Mike Dillon, a school resource officer with the Mesa County, Co., Sheriff’s Department, tells the Denver Post he is seeing more and younger kids bringing marijuana to schools, in sometimes-surprising quantities. “When we have middle school kids show up with a half an ounce, that is shocking to me,” he said. The same phenomenon is being reported around Colorado after the 2010 regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries and the 2012 vote to legalize recreational marijuana.
There are no hard data, but school resource officers, counselors, nurses, staff and officials with school safety and disciplinary programs report an increase in marijuana-related incidents in middle and high schools. “We have seen a sharp rise in drug-related disciplinary actions which, anecdotally, from credible sources, is being attributed to the changing social norms surrounding marijuana,” said Janelle Krueger of the Colorado Department of Education, a longtime adviser to the Colorado Association of School Resource Officers. School officials link the jump to the message that legalization (even though it is still prohibited for anyone under 21) is sending to kids: that marijuana is a medicine and a safe and accepted recreational activity.