How To Talk With Teens About Marijuana Decriminalization
The social viewpoint surrounding the use of marijuana has been rapidly changing over the past decade. It isn’t unusual to hear a parent sigh with relief, “Oh, thank goodness it’s just marijuana!” It’s also common to hear teens say things like, “it’s no big deal, it’s just pot,” or the age-old favorite, “everybody does it.”
Now that possessing small amounts of marijuana will no longer be a criminal offense in Maryland, it may be even harder for parents to discourage their kids from smoking pot. However, just because the law is changing does not mean your viewpoints or house rules need to change.
The most important thing is to be frank with your teen and to not be confrontational.
Some key points to discuss are:
- Changing laws should not change your personal values!
- Make your teen aware of your concerns about his or her safety. Really educate your teens about the safety issues surrounding being in an altered, vulnerable state. A person under the influence of drugs does not have the same clarity in making decisions. Since your teen is more likely to be smoking pot in a social setting, they are not only at risk of making their own poor decisions, but is also at risk from the people they’re with.
- Remind your kids that the new law only applies to adults above the age of twenty-one. Even if they are not the one possessing or smoking pot, there is still guilt by association. If your friend’s car gets pulled over and marijuana is found, ALL of the people in the car can be arrested for possession. Making good decisions about who you’re with is paramount!
- Reiterate that the legal consequences of underage possession will still include costly fines, losing their driver’s license, and potentially being ordered to attend a substance abuse program.