As our state continues implementation of Initiative 502, it is important, as parents and grandparents, that we understand the facts about marijuana so we can have productive conversations with the children and young adults in our lives about avoiding drug use.
Below are key facts and resources to aid you as you talk to your children and teens about making healthy life choices.
- In 2012, Washington voters approved Initiative 502 to allow the recreational use and purchase of marijuana for adults who are 21 years of age and older.
- While it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to use or purchase marijuana, the reality is that legalizing the drug for adults makes it more accessible to youth. Youth are also exposed to marijuana advertising. These factors increase the likelihood that youth will use marijuana.
- Marijuana is addictive. About 9 percent of users become addicted; this number increases for those who start young (to about 17 percent, or 1 in 6) and those who use marijuana daily (to 25-50 percent).
- Students who use marijuana are more likely to have lower grades and drop out of school compared to students who don’t use marijuana. In addition, many students who use marijuana also use other substances, including alcohol and tobacco (2012 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey).
- The good news is that most students do not use marijuana, alcohol or other drugs, and they are less likely to use them when they know their parents disapprove of this.
- Marijuana: Know the Facts: What Parents Need to Know. Developed by the Washington State Liquor Control Board, this guide for parents has facts about the impacts of marijuana and I-502.
- A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Underage Marijuana Use. The guide contains helpful information about the unique risks of marijuana to the developing brain, proven strategies to help keep youth drug-free, signs and symptoms of marijuana use, and what to do if you suspect a child or teen may already be using marijuana.
- For tips on how to talk with your kids at different ages, and other ways to keep them healthy and drug-free, visit www.StartTalkingNow.org.
We know that parental involvement makes a difference in keeping children, teens and young adults healthy, safe and in school. I encourage you to make use of these resources and to share them with others. Together, we can make our communities a safer and healthier place now and for future generations.
Additionally, for more information about marijuana research and minimizing risks for adult consumers, visit www.LearnAboutMarijuanaWA.org.
Very truly yours,