Marijuana: Coming to a Storefront Near You
December 06, 2013 | Falmouth Enterprise
By Dr. Michael Bihari
The local newspapers have been following the efforts of several groups of entrepreneurs in Falmouth and Mashpee who are vying for the opportunity to open a medical marijuana dispensary sometime in 2014. If these sites are not established, local residents who have approved healthcare conditions, a prescription from their physician, and difficulty traveling can grow their own marijuana.
In addition, several state advocacy groups are working on legalizing marijuana for recreational use in 2016. Local law enforcement agencies, needless to say, are concerned that the implementation of medical marijuana dispensaries will increase the amount of marijuana on the streets and make this popular weed more available to teens.
Marijuana Myths and Facts
Marijuana is harmless: Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug among adolescents in the U.S. It can lead to significant health, social, learning, and behavioral problems at an important time in your teen's development. Getting high can impair your kid’s judgment, which can lead to risky decisions such as engaging in unwanted sex, criminal activity, or riding with someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
You can't get addicted to marijuana: Don’t be fooled; your teen can get hooked on marijuana. Research studies show that marijuana use can lead to addiction. Each year, more teens start treatment for marijuana dependence than for all other illegal drugs combined.
There are no long-term consequences to marijuana use: Not true; teens who smoke pot are more likely to engage in risky behavior that can threaten their futures, such as having unwanted or unprotected sex, getting in trouble with the law, poor academic achievement, and increased risk for depression and anxiety.
Parents who smoked pot in their youth would be hypocrites if they told their kids not to try it: As a parent you need to make your own decision about whether to share your drug use experience (if any) with your kids. There are several talking points you can use with your teens:
- Much more is known today about the serious health and social consequences of using marijuana.
- In spite of recent state laws that have eased access to marijuana, it is still against the law to use it to get high and getting caught with pot can have serious consequences.
- The marijuana grown today is much stronger than several decades ago and its side effects are much more potent.
Know the Facts & Stay Involved
As a parent, you have the most influence on your teens when it comes to drug use and underage drinking. According to a Partnership for a Drug-Free America Attitude Tracking Study, two-thirds of teens ages 13-17 say that losing their parents' respect is one of the main reasons they don't smoke marijuana or use other drugs. And, in a study from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, adolescents who believed that their parents would strongly disapprove of marijuana use had rates over 80 percent lower than those whose parents would not strongly disapprove.
As we go into the new year, there will continue to be a lot of talk about medical marijuana and the push for recreational legalization. So, the messaging needs to begin with you! Your kids need to hear from you how risky marijuana use can be and how damaging it can be to their lives. Stay involved, know what your kids are doing, and set limits with clear rules and consequences.
Marijuana Facts for Teens: Presented in question-and-answer format and targeted to teens, provides facts about marijuana and its potential harmful effects.
MedlinePlus Marijuana provides access to information from reliable sources that are accurate and up-to-date.