Customers line up inside Rocky Mountain Remedies on its first day of recreational marijuana sales. Many local teenagers are wondering how they will be affected by the sale of retail pot in Steamboat Springs, and Grand Futures Prevention Coalition is working as hard as ever to make sure youths stay drug free.

Matt Stensland/file

Customers line up inside Rocky Mountain Remedies on its first day of recreational marijuana sales. Many local teenagers are wondering how they will be affected by the sale of retail pot in Steamboat Springs, and Grand Futures Prevention Coalition is working as hard as ever to make sure youths stay drug free.

Some Routt County teens concerned about impact of marijuana legalization

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— As adults continue to line up to buy their first bags of recreational marijuana here in Steamboat Springs, many teenagers in Routt County quietly are wondering how this new age of pot sales could affect them.

“The students are concerned about their friends, and they do see people using marijuana,” said Kate Elkins, director of Routt County's Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, as she talked about the recent one-on-one meetings her drug and alcohol prevention group has had with local high school students. “I think they think everyone is using it, and that's not the case. But from what I heard lately from some Teen Council kids is they are concerned and they know marijuana can have an impact on youth.”

She said some students have seen some of their friends become less interested in schoolwork while using drugs.

Students also have seen their peers pressured into using it because they're told it's a “cool” and socially acceptable thing to do.

Will the sale of recreational marijuana to teenagers amplify these situations?

Elkins and other youth advocates may have to wait until the fall of 2015 to find out.

That's when teenagers here will be surveyed about their drug and alcohol behavior for the first time since marijuana's legalization.

The last time they were quizzed, about 40 percent of the students surveyed in Routt County said they had tried marijuana at least once.

“The new survey will be really telling,” Elkins said.

In the meantime, Grand Futures is working as hard as ever to inspire youths to steer clear of drugs and alcohol.

“We're going to be reading about this in the history books,” Elkins said about marijuana legalization. “And I think it makes my job even more important to be reaching as many parents, teachers, coaches and youth as I can and to inspire them to be the best they can be. They don't need alcohol, drugs and marijuana to lead a great life.”

Elkins said upcoming educational campaigns from Grand Futures will focus on educating parents.

Topics that will be discussed include ensuring drugs and alcohol are not accessible to teens and talking to children about how they perceive drug use.

“They're proven to be the No. 1 influence on a child's life,” Elkins said about parents.

Since its founding, Grand Futures primarily has focused on curbing underage drinking.

Today, alcohol still remains the drug of choice among teens, and the most recent survey of Steamboat high school students revealed marijuana use was on the decline.

But now that recreational marijuana is being sold in Steamboat, there is some concern that use among teens could rise as the drug becomes more easily available.

The concerns stem from a new era during which older siblings can buy pot and give it to teenagers, and students can “shoulder tap” to get someone older to buy the product for them.

“I don't think anybody has a crystal ball to say marijuana use is going to skyrocket because of the new laws, but any reasonable person can anticipate a higher use of marijuana consumption per capita based on the public availability of it,” Steamboat Police Chief Joel Rae said a few days before marijuana went on sale to adults here. “We just want people to be responsible.”

Rae said that one of the biggest focuses of the police department will be to ensure marijuana does not fall into the hands of anyone younger than 21 years old.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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Comments

mark hartless 2 months, 3 weeks ago

When the teenagers think the "adults" have maybe gone too far... you got a problem.

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Dan Shores 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't get it. It is still illegal for teens to possess or use pot so nothing has changhed. It doesn't make any sense to me that a teen would be more tempted to use pot now, just because it is legal for adults. Either you are focused and disciplined or you are not. Adults do all sorts of crazy things that may be legal, but still quite unwise. Maybe it's just been too long since I was a teen but I don't remember giving a blank whether or not an activity was legal for adults having anything to do with my decision to participate in an activity. Kids see adults getting drunk and acting like idiots and ruining their lives and some kids do the same and some don't. Some kids will see adults smoking pot to excess and maybe acting like idiots so what. In my view, it is up to the individual teen, with the help and guidance of involved and deciplined parents, to make informed decisions about their future and I don't see how pot being legal for adults would have any negative impact on their ability to make an informed decision. Like I said, you are either focused and deciplined or you are not.

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john bailey 2 months, 3 weeks ago

when its time , they can speak with their votes.... until then, better put some knee and elbow pads on em , the ride gets bumpy after High School....hulamanamaya......

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Scott Wedel 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The idea that pot could be any more easily available than it has been is ridiculous. Pot has widely been available in Steamboat for decades.

It is a valid concern by teens seeing their friends use pot or alcohol and becoming less interested in schoolwork. That has been an issue for a very long time. Even Aristotle wrote about the issue of disaffected teens.

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Fred Duckels 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The list of apologists for Marijuana seems endless. I'm not a user and see no need to extol the virtues of another mind altering gimmick.

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jerry carlton 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Addictions of any kind are destructive. MMJ is not addictive. There are thousands of Viet Nam vets still using that will tell you it is not.

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mark hartless 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Heee heee...funny. remember comedian Richard Pryor doing a bit where he was telling his mom not to nag him about his drug use.

"Hooked??? Me?? I ain't gonna get "hooked", ma. I been doin' this s**t for 15 years and I ain't hooked!!"

Let me know when you have been NOT doing it for a few years and then we'll see who's "hooked".

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Scott Wedel 2 months, 3 weeks ago

It is a medical fact that mj is not physically addictive. There are no physical symptoms caused by stopping mj usage. Alcohol; cocaine and nicotine are all physically addictive with well documented physical withdrawal symptoms.

Pot is habit forming as a ritual or pattern of behavior just as someone can be addicted to soap operas.

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mark hartless 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I'll give you that, Scott. Quitting smoking pot was way easier for me than quitting ciggarettes.Both are now long in my past, thank God.

I still think it's funny that the teenagers are the voices of temperance; and I still think that says a lot about where the adults have gone.

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Fred Duckels 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Users are of the opinion that their IQ's have increased exponentially, but observers often see the opposite result. I'm going to keep my competition showered with MJ gift certificates, that way some good might come from MJ.

1

Scott Wedel 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Mark,

I don't read much into some teenagers being the voices of temperance. There are also some adults opposed to legalization.

I'd be more impressed if there was there was evidence of a local program that was reducing self destructive behaviors.

Programs such as "Just Say No" have been shown to actually be counterproductive. Kids exposed to Just Say No have higher rates of binge drinking. By the logic of Just Say No then one drink is the same transgression as being drunk and thus may contribute to binge drinking. As compared to teaching moderation and thus that stopping at however many is still better than getting more drunk.

Seems to me that Grand Futures is more effective at getting funding than actually making a positive impact. The kids on the Grand Futures Teen Council have already made it clear that they are not planning on using drugs.

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Scott Wedel 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Fred,

Well, only a few truly think that pot/dope makes anyone smarter. But, if your competition responded to your shower of mj gift certificates by giving your employees bar tabs then your workers would be the ones more impaired. MJ is not nearly as bad at impairing reactions as alcohol.

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Fred Duckels 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't know if the users that I have observed were dumb before or after using dope but it seems evident, they appear dumb.

1

john bailey 2 months, 3 weeks ago

being a skilled tradesman , I've seen some pretty dumb framing jobs . guess it depends on your education in your field and the pride you have in your work. that and not being stoned or drunk helps while at work, ALOT.....save it for after to wind down.....

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jerry carlton 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Alcohol goes away if someone sobers up. It has destroyed countless lives. MMJ creates permanent apathy, laziness, disconnection, what ever you want to call it. It has destroyed many lives and this will only multiply. Ask the derelict Vietnam Vets wandering the highways of Arizona if you do not believe me.

1

Rick Pighini 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Is it the weed or the war. Everyone I know who uses MJ owns businesses and or has worked for the last 20 years. I do know a lot of alcoholics who haven't worked in years. I also know a bunch of vets that claim the only thing that helped their PTSD was weed. And how do the vets wondering the streets get their weed? Or is this the long term effect of weed they smoked when they returned from war. I think your putting the blame on the wrong industry. Maybe the war machine is what sent them to the streets.

1

Scott Wedel 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I don't seen research or studies showing that MJ creates permanent apathy and so on. It appears that apathetic individuals find mj to be a convenient drug so mj usage is more the symptom than the cause.

The liver damage from alcohol is permanent.

Medical evidence appears to be pretty clear that mj causes less long term damage than alcohol.

I don't see evidence that MJ is not healthy or generally beneficial, but it does appear to be the least bad choice for many people.

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Scott Wedel 2 months, 3 weeks ago

correction: the 'not' in front of healthy is deleted. I don't see evidence that MJ is healthy or generally beneficial, but it does appear to be the least bad choice for many people.

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rhys jones 2 months, 3 weeks ago

I'll never forget the day, I was doing my computer homework, this young mind just out of high school, now in military school -- and I knew that any distraction at all would cause me to lose the current values of the variables in my head, causing me to start all over in the debugging process, a=1, b=2, c=3, if they live in Connecticut add 10% to a and go over there, otherwise subtract 20 from b and continue on -- just to get back where I was. But my friend leaned in and made me smoke that joint with him, me accepting the loss; we yukked it up for a while...

When I looked back at that program, not only did I recall the current values -- but I UNDERSTOOD it, for the first time -- up 'til then it was rote, me barely catching on. Now that program had actually grown a dimension: It was ALIVE!! True artificial intelligence. And if the machine can do this -- it can do ANYTHING!! You just have to tell it how.

Since then marijuana has helped me find thousands of problems, and invent hundreds of creative solutions. Problems that had my straight mind reeling, and solutions to challenges which seemed impossible. It doesn't impair me; it enhances. Different strokes for different folks, and I'm sorry if some people can't handle it, but for me, it's just right.

BTW -- Is that the NSA photo?

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john bailey 2 months, 3 weeks ago

an aha moment , huh ? and yes it probably is NSA.....

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rhys jones 2 months, 3 weeks ago

You know they're watching. I'll wear a disguise, if I ever visit their store. Can't be too careful.

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rhys jones 2 months, 3 weeks ago

... probably should go there, just to help offset the cost of monitoring... naw.

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john bailey 2 months, 3 weeks ago

don't forget to frame your receipt . ~;0) I am......

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