$10,000 Donation to YES Partnership for
In response to the City of Sonora’s passage of the recreational marijuana sales ordinance, Mel Kirk, brother of Tuolumne County District 3 Supervisor Anaiah Kirk, has donated $10,000 to the YES Partnership to help educate our youth about the harmful effects of cannabis and other substance abuse. The donation will launch the “Be Smart, Stay Smart, Just Say No To Marijuana” campaign.
Kirk, who suffered a loss of a family member due to substance abuse wants our kids to understand the dangers involved. “It is permanently damaging their brains and their ability to think. Brain development continues until age 25 and drug use prior to that time has negative consequences,” says Kirk.
It’s not just cannabis use that has Kirk worried. “We already have a problem in this county with kids using marijuana, and often, marijuana use leads to other types of substance use. My cousin Kaelin passed away from a heroin overdose at the age of 29. Kaelin started smoking marijuana at the age of 14 with his friends, and this was the gateway to a lifelong drug abuse problem. He always credited early marijuana use as the thing that led him to the choice of using heroin.”
Mr. Kirk, while attending a City Council meeting where anti-drug education was brought to the floor, but not ultimately considered in the passing of the ordinance, offered to donate toward educational efforts. He felt that the most effective way he could help mitigate the potential negative impacts of the ordinance was to contribute the funds to the YES Partnership who could enhance their efforts to educate our youth and community about the harmful effects of cannabis use.
THE YES Partnership, now in its 35th year, is a community-wide coalition dedicated to supporting Tuolumne County youth and families by preventing suicide, substance, and child abuse. The Partnership has been providing marijuana prevention education to youth in the schools for the past four years. They also have a grant for Alcohol and Drug Primary Prevention Services from the Tuolumne County Behavioral Health Department to focus on youth marijuana prevention. Their efforts have included supporting The Drug Store Project sponsored by the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Office, promotion of the Let’s Talk Cannabis program sponsored by the California Department of Public Health, and the establishment of the EPIC Youth Coalition.
In response to the donation, the YES Partnership has formed a Cannabis Education Committee. “I am very grateful to Mel Kirk for his generous donation to further enhance our youth cannabis prevention efforts,” says Bob White, YES Partnership Director.
Learn more about the effects of marijuana on youth
Is cannabis harmful to teens and young adults?
Yes. The brain is still developing until the 20s. Using cannabis regularly in your teens and early 20s may lead to physical changes in your brain. Cannabis can harm a young person’s memory and ability to learn and pay attention. Some studies suggest a permanent impact as well. These harmful effects may make it harder for youth to achieve their educational and professional goals and impact how successful they are in life. Cannabis use also increases the risk for anxiety, depression, suicide and schizophrenia as well as substance use or abuse.