Across the United States, there’s an ongoing case being made to legalize marijuana state-by-state. CBS News reported that legalization of recreational marijuana was on the ballot in five states this Election Day. While Arizona rejected the legalization of recreational marijuana, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada voted to legalize it.

What does the federal government say about it? According to The White House, Congress’ Controlled Substances Act designates that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. They also determined that marijuana is a “dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime.”

The U.S. government allows each individual state the autonomy to regulate the sale and medicinal or recreational use of cannabis. The Wall Street Journal reports that marijuana is now legal in 25 states for medicinal purposes and in four for recreational use.

Regardless of its legalization status, marijuana still poses considerable health risks. “The science of how THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) affects young minds is still evolving. However, studies have shown that pot use during adolescence can shave off several IQ points and increase the risk for schizophrenic breaks,” states The Wall Street Journal. Because of the potency of contemporary cannabis, it’s important to recognize that marijuana has a higher addiction rate than alcohol on children and teens.

Pot also affects the adult community, specifically the workforce. It’s been said that employers have a harder time finding workers who pass drug tests in light of the fact that positive workplace drug tests for marijuana have increased 178% nationwide since 2012.

In the few states that have recently legalized recreational marijuana, they’ll encounter a steep state tax and strict regulation on the substance. Consequently, marijuana-related traffic deaths could increase in states where recreational marijuana has been legalized.

3rd Millennium Classrooms has developed relevant, engaging courses that inform kids, teens, and adults about the facts, risks, and consequences of using or distributing marijuana, whether they live in a state that’s legalized it or not. Among the online prevention education courses for colleges and universities offered are Marijuana 101, Marijuana-Wise, and Other Drugs.

By Meagan Sanders, M.Ed.