Just ask a middle school or high school teacher their thoughts on students and marijuana. They will bend your ear! There are plenty of stories where teachers struggle working with a student who is loaded on marijuana. Unfortunately, there is no law that allows schools to act accordingly.
So...when Torri Lynn the Linn County Juvenile Director and Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist asked if the legislature could address this problem, I began crafting legislation that would give a tool to school administrators, teachers and law enforcement. At the same time I wanted to create a path for the student to address a possible addiction problem.
HB 2313 mirrors the law for Minor in Possession of Alcohol, but applies it to Marijuana. The bill prohibits a person under 21 years of age from attempting to purchase or possess marijuana. Additionally, the bill allows the court to order a person to undergo assessment and treatment.
During a public hearing on HB 2313, Torri Lynn shared the following testimony in front of the House Committee on Judiciary:
"Current research on adolescent brain development indicates that teenage years are one of the most critical and susceptible times for a youths' brain. The brain is building new pathways getting ready for adult executive functioning so the protective coating along those pathways is greatly reduced making the teenage brain at higher risk when chemicals are introduced into the body such as drugs and alcohol."
Last week, during a presentation in the Ways & Means subcommittee on Human Services, staff from Addiction and Mental Health (AMH) shared how the agency planned to use some of the revenue received from M-91. About $1.36 million will be used for community prevention and recovery services. I found the presentation very interesting since I'm assigned to the Joint Committee on M-91. The following slide was presented:
Having reviewed the presentation, I asked the presenter, "How does Oregon compare to the rest of the states for marijuana usage in the 6th, 8th, and 11th grades?" The response was alarming, "Oregon is off the charts!"
As our state moves forward with the implementation of recreational use of marijuana, I am very concerned of the impact M-91 will have on our youth. I am hopeful that HB 2313 may have some impact for youth to consider twice before using the drug. HB 2313 passed the House floor with a vote of 60-0.