CONTACT Close marijuana dispensaries near schools already - Dr. Christian Thurstone

I recently shared some of my thoughts with I-News Network about marijuana dispensaries operating near Colorado schools. Check out the resulting story by Katie Kerwin McCrimmon. (The photo at left was taken for I-News by Joe Mahoney.)

As you’ll see in the comments thread under the video embedded at the bottom of this page, I’m frequently asked what I think about outlets that sell alcohol and tobacco near school campuses.

In short, if I could get rid of them — every single one of them — I would. It is because alcohol and tobacco are readily accessible and socially acceptable that they’re so problematic for our society. Studies show that the more difficult it is for people to access a drug, the less likely they are to do so.

When we permit these retailers to be located near schools, where children pass each day and can enter without restriction, we also expose them to marketing. And we know that teens are heavily influenced by marketing. Studies have shown that heavy exposure to tobacco marketing is a stronger predictor that a teenager will smoke than if he or she actually lives with a smoker.

For decades, the tobacco and alcohol industries have said they aren’t marketing to young people, but we know they have, and we know they are. The same thing is happening with so-called “medical” marijuana.

About Chris Thurstone

Dr. Christian Thurstone is one of only a few dozen physicians in the United States who are board-certified in general, child and adolescent and addictions psychiatry. He is Director of Behavioral Health Services at Denver Health and a professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado, where he conducts research on youth substance use and addiction and serves as director of medical training for the university’s addiction psychiatry fellowship program. You can read more about him here.

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