Youth Coalition offers free movies at Grantville Theater
By Angel Carpenter
Blue Mountain Eagle
JOHN DAY – Grant County Safe Communities Coalition is gearing up with a media campaign about the harm marijuana can cause.
The effort comes on the heels of a trip that coalition program manager Russ Comer and chairman Katrina Randleas took to Washington, D.C. for the Feb. 3-6 Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America conference.
“The big messages were about the efforts some are making to legalize marijuana, and a lot about marijuana myths compared to facts and education and information about the harms it can cause to our youths,” Comer said.
One statistic that stood out to Comer was that in Denver, Colo., where marijuana was legalized, 29 percent of students have used marijuana in the last month.
“If Denver was a state, it would have the highest percentage,” he said, referring to the numbers of students using marijuana.
Also in Denver, between 2007-12, drug-related referrals for high school students increased by 150 percent.
“Anytime availability or access is increased for any substance, underage use increases,” he said.
The two joined other Oregonians at the conference to meet with state leaders on Capitol Hill Day. They spoke with Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley as well as Rep. Greg Walden.
“We shared a general statement from Oregon as whole,” Comer said. “It’s good to be able to speak directly with them – these are the people making the rules, and having the information coming directly from the Oregon delegation to them makes a greater impact.”
The local coalition’s mission statement is “Working together for a safe, healthy and drug-free community.”
Randleas said she learned new facts about marijuana – “like the negative effect on IQ and the drastic increase of DUI situations due to marijuana, among youth and adults,” she said.
“In our Youth Coalition, we’re talking about making a push to educate the community about the effects and the facts about marijuana,” she added.
The Youth Coalition is a branch of Safe Communities at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School.
Their latest activity is offering spring break movies for youth at Grantville Theater in Canyon City. The films started on Monday and run through Thursday this week.
Wednesday’s showing is a 2013 PG animated movie, featuring minions, and Thursday’s show will be a 2013 PG animated movie about a caveman family.
The youth group, facilitated by Lisa Weigum, also designed a new message to replace the billboard on the west side of John Day near Ed’s Fast Break Shell station.
Safe Communities meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m. at the Outpost Restaurant. The Youth Coalition’s next meeting is Tuesday, April 1, in the school library.