U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., recently introduced a bill to crack down on flavored tobacco in e-cigarettes. He believes Big Tobacco is marketing to kids with flavors like cake batter, whipped cream and gummy bears. As a mother and grandmother, I applaud his efforts.
But there’s another industry targeting kids right under our adult noses — Big Marijuana.
Marijuana-infused sweets like gummy bears, jolly ranchers, cotton candy, cookies, and lollipops are attractive to young people. Candy and cookies have names like Twigz, Goober, Dab-A-Honey, Keef Kat, Buddahfinger, Double Pupp Oeo, and Twixed.
One Colorado pot dispensary advertises 20 percent off everything with student I.D. Others use colorful cartoon characters like Fred Flintstone and Cookie Monster. Vape pens are made to look like Hello Kitty and little alien robots.
Tobacco addiction is bad, but marijuana addiction is worse. Research confirms that regular use of marijuana has a neurotoxic effect on teenage brains — including permanent brain damage.
Teens are already using because they think marijuana is harmless, it’s “medicine.”
The million-dollar question is: Why would Illinois lawmakers even consider legalizing it for recreational use? The answer is: To bail themselves out of years of overspending at the expense of our kids.
With elections coming up, find out where your candidates stand on legalization.
Note to readers: Kathy Valente is director of operations for the Illinois Family Institute.