WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Marijuana is now legal…but….

The Oregonian photo

The Oregonian photo

A message from Lincoln County Addiction Prevention and Recovery Committee

Don’t let adult marijuana use be a downer for our youth.

Although you may have missed it among the more startling results of last week’s election, voters in Lincoln County, Newport, Lincoln City, Waldport, Yachats, and Depoe Bay all passed new measures placing a 3% local tax on retail marijuana sales in their jurisdictions. The Lincoln County Addiction Prevention and Recovery Committee has joined with the Lincoln County Department of Health & Human Services to recommend that new revenues derived from these taxes be dedicated to substance abuse education and prevention to protect youth and children. The following letter went out just before the election to local officials:

I am writing to you and to the other Mayors and County Commissioners in Lincoln County on behalf of the Lincoln County Addiction Prevention and Recovery Committee (APARC), which is the local state-mandated citizens advisory committee on addiction and other drug-related issues.

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We did not take a position either for or against the legalization of retail marijuana sales, and are not taking a position on the current local marijuana tax proposals. But, as you may know, we have expressed serious concerns about preventing any negative consequences that may occur – especially for the children of Lincoln County — as a result of increased access to marijuana.

We have advocated for stepped-up objective, evidence-based education about the effects of marijuana on young brains and bodies, for example, and about the dangers of accidental deadly exposure to cannabis products.

But this increased educational challenge will require additional resources and we are asking that any new revenue from the proposed three percent tax on marijuana sales on this month’s ballot in your jurisdiction be specifically dedicated (if the measures pass) to youth substance use education to prevent the potential harmful effects of the greater availability and public acceptance of marijuana.

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There have already been reports of children accessing edible marijuana products that have been carelessly left out where they can reach them, for example. Research has found that young teenagers in Lincoln County have easy access to marijuana and a limited awareness of its dangers.

A survey of Lincoln County students found that the majority of 8th and 11th graders did not consider regular weekly use of marijuana to pose a ”great” or even “moderate” threat to their health. Nearly 11 percent of 8th graders and more than 16 percent of 11th graders reported using marijuana within the previous 30 days.

Our membership reflects the experience and expertise of addiction and mental health treatment providers, health education and prevention professionals, medical and hospital personnel, people in recovery, community support group leaders, law enforcement and judicial system officials, and concerned private citizens.

We work closely with the Tribe, with private providers, and with county and municipal law enforcement agencies, as well as the Lincoln County Department of Health and Human Services. Our mandate is to monitor local response to addiction and substance use issues at all levels within the private and governmental sectors of the community.

The county health department has made a similar budget request to the county commissioners. We support that request and urge all local municipal jurisdictions to dedicate all or a major portion of any retail marijuana tax revenues to protecting the health of our children and youth.

— Chandler Davis, Chair, Lincoln County Addiction Prevention and Recovery Committee

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