Juvenile Marijuana Crimes on the Rise
Posted By: Jacob Martinez
In the past few years, Colorado has been receiving a lot of national media attention for becoming the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use. Despite the fact that plenty of popular news outlets have been playing up this new legislation and pointing out its positive aspects, the legalization of marijuana has not been without negative side effects.
According to the Durango Herald, Colorado schools saw a record number of drug use violations in the months following marijuana legalization. The Herald notes that middle schoolers—children between the ages of 11 and 14—are the biggest offenders when it comes to illegal marijuana possession in schools. Unfortunately, this is no small-scale dilemma—the problem in Colorado middle schools is serious.
In the months immediately following marijuana legalization, drug violations in Colorado’s middle schools increased by 24%.Click To Tweet These violations led to 951 drug-related incidents in middle schools, the highest number that the state has seen in a decade.
Changing Colorado Drug Laws
When Amendment 64 was passed in 2012, recreational marijuana use was legalized. The legislation made it legal for adults aged 21 and older to privately grow their own cannabis plants, possess all cannabis harvested from the plants, and consume marijuana in responsible levels in private places.
Since 2012, Colorado’s laws have continued to evolve and change. Now in 2015, it is also legal to buy and sell marijuana in certain designated stores, and regulations have been adopted for “recreational marijuana establishments.” As more and more laws develop, attitudes toward marijuana are changing. The new widespread acceptance of the drug also means that it is becoming more prevalent and easier to procure. Unfortunately, this also means that marijuana is becoming easier for children to get ahold of as well.
Even though Colorado is considered to be paving the way for marijuana reform across the United States, this does not mean that the state is taking drug use any less seriously. Law enforcement officials in Colorado still recognize that marijuana can be abused, and they are determined to see to it that Colorado is considered groundbreaking for only the right reasons. This means punishing those who abuse or misuse the drug, even if those people are middle schoolers.
Youth Does Not Equal Invincibility
Because Colorado has been ranking so poorly when it comes to young people and drug use, officials are taking these findings very seriously. They are looking at this problem as one that could spiral downward quickly and significantly, and they recognize that action must be taken before the situation worsens for Colorado’s citizens and its reputation.
This means that middle school children in Colorado could be facing serious consequences for their crimes. That’s right—crimes. Amendment 64 permits marijuana use for adults 21 and over, which means that juveniles who are caught in possession of the drug are breaking the law. Colorado schools and law enforcement agencies are well aware of this and are not going to let youth be an acceptable excuse for illegal behavior. In fact, in an effort to stop children’s drug use from developing into full-fledged dependency in adolescence and adulthood, school officials are leaning in favor of stricter laws when it comes to drug charges.
With this new attitude of cracking down on youthful offenders, parents in the area should make no mistake—districts will not hesitate to make an example out of your child. Drug charges are serious even when they are brought against minors.
If your child is facing drug charges, they could be facing community service, fines and, of course, a mark on their permanent record. Not only could this embarrass and shame your child, it could present real issues for him as he applies for jobs, internships, or colleges.
Don’t Risk Your Child’s Future
While parents may be inclined to forgive their children’s transgressions and write them off as silly youthful mistakes, schools and law enforcement agencies are not always as lenient. Now that the numbers of drug crimes are on the rise among Colorado’s youth, all adults in positions of authority are working hard to crack down. This could mean increased scrutiny at stores, stricter regulations from teachers or principles at schools, and even increased patrolling by law enforcement officials.
If your child has been caught with marijuana and is facing legal action as a result, do not dismiss the charges as silly or unimportant. These charges are real and can have serious, lasting effects. If your child is facing a drug possession charge, fight back by contacting an experienced Denver defense attorney today.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.