Jefferson City makes a stand against recreational marijuana

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JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin is taking a stance against the use of recreational marijuana. 

Tergin signed a proclamation Monday stating Jefferson City believes recreational marijuana to be harmful to young people. 

The director of the Council for Drug Free Youth Director, Joy Sweeney, said the proclamation means Jefferson City officials are acknowledging the fact that recreational marijuana is an issue with young people in the Jefferson City area.

Sweeney and other Council for Drug Free Youth employees wrote the proclamation.

It says "recreational marijuana use impairs the brain's effectiveness, ability to concentrate, coordination and ability to retain information by changing the way sensory information reaches and is processed by the brain."

The proclamation includes many statistics said to support the argument against marijuana.

"Compared to non-smoking peers, students who smoke marijuana tend to get lower grades and are more likely to drop out of high school. Students who use marijuana recreationally before age 15 are three times more likely to have left school by age 16."

Sweeney said more and more children in the area are choosing to use marijuana recreationally.

She said growing acceptance of medical marijuana nationwide may lead young people to believe the drug is not harmful.

Sweeney said she hopes proclamation will help minimize this misperception.

Show-Me Cannabis Deputy Director Amber Langston said she hopes the proclamation is doing more than making a statement against the use of marijuana. 

Langston said if city officials choose to make a stance such as this, then they need to follow up with alternative actions to help the children who are abusing the drug. 

"I hope, along with this statement, that there are other things that this group is focusing on like opportunities for young people to be socially involved in part of their community to address issues that may tie into the substance abuse problem," Langston said.

Sweeney said the next step is to hold a town-hall forum on June 11 to educate the community on the effects of recreational marijuana on youth. 

(Editor's note: This story has been change to reflect a correction by Sweeney, who said she was wrongly quoted as saying legalization efforts are directly related to  increased use of marijuana by young people.)