With all the national conversation around legalizing marijuana, many teens are jumping to the uninformed conclusion that it’s low-risk for them.
Experts, however, are extremely worried about the impact of marijuana on developing adolescent brains.
Not only that—but there’s one certain kind of marijuana that’s so dangerous that possession of it is a felony. Make sure your kids know this, because if one of their friends pulls it out, they’ll want to run for the hills as fast as they can.
My grim conversation with the police officer
When I interviewed a police officer to get information for this article, he told me in grim terms that the form of marijuana called “wax” (also known as “dabs” or “hash oil”) is especially dangerous for teens and adults due to its exorbitantly high THC level.
It’s so dangerous that possession of even a tiny amount of it is a felony.
All teens who use marijuana, or who have friends who use marijuana, need to google the word “felony” to understand the prison term that results from this—even for first offenses, even for juveniles.
This is one of the strongest arguments there is for being extremely careful who you get into a car with.
Tell your teens: “If you’re friends with a pot smoker, you never know when that person might decide to cross over to doing ‘wax’ or ‘dabs.’ You don’t want the police doing a traffic stop, finding something on the floor of the car, and then your ‘friend’ points a finger at you and says it’s yours.”
Police officer: “I’ve had kids bawling in the back of my squad car because they had no idea.”
This is important information for kids who may be thinking, “Oh, weed’s no big deal.”
Some good kids are going to make choices in their teens that hurt them in the long run.
What we want to help them avoid is making prison or the juvenile justice system a part of that story.
Is your kid vaping?
According to the surgeon general, vaping among teens and college students has reached epidemic proportions. Even when marijuana is not involved, medical professionals worry about the effects of vaping on rapidly developing adolescent brains.
A large number of teens and college students actually want to quit vaping, but are finding it a struggle. If this is your child, check out the first-of-its kind e-cigarette quit program sponsored by the Truth Initiative®. It consists of “an innovative and free text message program created with input from teens, college students and young adults who have attempted to, or successfully, quit e-cigarettes.” The program is “tailored by age group to give teens and young adults appropriate recommendations about quitting.”
The program also serves as a resource for parents looking to help their children who now vape.
Could you use some extra strategies for talking to your teens about serious subjects?
The book How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk offers excellent help. You can see me raving about it here.
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Our hope is that kids will steer clear of illegal drug use, and use parental help to get on the fast track to getting through college debt-free.
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Read just one chapter of LAUNCH every 1–3 months while your child’s in middle school and high school, and you’ll know every viable strategy for debt-free college at exactly the right time to implement it.
And if your child’s already well past middle school? That’s OK; you can run to catch up. But the process of getting your kids through college debt-free goes more smoothly the earlier you start it—especially if you’re not planning to save up any money to pay for college.
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What about you? What strategies have you found for helping teens in a culture that sometimes glorifies the use of illegal drugs?
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Who is Jeannie Burlowski?
Jeannie is a full-time academic strategist, podcast host, and sought-after speaker for students ages 12–26 and their parents and grandparents. Her writing, speaking, and podcasting help parents set their kids up to graduate college debt-free and move directly into careers they excel at and love. Her work has been featured in publications such as The Huffington Post, USA Today, NerdWallet, and US News and World Report, and on CBS News.