Colorado parents are conflicted about the state’s new world of legalized, commercialized marijuana, according to the results of a survey released Tuesday.
Nearly half of parents of children ages 10-19 say they support legalizing recreational use of marijuana, nearly three-quarters support medical marijuana and most say that misused prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco pose greater threats to kids. But parents still say there should be strict regulations around marijuana — including 87 percent supporting a total ban on pot advertising.
“It’s just not seen as that dangerous,” Scott Kotchko, a pollster for New York-based Whitman Insight Strategies, said Tuesday in announcing the results.
“This does not mean that adults in this country or in Colorado think that it is OK to use marijuana in a completely unregulated manner.”
The Partnership at Drugfree.org, a national organization dedicated to combating substance abuse among youth, commissioned the survey and presented the results at a panel discussion at the University of Denver on the possible impacts of marijuana legalization in Colorado.
Overall, the survey found that half of parents across the country and 62 percent of parents in Colorado had used marijuana at least once in their lives. That experience colored parents’ attitudes about marijuana, with parents who had smoked pot more likely to favor marijuana legalization.
But parents also have serious worries about marijuana use by kids, with more than 80 percent saying they think it is a credible concern that pot use could negatively impact future opportunities, hinder brain development and hurt school performance.
Parents also want strict controls on marijuana use and sales. Over 90 percent of parents surveyed said marijuana smoking should be prohibited in the same places where tobacco smoking is, that marijuana should come with warning labels like cigarettes, that it should be illegal to provide marijuana to underage users and that the minimum age for use should be 21.
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, speaking at the panel discussion, said the survey results show the “cognitive dissonance” in Colorado over marijuana legalization in that parents want to allow it but also keep kids from being exposed to it.
“We’re going to have to look at a different way of influencing our young people beside the regulatory system,” Suthers said.
Brian Vicente, one of the proponents of marijuana legalization in Colorado, said rules are already in place or soon will be in place to address almost all the regulation concerns parents raised in the survey.