Do the Math

LAFY-Marijuana-Web-BannerThere is an overwhelming perception that marijuana is a harmless drug that exhibits little threat to our youth or communities. Especially throughout the past few years, youth and adults repeatedly hear that marijuana is not addictive and poses little threat to the user’s health or brain.

Liberty Alliance for Youth and the Northland Coalition encourage you to “do the math” and take a closer look at some of the complex consequences that marijuana has on individuals and our community.

Marijuana is NOT good for mental health.
Marijuana use has direct ties to damaging mental health and well-being.   Marijuana use is significantly linked to mental illnesses, especially schizophrenia, psychosis, depression and anxiety. Young people using marijuana are three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Marijuana sold today is up to 10 times more potent than marijuana consumed in the 1960’s, making it more addictive than ever. It has an incredible ability to impair brain function and development and increase the risk of addiction. 1 in 11 adult users become addicted and these rates increase to 1 in 6 for those who start using in their teens. 1

We are experiencing more mental health issues than ever throughout our local schools, communities and nationwide. Increasing marijuana use would only contribute and add to this major problem.

Marijuana is NOT good for brain development and learning.
Our youth are our future—and they are at the greatest risk when it comes to the consequences of marijuana use. Adolescent brains, because they are in the midst of crucial development stages, are especially susceptible to the problems associated with marijuana use Marijuana causes difficulty in thinking and problem solving and problems with learning and memory, long after the effects of the drug have worn off. One of the most well designed studies on marijuana and intelligence, released in 2012, found that persistent, heavy use of marijuana by adolescents reduces IQ by as much as eight points, when tested well into adulthood. 2 Other studies have found that marijuana use is linked with dropping out of school, and subsequent unemployment, social welfare dependence, and a lower self-reported quality of life than non-marijuana abusing people. 3

Marijuana is not safe behind the wheel.
Marijuana impairs motor coordination, reaction time, attentiveness, and perception of time and speed—all of which weaken your ability to drive safely. Research shows that marijuana use doubles the risk of car crashes. 4 The national Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that marijuana is the prost prevalent illegal drug detected in impaired drivers, fatally injured drivers, and motor vehicle crash victims. 5  Marijuana is not safe behind the wheel and if/when marijuana use increases, car crashes are proven to follow.

Get More Information:
We encourage you to read more about these stories and studies in these resources:

Understanding the Big Deal

What to Say About Marijuana Use and Youth
Teens and Weed: What to Say   A parent’s guide to talking with a teenager about marijuana

Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Unit 2019 Report: data about how legal marijuana is impacting adult use, youth use, impaired driving, hospital admissions, treatment centers, etc. in Colorado and the surrounding area since legalization

Smart Approach to Marijuana: a cohort of the world’s most prominent voices calling for science-based marijuana education and awareness

The Office of Drug Control Policy’s Website: answers to the common questions about marijuana’s health effects and laws.

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Marijuana fact sheet



  1. Volkow, N. “Regular marijuana use by teens continues to be a concern”. National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA). December 19, 2012. Web. March 8 2013. Heep://
  2. Meier et al. (2012). Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
  3. Fergusson, D. M. and Boden, J. M. (2008), Cannabis use and later life outcomes. Addiction, 103: 969–976.
  4. Li, M., Brady, J., DiMaggio, C., Lusardi, R., Tzong, K. and Li, G. (in press). Cannabis use and motor vehicle crashes. Epidemiologic Reviews.
  5. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Drug Involvement of Fatally injured Drivers. U.S. Department of Transportation Report No. DOT HS 811 415.

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