Marijuana Users Need to Educate Themselves about the Laws and Health Concerns Regarding Usage


Credit to Violet Newton

On Nov. 8, Amendment 3 was passed which allowed for the legalization of recreational use of marijuana. Internal medicine physician Dr. Mimi Vo and FHN school resource officer Travis Scherder agree that one of the most important things people need to remember as Missouri transitions to legal use of recreational marijuana is to educate themselves. 

According to Vo, cannabis has many beneficial health uses. For those looking to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, she believes that they need to educate themselves on the correct dosages and how to mitigate side effects. A doctor should be consulted about their usage. 

“I think that my worry would be those who are between ages 21 to 25,” Vo said. “They’re going to be using it more as a psychoactive property just to get high. And that’s like again, I don’t condone the use of it that way, because the brain is still evolving up to 25. I think that would be my biggest worry.”

Those who are over the age of 21 and are considering recreational marijuana usage should educate themselves about what the laws actually are. Scherder is concerned that people will think that since marijuana is legal, they can smoke out in public, but that’s not the case. With Amendment 3, there are many smaller laws and restrictions in the amendment. This means that users can still get arrested on marijuana related charges and receive tickets for usage in certain scenarios. 

“You’re going to see it out in public a lot more,” Scherder said. “Which kind of goes along with the part that I said that people want to educate themselves, because people think ‘Oh, it’s legal. Now I can smoke. I can smoke weed anywhere I want, anytime I want, no matter what.’ And that’s not going be the case. People are gonna find themselves getting tickets, because you can’t just go out and smoke in public. That’s just not something you can do.”

With the legalization of recreational marijuana, concerns have been expressed about teen usage. Scherder believes this will make marijuana more accessible to teens, increasing teen usage. But Vo believes it will be safer even if they get their hands on it, because of the regulations in place for the marijuana that is being provided to the community.

“There’s no regulation [in the places where it’s illegal],” Vo said. “There’s no regulation of whether the product has to be tested for pesticides tested for pathogens, like bacteria or fungus.”