Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Recently, University of Washington researchers found that only 57 percent of Washington parents in a survey knew the legal age for recreational pot use.
A new campaign to educate parents about the law and the importance of talking to children about marijuana recently was launched by Prevention WINS, the PEACE Coalition, and other stakeholders in Seattle. Three physicians from Seattle Children’s Hospital are featured in the campaign. With an increase in the number of Poison Center calls for teenagers who have consumed too much marijuana, physicians are particularly concerned.
Parents are the number one influence on children, even in their teen years, so it’s important to know the law when talking to children about it. Research also shows that it is important for adults to help children develop the social and emotional skills needed to avoid drug use. For more than 20 years prevention programs have rejected scare tactics and have been providing parents with advice about promoting healthy decision-making among teenagers. With mixed messages children are receiving about risks associated with teenagers using marijuana, these parenting skills are more important than ever.
For the record, it is legal only for people 21 years old and above to use marijuana in Washington.
What else do parents and teenagers need to know about the law?
• Legal products include foods and beverages with marijuana in them.Some of these products may be attractive to youth and mistaken for common food and beverages. Examples include candy, soft drinks, and baked-goods.
• It is illegal for people under 21 to drive under the influence of any amount of marijuana.
• The new law allows marijuana advertising. Be aware of marijuana advertising that your child is exposed to online, in magazines and newspapers, and in the community. Talk about the ads and the messages they send, especially if ads use images of young adults. Use these talks to stress your family rules about not using drugs, including marijuana.
• It is illegal for adults to provide marijuana to people under the age of 21, including parents giving their own children marijuana (unless they have a medical marijuana authorization.)
• It is illegal to grow marijuana at home unless a medical marijuana authorization is obtained.
• It is illegal to consume (smoke, eat, drink) marijuana products in public.