New marijuana laws put parents on alert


By Sue Cody


Marijuana talkNorth Coast Prevention Works Coalition recently coordinated and sponsored two community forums on the new marijuana laws. Held in Warrenton and Seaside, the forums were developed to educate the public about the complexity of the new medical marijuana laws. As of Oct. 1, outlets in Oregon were approved to sell retail marijuana products without requiring a recommendation from a physician.



Warrenton Police Chief Mathew Workman said the forums came about because Debbie Morrow, a Prevention Works Coalition Board member said she was confused about the new marijuana laws. Workman admitted he was confused initially, as well.



Workman showed a PowerPoint presentation and convened a panel of law enforcement personnel for the forums.



“We wanted to ensure that our community understood the laws around recreational marijuana,” Morrow said. “So having the police chiefs, sheriff, Oregon Liquor Control Commission representative and the district attorney on a panel to talk about the laws and enforcement of the laws was paramount.”



“The most important objective was to remind parents that marijuana is still illegal for minors to possess,” Morrow said.



Robert McClelland, of Prevention Works, explained how marketing targets children with products designed to resemble well-known candy and drinks. He said there is no clear labeling of the products once they are out of the package. Marijuana laced Gummi Bears would look like candy Gummi Bears.



“It is important for the community to be informed on the new laws to clear up perceptions so people can make informed decisions” said Jill Quackenbush, prevention supervisor for Clatsop County  Juvenile Department. She is also a board member of Northwest Parenting and The Way to Wellville.



Workman said the laws are nebulous and they are still figuring out the parameters. But the coalition wanted to have parents go home with more knowledge so they could talk to their children about the marijuana laws.



Quackenbush stressed that it is against the law to provide marijuana to a minor at any time.



“When there is increased access to any substance, there is increased usage,” said Quakenbush. If there is a perception of a low risk of harm, there is more likelihood of use, abuse and problems.”



Quackenbush said Way to Wellville and its creator, the HICCup organization, have identified drug and alcohol abuse as major health and community issues.



“It is important to educate your children to not grab candy without asking,” Quackenbush said. Just as parents educate children about the harm of medication (pills) vs. candy, now it is important to talk to children about cookies, candy and other products that may contain marijuana.



“The response of the people who attended was wonderful,” Morrow said. “We are delighted NCPW is able to bring these trainings to our community. We’re thankful for the partnership of CareOregon, Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare, Seaside Providence Hospital and Warrenton School District.



Looking ahead



More educational opportunities are in the offing:



• Town Hall on marijuana and the developing brain, to be announced.



• Eric Martin, a University of Oregon addictions counselor and educator in the Substance Abuse Prevention Program, will speak in Clatsop County Jan. 21. The place to be determined. He has served on governors’ advisory boards and has received many honors for his work.



• Strengthening Families Program for parents, caregivers and youth ages 10 to 14 is planned for seven Thursdays, Feb. 4 to March 17. Dinner and childcare for younger siblings is provided for the families at a cost of only $25 per family for the entire series.



• “Tall Cop Says Stop,” Jermaine Galloway, is scheduled to speak in Clatsop County sometime in March. He follows trends in alcohol and drug use including logos, signs, icons, paraphernalia. “You can’t stop what you don’t know,” says the 6-foot-9 Idaho law enforcement officer.