A bill in New Jersey would require children to be educated about cannabis-associated risks as early as third grade, New Jersey 101.5 reports. The bill sponsor, Republican Assemblyman Erik Simonsen, who has worked as a teacher and vice-principal, said that third graders are old enough to understand the lessons, which are currently taught to New Jersey seventh graders.
“You learn that marijuana is affecting kids younger and younger, and now that it’s going to be legalized it was important to me to expand the education of it. … When it’s legalized, younger kids are going to see it more in their homes and it takes the stigma away, like this isn’t bad cause it’s legal. If people think that third graders or fourth graders aren’t experimenting, they’re nuts because I’ve seen it.” – Simonsen to NJ 101.5
The bill would require cannabis education for students from third to 12th grade including:
- The impact of cannabis and cannabis products on the adolescent brain and body;
- The effects of THC which the measure claims “can also lead to central nervous system depression;”
- The risks of addiction to cannabis;
- The risks of driving while under the influence of cannabis;
- The difference between medicinal and recreational cannabis use; and
- An “examination of the external and internal influences that may impact a person’s decision to use or abstain from cannabis and marijuana products.”
The measure carries no co-sponsors and was referred to the Assembly Education Committee. Its companion measure in the Senate was referred to that chamber’s Education Committee.
The measure comes as lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy have reached an impasse on the legalization law – which was approved for ballots by the Legislature and ultimately passed by voters – over cannabis-related penalties for underage use and possession.
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