Guest Blog by Good to Know
As marijuana-related events start to pop up across the state throughout April, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) wants to make sure you have the information you need to be able to talk with the young people in your life about marijuana. Talking with youth about marijuana can feel awkward, or even intimidating. But rest assured, as long as you’re doing it, you’re doing it right.
How To Talk With Your Kids About Marijuana
The first step to having an open and honest conversation is educating yourself about the legal consequences and potential health effects. The more you know the more helpful you can be.
The legal consequences of underage retail marijuana use can negatively impact a young person’s short-term and long-term goals and plans. Here are a few legal consequences for youth to know:
- If someone’s caught with retail marijuana under the age of 21, they could get a Minor in Possession (MIP) charge. This could result in fines, driver’s license suspension, the loss of financial aid for higher education, and misdemeanor or felony charges.
- Many employers still prohibit marijuana use by their employees, which could mean losing a job. Losing a job also means losing a job reference, which makes future employment even harder to get.
- If youth are caught using marijuana, they can be removed from sports teams and extracurricular activities, suspended or expelled from school, or referred to drug counseling.
It’s also important for you to know some of the potential negative health impacts of retail marijuana so you can help young people understand the risk associated with using it. Be able to talk about the following health effects:
- For the best chance to reach their full potential, youth should not use retail marijuana because their brains are still developing until the age of 25.
- Youth who use marijuana regularly are more likely to have difficulty learning, memory issues, and lower math and reading scores. The more marijuana youth use, the harder it may be for them to learn. And the effects can last weeks after quitting.
- Marijuana is addictive. It’s harder to stop using marijuana if you start at a young age.
Youth who start using marijuana, alcohol or other drugs may be more likely to continue using later in life.
Whether you’re a parent, coach, teacher or an adult that youth trust, it’s time to start the conversation with the young people in your life. Remember, you can also visit GoodToKnowColorado.com/talk for more information, resources and tips.