I-502 pot sales raise concerns about children, addiction




Posted on July 8, 2014 at 7:13 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 9 at 9:47 AM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Not everyone’s celebrating the legal sale of pot in Washington.

Drug counselors fear it will create more addicts and children’s advocates fear the social acceptance of marijuana use will encourage kids to try it.

Meghan Sullivan, Executive Director of the Lacey-based non-profit, Thurston Together!, said marijuana can damage a child’s developing brain.

”Using a substance affects their pleasure and reward circuits in the brain,” said Sullivan.

Andrew Dean works at a rehabilitation facility and fears adults may try smoking pot and regret it.

”I remember a time I blew through $1,000 a week just on marijuana,” said Dean, who started smoking pot when he was 11.

Dean said he spent much of the next 10 years high on pot, costing him job and leading to him dropping out of high school.

His ex-wife would not allow him to see his son until he got clean.

He now works as a drug counselor’s aide at an Olympia drug treatment facility and has plans to go to college to be a counselor.

Dean figures the legalization of pot sales will create more addicts for him to help in the future.

”I think people are learning it’s a drug,” said Dean, “It’s going to cause problems.”