District delays mailing pamphlet on dangers of pot

The School District 51 Board of Education has published a pamphlet detailing the evils of marijuana but doesn’t plan to mail it to parents until after this year’s elections.

That’s because the board, which hasn’t taken a position on the ballot measure that would legalize marijuana, doesn’t want to appear to be spending taxpayer dollars on a political issue, Board President Greg Mikolai said.

“Because of the ballot initiative on marijuana, this thing could be misconstrued in some ways as trying to influence the election,” said Mikolai, adding that the pamphlet was to be mailed to parents this week. “It’s one of those things where we’re probably better safe than sorry. The election’s only a couple weeks away, it’s not going to make that big a difference in terms of delivery of this information.”

Much of the opposition to legalizing marijuana has centered on its effects on children and their ability to concentrate in school.

Last month, Gov. John Hickenlooper came out against Amendment 64, in part, based on an argument that it sends the wrong message to youth that marijuana use is acceptable.

District 51’s pamphlet highlights such “facts” as:

■ Marijuana is particularly harmful to developing brains in teen years.

■  Marijuana is associated with poor school performance.

■  Adolescents who use marijuana before age 18 are two to four times more likely to develop mental illness in early adulthood.

The “arguments against” section of the Blue Book, the voters’ guide published by the Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly, claims marijuana use would have a negative impact on brain development of children and young adults.

“The board feels that there is information that should be made available to the public about marijuana, and we’re presenting this particular aspect of it,” Mikolai said, adding that the district has seen an increase in expulsions in recent years due to marijuana use.

While some school boards in the state have come out against the amendment, District 51 hasn’t taken a position on it.

Meanwhile, the Legislative Reviews Committee of the Colorado Association of School Boards has recommended opposing it. The CASB board is to consider adopting that recommendation at its annual meeting in Fort Collins later this month.


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