Marijuana Parenting – The increasing legalization and ongoing decriminalization of marijuana across the US is making parenting suddenly confusing when it comes to kids and pot.
I also wonder how the schools are dealing with the practically overnight change in policies and societal moods when it comes to marijuana use. The sudden changes had me thinking about how parenting drugs and alcohol has changed through the decades and other marijuana parenting issues.
I grew up in the late 70s / early 80s and saw drug attitudes change swiftly during my formative pre-teen / teen years. Growing up the 80s, we as children were POUNDED with “Just Say No,” M.A.D.D., D.A.R.E., S.A.D.D. and every other campaign or acronym you could think of to keep kids away from alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. By comparison, the 70s were a free for all… Kids could buy cigarettes for less than 2 bucks from vending machines at bowling alleys and getting caught drinking and driving was a slap on the wrist. Our parents, who grew up in the 50s were telling us they “had no idea” inhaling smoke could somehow o_O damage their lungs. By the 80s, these same 50s parents seemed to have it all figured out and began trying (and succeeding) at educating children on the dangers of both legal and non-legal substances.
I’m not trying to offer a quick history lesson. I’m merely trying to illustrate how quickly things can change in the parenting culture when it comes to drugs. Since Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign through just recently… kids have been greatly warned about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Now it seems like the same message applies only to alcohol and tobacco (ironic, how those are legal and marijuana isn’t here in Metro Detroit).
I personally don’t use marijuana but I don’t have a problem with those (adults) who choose to smoke pot – for recreation, medicinally, legally, or illegally. My issue is that I’m wondering how I’m supposed to educate my children about smoking pot and how the schools are supposed to educate our children in regards to marijuana usage. Just because everyone else seems to be suddenly fine with smoking pot doesn’t mean I want my kids dabbling in it. Again, I was nearly programmed to believe marijuana was a “gateway drug” to cocaine, heroin, and every other elicit drug. Now, seemingly everything has changed. Marijuana, if you watch the news and modern culture, is nearly widely accepted.
I’m not the only who is confused with the new marijuana parenting issues. The AAP is starting to update their policy statements in regards to the legalities of marijuana and changing attitudes.
February 2015 AAP Issue of Pediatrics – “The Academy reaffirms its position against the legalization of marijuana, states its opposition to “medical marijuana” outside the FDA regulatory process, and presents recommendations to protect children in states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.
However, the Academy also recommends that marijuana be decriminalized, so that penalties for marijuana-related offenses are reduced to lesser criminal charges or civil penalties. Efforts to decriminalize marijuana should take place in conjunction with efforts to prevent marijuana use and promote early treatment of adolescents with marijuana use problems.
“We know marijuana can be very harmful to adolescent health and development,” said Seth D. Ammerman, MD, FAAP, a member of the AAP Committee on Substance Abuse and an author of the policy statement. “Making it more available to adults – even if restrictions are in place – will increase the access for teens. Just the campaigns to legalize marijuana can have the effect of persuading adolescents that marijuana is not dangerous, which can have a devastating impact on their lifelong health and development.”
I remember how the parents and schools talked about alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and yes… marijuana when I was a kid. How are they handling the marijuana parenting issues now?