4.20 Talk to Your Kids About NOT Using Marijuana Day in Washington State Proclaimed by Gov. Inslee AND Town of Friday Harbor Mayor and Council AND San Juan County Council !

Did you know that 4.20 is known as a day to celebrate cannabis use? Well, not in Washington State! Governor Jay Inslee has proclaimed 4.20 as Talk to Your Kids About NOT Using Marijuana Day!

AND, these teens reached out to our local leaders to ask them to support this proclamation, too! We are thrilled that our Mayor of Friday Harbor and Town Council, as well as, our San Juan County Council adopted 4.20 as a day to talk to your kids about NOT using Marijuana, too. Nice job!

Join the celebration by getting tips on how to start the conversation with your teens at www.StartTalkingNow.org and www.learnaboutmarijuanawa.org . Help teens be their best for the years to come. Support healthy choices for your kids and their friends.

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4.20 Talk to Your Kids About NOT Using Marijuana Day Proclaimed by Wa. State Gov. Inslee

  Changing the conversation with our youth around the date 4.20, from “Weed Day” as the pro pot culture has embraced, to a day of honest conversations with our youth about the real risks they face using marijuana underage.

Need some ideas or tips to talk to your kids about underage marijuana use? StartTalkingNow.org is a great place to start. Parents are still the number one influence in their teen’s life. Talk. They are Listening.


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Hope for the Human Spirit

By Debbi Fincher,  SJIPC Media & Parent Volunteer

PHOTO: Suzan Fincher with her grandsons while celebrating her 50th Wedding Anniversary with the family. Suzan is our SJIPC Chair, Brad Fincher’s, mom. Suzan was killed December 27, 2011 by a texting driver.

We lost our sons’ nana to a man texting and driving about four years ago. The texting driver was also killed and the crash took the life of a third person, as well. Seven cars were impacted when this person chose to text and drive.

No one ever thinks it will happen to them. Unfortunately, nearly 431,000 people were injured in a distracted driver caused crash in 2014, in the US alone. That is like filling the Seattle Mariner’s Safeco Field eight times! Another 3,179 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver.

My son and I attended a conference in Chicago recently with the National Safety Council to share our story. The room was filled with other people who were left behind when a loved one died in a distracted-driving crash. These needless crashes claimed the life of a vibrant family member. This survivor advocates group was not a group our family ever thought we’d be part of, nor would we wish membership on anyone else. However, with vehicle crashes as the leading cause of workplace death, with distraction as a top factor, and distracted driving the leading cause of death among teens in America, we figured it’s time we start doing more about this.

The goal of this group is to share our stories in hope that someday others won’t have a distracted-driving story to tell. Some of us are moved to help change laws or advocate for stiffer penalties to help protect people from themselves and from harming others. Some will speak to youth, faith groups, schools, and businesses on how to curb this epidemic. Others will find their path leads them to learning how we pick up the pieces after such a devastating, preventable loss, how we realize that life does go on, although forever altered, and how we help others. Regardless where our paths go, they are forever woven together as a support system, and for that we are grateful.

Hope is the biggest takeaway from spending time with these strong and selfless advocates. How much easier it would be to just stay frozen in grief and pain. To be moved to action, so others won’t have to go through this type of sorrow and loss, brings hope to the human spirit that was damaged by the act of distracted driving. Sharing information to help create change, speaking up at a legislative hearing, meeting with community leaders to encourage company policies for employees not to use devices while driving, all of these things bring hope to this issue. We don’t have to let this trend continue. We hope you will be moved to focus on your drive and not wait until you are directly affected by distracted driving like we were. Remove the distractions from your ride. We are here to tell you, it can happen to you.

Let me break this down by telling you a few facts: Did you know, in over 30 studies researchers from the University of Utah found no benefit to using a hands-free device (as compared to a hand-held device). Multitasking, or “cognitive distraction,” is a complicated request for your brain, and driving while talking on the phone can reduce your field of vision. Basically, we limit the area our brain is viewing out the windshield, which could result in missing valuable information to avoid a car crash. AAA.com/distraction has even more on this groundbreaking research that the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety collaborated on with the University of Utah.

The NSC has created a campaign called #TakeBackYourDrive and it’s perfectly timed to launch with Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April across the U.S. Instead of trying to conduct business on the road or catching up on your phone calls, maybe you can use this time in your car to recharge your own batteries. nsc.org

The NSC survivor advocates aren’t just stats, we are the families behind the numbers. Please don’t drive distracted.

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Idaho Marijuana News…Some good news to share!

We are fortunate to know Monte Stiles and appreciate all his efforts to help keep our young people healthy. Here is a note from Monte, with some good news to share from his home state, Idaho. Thanks Monte for all your hard work in Prevention!
Friends, I am very happy to report that the second of two miraculous things happened in Idaho today. 

The first occurred a few weeks ago when New Approach Idaho was forced to withdraw their petition to legalize pot from the November ballot. This happened after the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) was alerted to the fact that New Approach was deceptively misrepresenting their position on legalization. AAP subsequently sent a letter demanding that New Approach “cease and desist” from using their organization’s name in the petition. Because New Approach used this deceptive information to gather signatures, they likely realized that all of the signatures gathered to date could be invalidated. The withdrawal of this petition potentially saved us from six months of fighting the propaganda of pro-pot lobbyists. Now we will have another year to continue our education of the public before another pot campaign begins. 

The second wonderful development is that the Idaho legislature adjourned today without a single marijuana bill being introduced. While most states are battling numerous pro-pot bills, our legislature did not expend a single minute discussing bad law, bad medicine, and bad pubic policy. Consequently, our citizens (and especially our children) were not subjected to months of hearing that a crude street is medicine.

I attribute both of these results to the following:

Despite a medical marijuana bill passing last year, our governor, Butch Otter, vetoed the bill in favor of establishing an expanded access program for pediatric victims of epilepsy through an FDA-approved clinical trial of Epidiolex (a pure form of CBD provided without charge by GW Pharmaceuticals). The program is helping children through a carefully controlled study that is supervised by medical experts who can accurately measure both beneficial and potentially harmful effects – all while advancing medical research that will aid many others in the future. The GW study is in its third stage of a fast tracked FDA research program.

The governor’s courageous actions, and the progress of the clinical trial, likely dissuaded certain legislators from proposing another uncontrolled medi-pot bill that would have cost millions of dollars and created additional massive bureaucracies in order to implement a law that would subject children and adults to modern snake oil salesmen with no medical training or background (the same people who give “medicine” names such as Green Crack, 9 Pound Hammer, and OG Rush). 

Much credit should also be given to the governor’s Office of Drug Policy, the Community Coalitions of Idaho, numerous drug education coalitions across the state (including amazing youth leaders), law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, city and county associations, and other organizations and individuals who have devoted significant time in educating the general public and the legislature, all while having genuine compassion and concern for those who suffer immensely from certain conditions that may soon be improved through pure, safe, and effective medical advances that have gone through established medical research procedures. Science will replace a popular vote that is influenced by those who cynically use the plight of the innocent to advance their political objectives.

We realize that our work is not done. Great effort will be necessary to counter the undoing of decades of drug education by pro-pot billionaires and their national lobbying organizations. Additional facts need to be gathered, and more importantly, effectively communicated to every voter and legislator using new tools and strategies. These strategies must include renewing the public’s faith in drug education programs which are encouraged and financially supported by leaders who envision public enlightenment over surrender to the drug culture. Increased drug education, combined with effective and fair law enforcement efforts and advanced medical research, is a vastly superior alternative to simply joining the other side. 

The reaction of the Marijuana Policy Project, which has invested over $13 million in recent years to sell a lie, is evidenced by the email they sent out today. The arguments and tactics of MPP and other national pro-pot lobbying organizations are predictable and refutable, and the evidence to do so is mounting. If states considering legalization would simply look at the history of these groups, and judge their credibility based upon their history of questionable tactics, disinformation, and financial investments to dramatically change drug policies, they would not rely on anything these groups say. 

I hope that other states will have similar success in the future as we continue to fight for healthy kids, families, and communities. Sober children learn better, sober parents parent better, sober drivers drive better, and sober people live happier and healthier lives. 

The world is an amazing place full of wonderful people, beautiful landscapes, fascinating creatures, and boundless opportunities and adventures. In the end, all of this is infinitely more satisfying than anything that the drug culture can offer. Monte

Monte Stiles

(208) 841-6682



Facebook: Monte Stiles LLC

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SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) Preventing Another Big Tobacco

Washington State Now Has More Pot Businesses than Starbucks:  Federal Report Paints Damning Picture of Legalization’s Consequences


“Regulate and Control” model has yielded huge increases in underage access, poisonings, and drugged driving

March 10, 2016

Contact: Jeffrey Zinsmeister

[WASHINGTON, DC] - Today, a federal task force issued a damning report on the consequences of marijuana legalization in Washington State.  The document, written by the Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) office in Seattle, shows a huge spike in access to and use of marijuana since legalization, with predictable and unfortunate results.

Most notably, there are now almost 200 more recreational marijuana businesses than Starbucks in that coffee chain’s home state.  This boom has fueled massive increases in consumption.  Overall last-year use (ages 12+) rose 23% from 2011-2012 to 2013-2014, and last-month use among children ages 12 to 17 is up over 6% during the same period.
The spike in use has had foreseeable consequences, particularly on the roads and with kids:
Stoned driving:
  • One-third of all DUI cases now test positive for active THC, up from 19% in 2012.
  • The number of drivers involved in fatal accidents that had active THC in their blood increased over 120% from 2010 to 2014.
  • A survey revealed that a full 49% of young adult (ages 18-25) respondents who used marijuana in the past month had driven a car within three hours of getting high – and that 16% of them had done so six or more times in that same month.
  • Kids ages 12-17 accounted for 74% of all state marijuana seizures in 2014,compared to 28.9% in 2010.
  • In Seattle public schools, over three-quarters (77%) of all drug and alcohol disciplinary violations from September 2014 to January 2015 were related to marijuana–with an elementary school reporting that a 5th grade student brought a marijuana candy bar to school to share with fellow students.
  • Marijuana poisoning calls to the Washington State Poison Center rose 54% from 2012 to 2014.
  • State authorities have yet to criminally prosecute any marijuana businesses for attempting to sell pot to minors, despite documented violations that entailed felony liability.
“The ‘regulate and control’ model legalizers promised has ended up being a corporate free-for-all,” noted Dr. Kevin Sabet, President of SAM.  “More and more kids are getting their hands on pot, despite the claims that the opposite would happen, and the state won’t prosecute offenders.  And many of these same kids are getting behind the wheel right after getting high.  Like Colorado, it’s profits before public health and safety.”
“It’s no surprise that the marijuana industry is uninterested in protecting minors when heavy users consume 80% of their product,” added Jeffrey Zinsmeister, SAM’s Executive Vice President.  “As with Big Tobacco, the pot industry knows that hooking kids while they’re young is the best way to generate the heavy users their business model needs.”
For more information about marijuana use and its effects, please visit http://www.learnaboutsam.org.

About SAM

Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) is a nonpartisan, non-profit alliance of physicians, policy makers, prevention workers, treatment and recovery professionals, scientists, and other concerned citizens opposed to marijuana legalization who want health and scientific evidence to guide marijuana policies. SAM has affiliates in 31 states.
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One Smart Cookie? Or Sad Reality of Recreational Marijuana Stores and Youth?

Here’s a story from our friend and colleague in the World of Prevention, Monte Stiles…

If anyone needs additional evidence of how the pot culture is impacting our youth, please look at the following article about selling Girl Scout cookies in front of a Portland pot shop. Make sure to carefully look at the pictures and see how the pot shop took advantage of this little girl’s business idea.

 This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Legalization has consequences, and the states that have embraced the use and commercialization of pot are powerful examples of what we are doing to kids.  Monte Stiles

Smart Girl Scout rolling in dough after selling cookies outside Portland pot shop


February 23, 2016

Smart Girl Scouts – like this enterprising Portland trooper – know where to get the green.

She’s one smart cookie.

An enterprising Girl Scout was rolling in dough after selling boxes of cookies outside of a Portland pot shop on Saturday.

The irresistible packages of Thin Mints, Samoas and Tagalongs were stacked on a table in front of the Foster Buds Marijuana Dispensary with a sign reading, “Satisfy Your Munchies” scrawled in purple marker.

The anonymous little trooper was with her aunt, who said stoners swarmed their table just minutes after they set up shop.

 Smart Girl Scouts - like this enterprising Portland trooper - know where to get the green.


Location, location, location: A successful San Francisco Girl Scout sold 117 boxes of cookies outside a medical marijuana dispensary in under two hours.

“The Girl Scouts organization said they don’t condone this, but it’s not against the rules,” she told KATU-TV.

Her scouting niece, who hoped to sell 35 boxes to raise money for a summer trip to horse camp, agreed: “It seems like people are happy we’re here.”

WAVE-TV later reported the girl and her aunt easily surpassed her 35-box goal.

The beloved baked goods are an easy sell for customers with the munchies.

A spokesperson from the Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington wasn’t ready to give the toke shop a merit badge.

“If a minor cannot enter a premises unaccompanied, she should not sell Girl Scout Cookies in front of the premises,” the scouting group told KATU in a statement.

The pickin’s good in states like Oregon and Colorado that have legalized cannabis.

The caution might have been warranted. When the girl and her aunt showed up on Saturday, the pot store posted a picture on its Facebook page with the caption, “The Girl Scouts are outside doing their thing selling those delicious cookies we all know and love.”

Then the store went further, offering an eighth of an ounce of the newly christened “Farmer 12s Girl Scout Cookies” weed for anyone who brought boxes of the baked goods.

Customers must be at least 21 to buy, possess or use legalized recreational marijuana in Oregon.

Cannabis use has been linked with an increased appetite for sweet and salty snacks, including chocolate chip cookie dough, Twinkies, Funyuns and midnight tacos.This isn’t the first time a savvy scout has banked on potheads for some extra green.

Danielle Lei and her mother sold 117 boxes in just two hours in February 2014 after setting up outside the Green Cross medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco.

The shop even posted a “Most Interesting Man Alive” parody on its Facebook page at the time that read, “I don’t always buy Girl Scout Cookies / But when I do, I buy them from the genius outside the Green Cross pot dispensary.”

In both cases, the Girl Scouts were likely influenced by a seminal episode of “Friends,” when Ross (David Schwimmer) helped a scout sell 517 boxes of cookies to stoners outside an NYU dorm.

“I am selling cookies by the case,” Ross said. “They call me, ‘Cookie Duuude!’”

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Idaho Says ‘No’ to Marijuana for November Ballot

” I have often advocated using all legal means to defeat pot initiatives before they reach the ballot. In addition to bogus signatures that should be invalidated, petitions used to gather signatures are often filled with outright lies that can and should be challenged. Because false statements are intended to influence a person’s decision to sign a petition, it can be argued that the signatures are fraudulently obtained.
The Idaho pot petition included false statements regarding the position of at least one national medical association (claiming that it was in favor of legalization). When this lie was exposed, New Approach Idaho was forced to withdraw their petition. Consequently, Idaho will not face pot legalization on the November ballot (or endure months of pro-pot propaganda).
The primary website for New Approach Idaho is currently dead, and their other website does not acknowledge the withdrawal of the petition.
Defeating a marijuana initiative after a political battle is great, but there are other ways to win. States should carefully analyze petitions and expose obvious misrepresentations during the signature gathering process. A similar analysis should be considered even after an initiative has been approved for the ballot. There are other legal challenges that can be made, including challenges to ballot summaries that are deceptive.
Many thanks to Idaho officials who identified this issue and did something about it. Details regarding the sequence of events will be shared at a later time.
An article published today by CADCA gives a brief summary of what happened, along with an excellent quote by our director of state drug policy”. Monte Stiles
Here is the CADCA article.

Idaho Says ‘No’ to Marijuana for November Ballot

As marijuana legalization gains momentum across the country, more states are looking to let either lawmakers or voters decide on the drug on the 2016 ballot. At least 10 new states are expected to consider whether to legalize marijuana for some degree of use, but Idaho won’t be one of them.

A petition to legalize medical marijuana and decriminalize possessing up to three ounces of marijuana in Idaho for the November ballot has been withdrawn.

“The Idaho Office of Drug Policy is pleased that the initiative seeking to decriminalize three ounces of marijuana and legalize medical marijuana in Idaho has been withdrawn. We know marijuana use adversely affects the health and developing brains of children and adolescents and legalization increases access to this harmful drug, so today is a wonderful day for the health and safety of Idaho’s children,” said Elisha Figueroa, Administrator of the Idaho Office of Drug Policy.

You can read the original ballot initiative here. http://www.sos.idaho.gov/elect/inits/2016/init01.html

There are 23 states and the District of Columbia that have some form of legal marijuana use.

Recently, CADCA named Idaho’s Office of Drug Policy its 2016 Outstanding State Member because of its significant contributions to community-based drug prevention coalitions in their state and has helped support CADCA’s mission of creating safe, healthy and drug-free communities.

More information on what happened in Idaho:
New Approach Idaho filed a petition with the Idaho Secretary of State and began collecting signatures for the 2016 ballot.
Among other misrepresentations, their petition contained the following assertion:
“WHEREAS, numerous National organizations have endorsed medical access to Marijuana, including . . .  the American Academy of Pediatrics . . .”
AAP was contacted about the claims made in the petition regarding its position on marijuana legalization.
On February 19th, AAP sent a “cease and desist” letter to New Approach Idaho board members Bill Esbensen and Dana Wilson which stated: “This language misrepresents the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement. The AAP opposes legalization of marijuana because of the potential harms to children and adolescents.” They added, “We request that New Approach Idaho, Inc. cease using the American Academy of Pediatrics name in its existing ballot initiative materials immediately.”
New Approach is now claiming that it “misunderstood” the position of AAP, so it was an honest mistake.
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Pot-Infused Cookie sends Oregon boy to hospital.

Marijuana-infused cookie sends Oregon boy to hospital


Jessica Hart, 30, of Klamath Falls said her 8-year-old son, Jackson, became sick and had to go to the hospital when he ate a marijuana-infused cookie he found on the ground. (Jessica Hart)

Noelle Crombie | The Oregonian/OregonLiveBy Noelle Crombie | The Oregonian/OregonLive 
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on February 16, 2016 at 5:43 PM, updated February 17, 2016 at 10:42 AM

An 8-year-old Klamath Falls boy became ill last Saturday after eating a marijuana-infused cookie that he found on the ground.

The child’s mother, Jessica Hart, 30, said her son, Jackson, came home from an afternoon outing at a local rock quarry complaining he was sick. He pulled at his chest and made motions that suggested he was choking. He had trouble keeping his eyes open.

“He said everything looked like a cartoon,” Hart recalled Tuesday. “He said he was vibrating all over.”

The second-grader said his stomach hurt. He vomited. Thinking he had food poisoning, Hart asked what he’d eaten that day.

A cookie, he said.

He found it, still sealed in its original packaging, about two hours earlier at the quarry, where he and his mom’s boyfriend and another adult were shooting targets. Hart said when her boyfriend heard Jackson say something about finding a cookie, he told the child not to eat it. But when her boyfriend looked away, Jackson gobbled it up.

Alarmed, Hart asked her boyfriend to return to the quarry to see if he could find the package, which he did. According to the label, the cookie was infused with an estimated 50 milligrams of THC.

“Essentially,” she said, “he was just really high.”

Hart Googled “poison control” and called the number that popped up. The center staff advised her to take her son to Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls.

There, he was given intravenous fluids and monitored by emergency room staff for about five hours, Hart said.

Dr. Grant Niskanen, vice president of medical affairs at the hospital, confirmed that the boy was treated for symptoms related to marijuana ingestion.

“He was agitated and a little confused and his parents were rightfully concerned,” Niskanen said.

The incident was mentioned Monday on the House floor by state Rep. Gail Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, before she cast a vote against a bill that would make a range of changes to the state’s marijuana policy, including removing a residency requirement for marijuana growers, processors and retailers.

“There are ramifications for what we are doing,” Whitsett said.

The incident comes as Oregon public health officials and marijuana industry representatives debate the appropriate serving size for marijuana edibles. Oregon regulators have come up with rules that would make these products half as strong as what Colorado and Washington allow, in part to protect novices and children who accidentally eat the products.

The Oregon Poison Center last year received 25 calls related to children under 6 consuming marijuana, up from 11 the previous year, according to data the organization provided The Oregonian/OregonLive.

(See related: Wary Oregon wants weaker pot edibles for recreational users)

The cookie appears to have been manufactured by a California company. A voicemail left for the president of the company was not immediately returned. The package says it contained two servings that included 25 milligrams of THC apiece.

Hart said her son likely didn’t read the label before opening the sealed package.

“He has no idea what cannabis is,” she said. “Obviously he knows now.”

– Noelle Crombie

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Every Conversation Counts

You are the most powerful influence in your child’s life. More than friends. More than TV. More than celebrities. And that’s why it’s important that they hear from you about marijuana and alcohol use.

Talking with your teen about these topics can be hard, but it’s one of the most important things you can do to keep them safe and healthy. Having open conversations will ensure they know your expectations, and also how much you care about them.

Below are some questions that kids and teens might ask about alcohol and marijuana. There is often more than one right answer—so see what works best for you. You can tailor your responses based on your own view and experience.

Additional information on how to talk with your kids about alcohol and marijuana can be found in the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids’ Parent Talk Kit and Marijuana Talk Kit.

Q: Some kids at school drink or use marijuana and they seem fine. What’s the big deal?
Q: What should I do if I’m at a party where people are using marijuana or alcohol?
Q: How can marijuana be harmful to me when it’s used as medicine by others?
Q: If it’s impossible to overdose from marijuana, why can’t I use it?
Q: Did you drink or smoke marijuana when you were my age?
Q: I heard people say they drive better when they are high. Is that possible?
Q: What does the new marijuana law say?
Q: Why is it okay for you to use marijuana or drink alcohol, but not for me?
Q: I heard marijuana is not as bad if it’s just in a brownie…right?
Q: My friends are starting to use marijuana (or drink alcohol), but I don’t want to. What should I tell them? I don’t want to lose my friends.
Q: What is worse, alcohol or marijuana?

Question: Some kids at school drink or use marijuana and they seem fine. What’s the big deal?

Potential Answers:

  • The effects of marijuana use at your age are hard to see. Just because someone seems fine doesn’t mean they aren’t being affected. A person’s brain is still developing into their twenties. The science is clear that when teens use marijuana, it can affect their memory, motivation and ability to learn.
  • The effects of alcohol aren’t always easy to see. After drinking, their grades might suffer or they might have a hard time sleeping at night. While drinking, teens are more likely to make poor decisions and put themselves in unsafe situations like fights, car crashes or overdosing. Kids who begin using alcohol at an early age have more problems with alcohol dependence as adults.
  • What your friends are doing isn’t what matters. What matters is that every time a kid uses illegal drugs, it puts them at risk—in lots of ways. Using alcohol or marijuana can affect your schoolwork, get you in trouble with the law, get you kicked off a sports team, make you do unsafe or harmful things, take away your motivation, or make you feel depressed.

Question: What should I do if I’m at a party where people are using marijuana or alcohol?

Potential Answers:

  • Any time you are in a situation like that, you can call me and I will come get you. If you don’t want your friends to know I’m coming to get you, let’s come up with a phrase that only we know. Like, “Yes Mom, I did my homework!” If I am not available, you have my permission to call a cab to take you home.
  • Any time someone pressures you to use alcohol or marijuana, you will need to stay strong and stay true to yourself and your choices. Let your friends know that you don’t need alcohol or drugs to have fun. If you need to, you can let them know that you face serious punishment at home for using alcohol or drugs.

Question: How can marijuana be harmful to me when it’s used as medicine by others?

Potential Answer:

  • All drugs, whether legal or illegal, have side effects. Some of the side effects for marijuana could be harmful to you because your brain and body are still developing. For someone who is very sick with an illness like cancer or epilepsy, a doctor and patient may decide the potential benefits of marijuana outweigh these risks. That doesn’t mean it’s safe for everyone to use.

Question: If it’s impossible to overdose from marijuana, why can’t I use it?

Potential Answers:

  • If you mean overdose and die from marijuana, the answer is no, it’s not very likely. However, people can experience severe side effects like anxiety, psychotic reactions or become very ill. People can also injure themselves because marijuana affects judgment, perception and coordination. Marijuana use can be especially harmful when a person drives under the influence of marijuana.
  • It is also possible to overdose from synthetic marijuana—and sometimes marijuana is laced with other drugs, especially if not from a licensed retailer. It’s not easy to tell what kind of marijuana it is, especially if you did not buy it yourself. Edible marijuana in particular can be hard to use in safe doses. Using too much can be very dangerous and make you really sick.
  • Much like alcohol, one of the biggest risks posed by marijuana is being too impaired to make good decisions. It can change how you think and react, which is why driving after using marijuana is dangerous. That’s true for youth and adults. Marijuana can harm your brain, reduce your motivation, make you hallucinate, affect your ability to learn or remember information, and impair your judgment.

Question: Did you drink or smoke marijuana when you were my age?

Potential Answers:

  • [If you did] I did drink and/or smoke marijuana before I should have. The reason I regret it is because it put me in some risky situations and impaired my judgment. And now that I’m a parent, the absolute most important thing to me is that you are safe and healthy. I’m not saying these are experiences you should never have. I just don’t want you to have them while your body is still developing, or when you could get in trouble with the law.
  • [If you didn't] I didn’t drink or smoke marijuana. Even though I was curious and there was peer pressure, I knew that using drugs illegally wasn’t the path I wanted to take and that they could interfere with the activities that I enjoyed. I know that you are strong enough to make good choices.

Question: I heard people say they drive better when they are high. Is that possible?

Potential Answer: 

  • That is not possible. Marijuana can limit the brain’s ability to react to situations quickly and logically which can impair driving ability. That is why the Washington State Patrol is trained to identify drivers who are high, and you can go to jail for driving high.

Question: What does the new marijuana law say?

Potential Answers:

  • Washington State’s marijuana law makes it legal for adults over the age of 21 to use marijuana. However, there are limits to how much marijuana an adult can possess.
  • It’s still illegal to smoke marijuana in public—just like having an open container of alcohol in public is illegal.
  • It’s illegal to drive while high.
  • It is a felony for parents to provide marijuana to their children.
  • It’s illegal to take marijuana outside the state of Washington.

Question: Why is it okay for you to use marijuana or drink alcohol, but not for me?

Potential Answers:

  • The law says marijuana and alcohol are legal for adults over the age of 21. That is because adult brains are more developed and the science shows that it is less harmful for them to use. There is a lot of evidence that shows marijuana use can be harmful to teens—including damaging their memory, motivation and ability to learn.
  • At your age, the part of your brain that controls decision making and judgment is not fully developed. So, your ability to make good choices is not as strong as it will be when you are in your mid-twenties.
  • Adults have more life experience and generally use alcohol and marijuana in greater moderation and in safer environments. When you are an adult, it will be legal and appropriate for you to make these same choices.
  • Using alcohol or marijuana can affect your schoolwork, get you in trouble with the law, get you kicked off a sports team, make you do unsafe or harmful things, take away your motivation, or make you feel depressed.

Question: I heard marijuana is not as bad if it’s just in a brownie…right?

Potential Answer:

  • Actually, consuming marijuana-infused food and drinks can pose an even greater risk to your health and safety. That is because the “high” can be delayed, which makes it even harder for the user to know when they have had too much. There have been very serious accidents caused by people eating marijuana-infused foods.

Question: My friends are starting to use marijuana (or drink alcohol), but I don’t want to. What should I tell them? I don’t want to lose my friends.

Potential Answers:

  • I’m happy to hear that you don’t want to use marijuana (or drink alcohol). Let’s talk about some of the ways you’d be comfortable responding if you are invited or pressured to use.
  • You can tell them how you feel about it. You don’t need to judge them; simply explain that you don’t want to use alcohol or marijuana, and if you hang out together you’d rather do activities that don’t involve marijuana or alcohol. You can also tell them that your parents have told you there will be serious consequences if you use alcohol or marijuana.

Question: What is worse, alcohol or marijuana?

Potential Answers:

  • Both drugs are harmful in similar and different ways. Both of them can hurt your brain, your body and your future. Both of them can impair your judgment, and put you in risky situations. And if you take too much, they can both make you very sick. Mixing alcohol and marijuana can also be a dangerous combination—harming your judgment and damaging your body more than just using one alone.
  • Honestly, it’s not a question of which one is worse. I want you to avoid anything that can harm you – whether that’s using tobacco, alcohol, marijuana or other drugs.

Make it a two-way conversation by asking your child questions too.

Q: Do you have any questions about alcohol or marijuana?
Q: Are kids at your school using marijuana or alcohol? Are they talking about using it?
Q: Why do you think some people choose to use?
Q: What would you do if your friends asked you to use marijuana or drink with them?
Q: Have you ever been offered marijuana?
Q: If you don’t feel comfortable talking to me, who else could you go to if you have questions about using marijuana or drinking alcohol?
Q: I noticed a lot of teen marijuana use and drinking in the movie we watched last night. What did you think about that? Do you have any questions?
Q: Do you know what would happen to you if you got caught using marijuana or drinking alcohol?
Q: Do you know that marijuana can harm you–both your health and future opportunities?

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