Coalitions in Action: Michigan Mobilizes to Protect Youth from Marijuana
By Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), Newsletter Article
Apr 25, 2013
Since medical marijuana has been approved in Michigan, more and more kids think it's harmless. And the Chippewa Valley Coalition for Youth & Families in Clinton Township and Macomb Township, Mich., a CADCA member, hopes a new campaign will focus the public conversation toward the harm the drug can do to youth.
"People feel like it's a done deal. And that is going to create immobilization. We want people to make their voices heard," said Charlene McGunn, Ph.D, Executive Director of the coalition.
Voters endorsed the use of medical marijuana in 2008 and there are more than 131,000 registered medical-marijuana patients in the state. Another 27,000 are caregivers, or people who can grow marijuana for up to five people, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Last month, several significant changes took effect to the state's medical marijuana law, including extending the one-year registry cards to two years and setting rules for the doctor-patient relationship for medical-marijuana users.
The coalition will hold a call-to-action press conference April 29 to announce the launch of the Mobilizing Michigan: Protecting Our Kids from Marijuana Campaign. The statewide campaign features a toolkit of fact sheets, evidence-based research, parenting materials, social media recommendations, letters to the editor templates, PowerPoint presentations, and a PSA.
U.S. Congressman Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), County Executive Mark Hackel, Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith, Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, and other key community leaders will attend the event.
Macomb County Community Mental Health - Office of Substance Abuse (MCOSA). The toolkit is being distributed this week to all community anti-drug coalitions in the state. It can be customized for a particular coalition's purpose, and Dr. McGunn hopes coalitions report back to her with their outcomes from local campaigns.
The Mobilizing Michigan – Protecting Our Kids from Marijuana Campaign Toolkit, has multiple components intended to provide community coalitions, schools, agencies, churches with the tools to educate all sectors of the community – youth, parents, other community members, school staff, law enforcement, government, the faith community, and business, youth-serving and other agencies, etc. – about the dangers of youth marijuana use.
Data and other Information included in the Mobilizing Michigan toolkit is based on research from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, the National Institute of Mental Health, and CADCA.
"We all feel like we are watching a tidal wave coming toward us and people feel we can't do anything about it but we can, and this event declares we are!" Dr. McGunn said.
The coalition hopes their tools will help advocates in their state and even beyond.
The coalition also created a new statewide Facebook and Twitter campaign in advance of the official press conference for "420 Day," the unofficial marijuana smokers' holiday.
We hope to refocus public opinion to the negative consequences of youth marijuana use and the increase in use that results from public sanction of marijuana.
"We have an uphill battle here, but what we are finding that even pro marijuana groups cannot state that marijuana is safe for kids," Dr. McGunn said.