CBS Highlights Problems After Marijuana Legalization in Colorado By Brad Wilmouth | October 30, 2016 | 10:53 PM EDT

In a report aired on Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS — and previewed in a piece on Friday’s CBS Evening News — medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook highlighted some of the problems seen in Colorado that have increased in the couple of years since the state legalized marijuana use in 2014.

LaPook spoke with a doctor from Pueblo County who recalled a substantial increase in women giving birth whose newborn babies test positive for marijuana, threatening the babies with permanent brain development problems. After also recounting a substantial increase in illegal production forcing many more law enforcement actions, the CBS correspondent also recalled the difficulty in detecting marijuana use in drivers.

LaPook began by forwarding the views of Dr. Steven Simerville of Pueblo’s St. Mary Corwin Medical Center, who supports an effort in his county to ban marijuana use there. LaPook:

He supports the ballot initiative to ban recreational pot — in part because he says he’s noticed more babies being born with marijuana in their system. His observations are anecdotal, but he’s concerned by what he has seen in his own hospital. In the first nine months of this year, 27 babies born at this hospital tested positive for THC — the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. That’s on track to be about 15 percent higher than last year.

After Dr. Simerville was seen informing LaPook that there are currently newborn babies at the hospital being treated for marijuana exposure, LaPook followed up: “What does the mother say when you say, ‘Your baby just tested positive for marijuana and it can possibly harm the baby’? What does the mother say?”

Dr. Simerville recalled that pot legalization has contributed to the misconception that, because it is legal, it is not harmful for the babies of pregnant women:

SIMERVILLE: They are not surprised that they tested positive. Obviously they know they’ve been smoking marijuana. But they’re in disbelief that it’s harmful. They frequently say, “How can it be harmful? It’s a legal drug.”

LAPOOK: Dr. Simerville says that’s a common misconception, especially because 25 states have approved marijuana for medical use for conditions like epilepsy, pain, and stimulation of appetite. But on the federal level, it’s still illegal. Today’s pot is, on average, four to five times stronger than it was in the 1980s. It can also get passed on to babies in high concentrations in breast milk.

Viewers were then informed of the dangers for babies in brain development:

SIMERVILLE: I try to explain to them that even though you’re not smoking very much, the baby is getting seven time more than you’re taking, and that this drug has been shown to cause harm in developing brains.

LAPOOK: Research suggests babies exposed to marijuana in utero may develop verbal, memory, and behavioral problems during early childhood.

After recalling a 70 percent increase in teenagers visiting the emergency room testing positive for marijuana, LaPook informed viewers of the possible ill effects for teens using marijuana:

That worries Dr. Simerville because evidence is emerging that heavy teenage use — using four to five days a week — may be linked to long-term damage in areas of the brain that help control cognitive functions like attention, memory, and decision-making.

It’s not known if there’s any amount of marijuana that is safe for the developing brain, which may still be maturing during the mid to late 20s.

The piece then moved to dealing with the burdens on law enforcement in having to find increased illegal growing of marijuana, and the difficulty in detecting the substance in the bodies of those illegally driving under the influence.

Source: c

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