Michelle L – June 22, 2021

My beautiful boy Trevor died 3 days before Johnny Stack died, 11/17/19, in his dorm room at Sonoma State University, after ingesting a “blue 30” street pill that was a lethal dose of 3 types of fentanyl. His unformed brain caused the neurons to search out a higher high after being introduced to cannabis at age 14.
My son became addicted to cannabis as a freshman in High School. When I discovered that my 14 year old son was using cannabis regularly, I learned all I could about the new marijuana. I learned that the pot my friends smoked in college was maybe 2-4% THC, and 6% if you were lucky to score Maui Waui. THC amounts in today’s medical marijuana strains average around 25%, with some award-winning strains up to 35% THC, and Dabs up to 99% THC. This is not hippie grass. Marijuana affects brain plasticity and proper neural function in youth.
Our family did all we could to stop our son’s addiction (a 14 year old brain gets hooked quickly). We sent him to rehab, where he was diagnosed with Cannabis Use Disorder. He came home, only to experience even greater addiction a year later, including finding multiple very fake IDs and cannabis club memberships, and having our home, vehicles, and even myself a punching bag for his drug-fueled rages when coming down from his high. He ended up attending six high schools including three rehabs before graduating from High School in 2019. And yes, the day after his 18th birthday, his first legal medical marijuana card appeared in the mailbox, despite his long-standing issues with drugs.
Since his death, I have been an outspoken advocate against youth use of marijuana – particularly the facts which led to Trevor’s addiction and ultimate death.
•       Potency. I encouraging people to learn about the strength of today’s marijuana – it is not “just pot”.
•       Biology. How the brain is not fully formed until age 25 in most young adults, and the likelihood for addiction increases to 1 in 6 for youth using marijuana when starting before the brain has reached adulthood.
•       Gateway. Today’s marijuana leads many young people in search of a higher high.
•       Suicide. How marijuana use in young adults increases suicide ideation seven-fold (additionally, toxicology results in suicides show a 10% increase in marijuana since legalization in CO.)
I have nothing against medical marijuana use, and was made fully aware of its benefits as a breast cancer patient in 2019. I have nothing against responsible adults’ use of marijuana.
I am appalled, however, with my local CA policymakers who equate support of Prop 64 with opening cannabis retail storefronts, and am currently part of a local advocacy group showing the harm of youth access to cannabis and the normalization that happens when a storefront goes in. One of our nearby towns, Sausalito CA, is the latest jurisdiction to consider breaking ranks with the rest of my county and allowing a portal for the highly commercialized recreational cannabis industry in their community. I have to point out Sausalito’s proximity to the Golden Gate Bridge and note that adolescents who use cannabis have a seven-fold increase in making suicide attempts. I have first-hand experience of the tie between cannabis use and suicidal ideation from sitting in 12-step and grief groups with parents whose children have been lured to Sausalito’s International Orange icon. Another one of Trevor’s cannabis-addicted friends was dialing Uber to order a call to take him to the Golden Gate Bridge, when Trevor intervened and “talked him off the ledge”. In the first four years since legalization, Colorado coroners have seen a 10.5% increase in the prevalence of positive marijuana tests in toxicology reports, increasing from 11.8% at the onset of legalization in 2012 to 22.3% in 2016.
 The latest marijuana statistics include:
•       30% of marijuana users have a use disorder.
•       9-17% of people who try marijuana will become addicted.
•       And yes, marijuana is a gateway drug, especially for those with unformed brains, under age 25.
My son is more than a statistic. What tax revenue will be gained to make up for the price of my son? And that revenue increase will be at the cost of more people addicted to cannabis in my county. How do I know that? Because we have seen the same practices with the tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical industries. They profit from the suffering of others.
Personally, I have nothing to lose in this game except time. I already lost my oldest son to fentanyl poisoning caused by his addiction. I advocate against commercial retail cannabis because I know increased normalization and access will further hurt the youth of our county. Students themselves tell us how easy it is to get a fake ID or have someone go in a store to buy for them. Marin CA already has skyrocketing youth cannabis use numbers – and with a dispensary nearby, Marin teen cannabis use rates will just get worse.
For the record: this isn’t a “parenting problem” as some people would like to suggest to abdicate responsibility for our community’s youth. I was the perennial room mom in my sons’ classes. We had family dinners regularly. They had an allowance and had to earn money to buy any earthly goods they desired. Our family is not divorced, nor are our boys adopted. I spent a month recently writing thank-you cards for the literally hundreds of condolence cards and memorial donations we received, so many of them sharing how our family is such a cornerstone of our community. The thing is, parents can’t fight this alone. We need policy that shows youth that we value their health and safety. We need local leaders that recognize the crisis we have in our county and take responsibility for their part. We need community that doesn’t point fingers and parent-shame, but instead asks – what can we all do to make sure we don’t lose more kids?
If your State or Community is considering changes to marijuana laws, I implore all involved to consider the good of your entire community’s health over money. In our case, we need to decide what is best for all of our local community, since there are no gates to wall in the city of Sausalito, so whatever is decided will affect all of our county. Our kids (and many adults) are growing up with marijuana use being marketed, normalized, and pushed by the cannabis industry. Our minds naturally and powerfully say “illegal is bad, legal is good”, and marijuana is no exception.

One Reply to “Michelle L – June 22, 2021”

  1. Thank you we have been there as a family. The big difficulty is that no one believes cannabis can do this. The world is waking up to alot of the money motivated killers we have legalized. God is forming an army with people like you and Laura.
    God is with you

    Margaret Munck ocds

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