#5 All This Talk About Fried Eggs Is Making Me Hungry

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

A big part of social change is, of course, getting other people involved. Any cause, no matter how well developed, cannot gain traction until other people believe in it too. A big part of this project is then going to be how to make others buy into my issue. I’m not entirely sure of the answer to this yet. I believe transparency in marijuana education is important, and I hope to convince others of it too, but I feel it is not a very obvious issue and so starting conversations on it at all will take some doing. Right now, I hope that by putting time and care into my investigation, I can demonstrate to others the importance of this issue and convince them of the need for change. We’ll see where it goes from here.

After a lot of googling, I stumbled across the Marijuana Education Initiative, which was founded by two educators in Colorado a few years ago with the idea that marijuana education needs to be updated for our changing world. Since Colorado has legalized recreational marijuana, there is concern that a lot of teenagers are being exposed to pro-marijuana messaging aimed at adults that doesn’t take into account its health risks, especially for teens. MEI also recognizes the failings of campaigns like “Just Say No” in effectively connecting with teenagers. Their goal is not to make choices for teenagers, but to give them the facts to make their own informed choices about marijuana usage. They created a series of curriculums for varying age groups based in the facts of marijuana use and its long term health impacts. Their website publishes evaluations of their curriculum’s effect on high school and middle school students’ view of marijuana, which shows some positive change, although small. The MEI is a very small organization that has only had a few years to develop, but it seems to be recognizing the same social issue I am seeing and taking real steps to rectify it.

WHY: Teenagers make their own choices. We are at a time in our lives when we are developing ourselves as individuals and deciding for ourselves what we believe. Teenagers want and need to make their own informed choices to become free-thinking adults, and the truth is, if we do not believe in a rule imposed on us, very few teenagers have a problem breaking it. The approach to marijuana education of groups like DARE and PDFA has often involved scare tactics, vague warnings, and messages that tell kids what to do, not why to do it. As a result, those groups are often ignored. We need to be having open conversations about marijuana that focus on the facts, so that teenagers can make their own choices.

HOW: Encouraging research into the medical affects of marijuana. Basing drug education in that research. Replacing “this is your brain on drugs” with conversations that respect the fact that teenagers have questions and deserve answers.

WHAT: Improved drug education with an emphasis on transparency.

tl;dr Teenagers will make their own choices, give them the tools to make the right ones.

p.s I just learned that marijuana is classified as a schedule one drug (meaning that the DEA has determined it has no medical use and a high risk of abuse), which is a higher ranking than both cocaine and meth. Go figure.

 

“Informed and Empowered.” Marijuana Education Initiative, marijuana-education.com/.

Photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash

Lucy Groves

7 Responses to “#5 All This Talk About Fried Eggs Is Making Me Hungry

  • Hey Lucy,

    First of all I love the title of your blog post, very funny. It seems like you really know where you plan to take your topic and have everything figured out. Our topics are similar so when thinking about creating groups for final projects or whatever keep me in mind with my legal marijuana. I think you have a grip on what you are going to do so keep up the top quality work, and I wish you best of luck because marijuana education is somehow considerably more controversial than legalization. Probably because no parent want their kid to be told the truth: “Oh dad today we had an assembly on marijuana and I learned its a perfect solution to all my problems and its harmless yaaaay” that would probably not go over well. Anyway I’m sure you’re fine.

    Olympia

    • Hi Olympia!
      I agree, parents probably don’t want their kids being told weed is harmless. The cultural contexts that our parents have for marijuana and that our generation has for it are very different and inform a lot of the discussions we are having about it. All of my research has shown me how very layered this issue is, because there’s the quantitative evidence of what cannabis does and not do and the actual health risks, and then there’s the perception of it by society. It’s a tangled web of fact and opinion.

  • Melissa
    4 years ago

    Hey Lucy,

    Love that you found the Marijuana Education Initiative, that will provide solid support. I also think your voice as a teenager with the phrase “Teenagers want and need to make their own informed choices to become free-thinking adults, and the truth is, if we do not believe in a rule imposed on us, very few teenagers have a problem breaking it” is incredibly powerful.

    Some thoughts:
    -Going to your statement specifically, I would look into research on teenage psychology and decision-making in general. There’s all kinds of studies out there that note that teenagers engage in riskier behavior, and rely more on their peers for information. An example argument you could present is –
    what if peers had a (to your argument) less biased education to marijuana? (Note – this will be incredibly contentious –
    but just an example of ways you could look into decision-making –
    I’m sure there are 1000 studies that contradict this one, so you’ll need to do some serious combing and consolidating) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-wide-wide-world-psychology/201506/why-are-teen-brains-designed-risk-taking
    -Comparative case studies to other forms of social education. For example, how has abstinence-only education worked in curbing teen pregnancy?
    -Getting real numbers on marijuana use for teens in either your community or the country will be powerful. You need to back up the NEED for this sort of education – I think you’ve reference numbers before, but data in storytelling is incredibly important. Defining the scope of the problem from the outset when this is all tied together will be critical.

    You’re a rockstar,
    Melissa

    • Hi Melissa!

      That study was very interesting, I thought the idea that teenagers are as good as evaluating risk as adults, but more likely to ignore risks added a new layer to this issue. I’m advocating for a transparent marijuana education curriculum, but what if teenagers are presented with all of the facts and know the risks and still choose to use marijuana? My perspective as a teenager is that we have to make our own choices, but the fact is sometimes those choices aren’t great. I’m also still stymied by the general lack of research on marijuana. It’s hard to say “marijuana is bad for teenagers, here’s why” when I don’t have a clear understanding of the why. Marijuana’s position as a schedule 1 drug has put a damper on research on it, which is frustrating to me. I’ve gotten away from your comment now. I agree I’m going to need more data, and I’m still figuring out how I want to get that. Probably the most reliable survey is the Youth Risk Behaviour Survey, but it’s focused mostly on specific dangerous behaviours like driving with someone who has been using, etc.. I want to know more about what goes into the decision making process. Questions on questions on questions!

  • Hi Lucy!
    The part of your blog post that really stuck out to me was how you said that instead of making choices for teenagers, people should show them how to make the right decisions. This is so intuitive! How is anyone going to make change if all we do is tell them what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’? We should give people resources to make healthy decisions. And the healthy decisions for one person is going to be different from the next.
    Yikes! The higher ranking of marijuana than cocaine and meth? This is crazy. I remember reading something in one of Olympia’s posts about how marijuana is taught to be a horrible thing, while other drugs like cocaine, meth, heroin, etc. are briefly approached. Why is this? I think that going into what students are taught could be a potential interest/beneficial thing for you to do. I can’t wait to see how your ideas develop!

    • Hi Riley!

      A big part of what I’m thinking about right now is the importance of choices. Teenagers are going to be adults very soon, and they are going to be responsible for themselves, and giving them the tools to do that well instead of just saying what is right and what is wrong is, in my opinion, super important.
      I know, the drug scheduling is a very weird issue. I did some reading and the sense I got is that these rankings were established a while ago and they won’t change unless there is very strong evidence that they are incorrect, the argument being that despite marijuana’s medical uses, there isn’t a strong enough case to reposition it, which in turn makes research into it harder, and it’s a whole vicious cycle.

  • Hi Lucy,
    I came across your blog when doing a review search for our company. I am one of the Co-Founders of the Marijuana Education Initiative. I was impressed by your blog and the intuitiveness of how best to speak with teens about this subject. I have read your subsequent comments as well and I believe you are spot-on with your direction. Marijuana today is such a complex issue, it is successfully being used as medicine for prevention of epileptic seizures, however it remains a Schedule 1 substance, which means it it retains no medical value whatsoever. (Btw, interesting fact, the US Government holds the patent for CBD as medicine). I see that you are looking for data for continued investigation. I am happy to point you in a couple of directions for data, especially in legalized states. Also, if you interested in having access to our curriculum for a deeper dive, I would be happy to provide that access for you as well. Great work!

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