Answer: Please remember as the writer of this column I am the mother of five, grandmother to nine, and great grandmother to four. 8 generations of my family call Arizona home. I am also the volunteer program director for a medical marijuana community resource center and integrative health clinic. We have thousands of parents and some minors using marijuana as a medicine being registered patients with the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Using marijuana, the first time was at age 15 for me, four years after being introduced to LSD, mushrooms, pills, and alcohol in my very Mormon community. My husband and I are very blessed none of our five children had legal issues prior to age 18. After age 18 court became a revolving door for our youngest son who has a brain injury and mental health diagnoses, because of marijuana. Three of 9 grandchildren to date have been charged with marijuana only offenses, and now have their medical marijuana patient card.
The best way to approach a child is to make your conversation age appropriate. Make a written list of all the words you plan to use in your conversation. This will help the parent stay on topic and not end up in, “Because I am the parent and said so”, save that one for another time. Ask your child to write the definitions down on your written list so you can see their level of knowledge. Do not use big words like breaking the law, illegal, probation, court costs, drug rehab., urine and blood tests, jail, fines, restricted freedom, loss of fire arms, loss of driver’s license until age 21, car impounded and not returned, no sports or after school activity participation, suspended from school, not allowed by court order to see your friends, a criminal record makes it hard to find a job or go to the college of your choice, your child taken away at birth, etc.
-unless you take time to define and explain those words.
Do not assume they know what those words mean or the impact those things will have on their life, your life, and the entire family who will be required to make multiple court appearances, pay about $3,000 when all is said and done, subject to random search of your home and vehicles, and disrupting your employment.
Stick with current truthful facts from science and the legal system, not scare tactics like marijuana will destroy your brain or body- remember they can learn the truth on a million websites. History and statistics tell us trillions of dollars spent for the war on drugs and the under 18 marijuana use group has changed only 1% from before and during the war on drugs. Marijuana has never been eradicated from our schools. Slogans do not work, and grounding them until they are 18 does not work.
If you are going to use marijuana, wait until you are 21, or you become a registered medical marijuana patient. Marijuana is illegal for minors under 21, when you get caught with marijuana or cannabis it really messes up your future being charged with a crime. -is at least hope for them and sound advice from you.
TRUTH: Using marijuana or holding it for a friend will destroy your future because the laws and punishment are far worse than using this GOD given plant -given to us as food and medicine according to the Bible.
OPINION: Marijuana is not a gateway drug. When you take away the marijuana our children turn to worse things. In my opinion the criminal justice system is the gateway to harder drugs. Our children are forced through court order into drug rehabilitation classes with drug dealers, users of heroin, cocaine, meth, pills, huffers and snorters, and alcohol, to be rehabilitated for marijuana. Our children leave rehab with new friends. A drug dealer is likely to introduce a child or teenager to other drugs even though they just want marijuana. Parents not law enforcement should manage a child for a God given plant, the same as coffee.
The truth of laws about marijuana is scarier than fables of brain damage or that marijuana is bad. Your children have access to worldwide information and social media where they will see that science says it’s a whole food and not so bad and a safer option incapable of shutting down the heart or brain, when compared to other substances that can do both.
This is information only and does not constitute legal or medical advice.