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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 1, 2016
CONTACT:
Lois Callahan, Project Director (202) 329-8227, lncallahan.dcyouthfirst@gmail.com
Susie Cambria, Project Co-coordinator (301) 832-2339, scambria@w7sdcc.org

Community Coalition Urges City's Leaders to Put the Brakes on Pot Clubs
Youth use of marijuana, substantially increased in Ward 7 since 2013, is a major concern; further
legislative action may continue to legitimize use among young people
WASHINGTON, DC, February 1, 2016: The Ward 7 Safe & Drug-free Communities Coalition (Coalition)
is calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser and members of the Council of the District of Columbia to pause the
frenzied push for pot clubs until the rise in marijuana use among children and youth can be studied.
30-day use of marijuana by middle school students has increased three-fold between 2013 and 2015,
from 2.8% to 7.8%, according to a survey done in four Ward 7 schools in May 2015. Community leaders of
the Coalition informally report that young people they encounter do not distinguish between
decriminalization and legalization. The recent law and enforcement changes may have led to this
confusion.
Making such important changes in the drug and alcohol landscape should not be taken lightly. It is
incumbent on leaders and community members to have the most and best information available before
making such a historic policy change. If the recent spike in youth marijuana use is, in fact, related to the
2014 change, we can only expect further increases when marijuana use becomes more socially acceptable
among adults.
The Coalition will do several focus groups for parents and young people this year. But this is not enough.
We assert that a full-fledged rigorous study of youth drug use is necessary in order to make policy
decisions based on the full set of facts.

The Ward 7 Safe & Drug-free Communities Coalition is a nonprofit organization, incorporated in the District of
Columbia and organized to promote substance abuse prevention among youth and adults living in Ward 7 in the
District of Columbia. The Coalition promotes prevention through resident education and empowerment.
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