Don Carney says he prefers to call the legalization of marijuana the “corporatization” of cannabis.
That’s because, as laws are relaxed and it becomes more readily available, the active ingredient — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — is working its way into all kinds of consumer products, says Carney, director of restorative services and the Marin Youth Court for the Marin YMCA.
“We’re finding THC in soda pop, candy, ‘pot’ tarts. … Children are inadvertently getting their hands on this and being hospitalized at much higher rates than they were previously, previous to the corporatization of marijuana,” Carney says on the latest edition of IJ Forums, the Independent Journal’s televised public affairs program.
“I’ve found in my own practice here in Marin County that marijuana is the preferred drug of young people; it’s much easier to get for them than alcohol, even though it’s not on the street, legal at this point. But they can get it secondhand from medical marijuana dispensaries with a shoulder-tap approach — I’ve had plenty of police reports.”
But Scot Candell, a San Rafael attorney who specializes in marijuana law, says there’s no down side to legalization.
“As far as the negative effects, honestly I don’t think there are any,” Candell says. “And the reason is marijuana is already available to youth. … The studies are showing people are not going to be using more marijuana when it becomes legal. That’s been proved in Colorado and other states.
“What is shown is that people use less alcohol when marijuana is legal — and these are adults that the studies are on. And the result of that is that crime goes down, because there are a lot of crimes related to alcohol. Alcohol addiction goes down, drunk driving goes down, things of that nature. So I see it as a positive.”
He says he’s not “advocating for youth smoking pot — that’s not my position.
“My position is — there’s pot in the schools, and it has nothing to do with legalization. I respectfully disagree that marijuana comes to the schools through legal dispensaries,” he says, arguing that it stems from black market dealers.
For the full session hosted by IJ columnist Dick Spotswood, visit marinij.com/topic/ij_forums. The show can also be viewed on Comcast Channel 26 and AT&T U-verse Channel 99 at
6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16;
5 p.m. Saturday;
6:30 p.m. March 2;
5 p.m. March 4;
6:30 p.m. March 16; and
5 p.m. March 18.