker - 5/3/2013 8:20 PM
1 Vote
Kids are going to use regardless. But most if the time they are going to use more accessible and far more dangerous substances that can be found in their home like prescription medication, alcohol and deadly chemicals.What you should be preaching is for parents to educate their children.On the facts about why this harmless plant is illegal, because the oil, pharmaceutical and lumber industry would lose profits. And lets not forget all the money made on private prisons, and the so-called criminal justice system here in Idaho. How would the police earn their paychecks if they had to focus on REAL crime like rape and murder? 40 years of the drug war is long enough, it is based on racism, lies, and greed. "Burrell says he could support the legalization of medical marijuana, if it included the thorough research necessary." HELLOO We cant study it if it remains an illegal substance. Who do you think funds the FDA studies? Thats right, the pharmaceutical industry that will gain profit from the studies. I don't see how everyone can be so willfully ignorant. If your reading this you have a computer so google the proof, sift through the propaganda. Look up Rick Simpson Oil, Run from the cure and join
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