Letter - Unintended consequences of legal marijuana


After reading about the state of Washington legislating legal use of recreational marijuana and our City Council agreeing to allow the sale of it, I feel compelled to express my concerns in the matter.

As an educator, I have seen many types of problems related to the environment of my students. I did some research on the effects of second-hand marijuana smoke on babies and young children. This is what I discovered.

The effects of second-hand marijuana smoke on babies and young children are half as much as for first-hand smokers! Yet their metabolisms have less ability to process these chemicals.

Babies and children who passively inhale cigarette/marijuana smoke are not only at risk for lifelong lung disease, but the absorbed toxins also cause developmental and behavioral problems.

Any form of smoke is bad for your lungs. In children and babies, marijuana second-hand smoke is entering their lungs and damaging tissues, as well as possibly affecting their brain’s ability to function and learn correctly. My own personal experience is that I have chronic bronchitis from second-hand smoke I inhaled for my entire first 18 years.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing advises that active maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy has negative effects on child health, such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but new research suggests that second-hand smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), may be just as harmful.

This study, which was done in 2012, determined that children of mothers with ETS exposure had 10 percent more prevalence of externalizing behavior problems than children of unexposed mothers. This study is speaking of regular cigarette smoke. Here are the symptoms of inhaling marijuana smoke: Marijuana may cause problems with attention, learning, memory, organization, planning, problem solving, and other brain functions.

Do we really want to place yet another risk to our children’s health and well-being by allowing this “harmless” drug to be used recreationally in the home where the children have no choice but to inhale it?

We have little sway here in Eastern Washington with what the state chooses to do, but I believe we can do a better job protecting our children here in Walla Walla. Or is the added tax revenue just too tempting?

Debora Rossi

Walla Walla


fatherof5 1 year, 8 months ago

I tend to be more libertarian on this issue, but Mrs. Rossi makes some really good points in this letter.


adpomraning 1 year, 8 months ago

Mrs. Rossi; (1) I hope all parents read your letter about 2nd hand smoke. (2) Unless the WA state law changes, at this time the city and county get zero percentage of the state collected marijuana excise tax. The liquor excise taxes have also been withdrawn from cities. It appears most of new excise tax funds will be used to fund education $$$ shortfalls. Allen Pomraning Walla Walla City Council Member


Debrossi 1 year, 8 months ago

Allen, thank you for your comments about my letter. It is ironic to me that the tax funds from the sale of marijuana are going to go to education. We will end up spending more money on children who need special services and interventions because of the availability of this drug. I am still very unclear as to why the council would vote in favor of allowing local sale of marijuana, especially if none of the revenue is available to our city.


Igor 1 year, 8 months ago

Just because something raises revenue does not make it a winner. Why not legalize heroin and cocaine too? I spent a year in Vietnam and I can tell you from first hand experience that pot smoking makes people worthless and ineffective in combat. I've never known a pot smoker that was worth the powder to blow him to hell. Don't we have enough problems with booze already?


chicoli 1 year, 8 months ago

Have you ever heard about the eponym of "pot head" for someone who act silly and does stupid things? Well, there you have it! Moreover there are several comorbidities associated with chronic cannabinoids abuse, from depression to psychosis with clinical significance, enough to deserve psychiatric treatment. Impulsivity with languge, driving and misuse of weapons get "pot heads" in trouble more times than not.

Having said that I must observed that many of our politicians and other policy makers are "pot heads" by nature, without ever taking a single puff of the stuff.


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