As responsible adults, it’s our duty and moral obligation to protect children. This obligation can be fulfilled in several ways.

For younger children, we hold their hands when crossing a street. We install fences around pools. We insist upon infant seats, booster seats and seat belt/shoulder restraints in the car. It’s standard practice for children to receive vaccines to prevent measles, polio, meningitis, influenza and other infectious diseases.

Bike helmets protect children from serious head injuries. Cabinet locks prevent access to toxic chemicals in our homes. Safety dictates that the firearms and ammunition in the home are secured. Prescription bottles have “childproof” caps. The specific measures implemented to protect our children vary with age and circumstance, but certainly these measures extend into the teenage years and even beyond. After all, our “kids” are always our “kids.”

The obligation to keep our children safe must also be applied to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, including marijuana. Consider some hard facts. The concentration of the psychoactive and addictive component of marijuana (THC) has increased from about 3 percent in the 1960s to as high as 70 percent or more today. Early use of high-THC marijuana has been proven to increase the likelihood of addiction, mental health disorders such as schizophrenia and poor school performance.

Problematic marijuana use is 25 percent higher among teens in states that have legalized the drug. The number of calls to Maricopa County Poison Control involving marijuana ingested by children under 10 years old increased tenfold from 2014 to 2018, and this is without legalization. Prohibiting sales of tobacco and alcohol to minors has not reliably restricted their access to them. It’s common sense that marijuana legalization would also result in higher access to children and teens.

Please protect our children. Vote no on Prop 207.