By Roya Burton
Holt Journal Staff Reporter
Ingham County has seen a gradual increase in drug arrests since 2014. According to statistics collected by the Michigan State Police, 67 percent of all drug arrest in Ingham County were marijuana-related.
And the illicit drug is most commonly seen around young age groups. In a 2015 survey, statistics revealed that 15 percent of all eighth-graders and 44 percent of 12th-graders have been exposed to the drug at least once in their lifetime, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Hope Middle School has taken a different approach to educate their students. The Second Step curriculum is a research based curriculum that takes a social-emotional approach to teach students about decision making, and peer pressure.
“The kids are very engaged in the lesson,” said Hope Middle School Counselor Jennifer Craft.
The Second Step program helps students expand their knowledge on communication skills, and making good choices.
Local dispensaries have also done their part in regulating recreational use, especially by non-prescribed users. In order to even enter most marijuana dispensaries you must have a valid medical card which qualifies use of the cannabis by recommendation of a licensed physician.
“We try to regulate all of our products, but especially our edibles. Anything that looks like it could be appealing to the younger age groups we try to avoid those products as much as possible,” said Catalina a KIND dispensary representative, whose preferred to keep her last name private.
Under Michigan State Law possession of marijuana is defined as a misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum sentence of one year, unless it is being used for medical purposes.
Dennis Malaret Ph.D is a Sociology professor at Grand Valley State University who specializes in drug use and abuse. “The issue of licit and illicit drugs is getting more complicated than ever as a result of various institutional, cultural, social, and economic factors,” said Malaret.