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What Impact Will Marijuana Legalization Have on Our Next Generation?

Two young teens using marijuana

Millions of young people are now growing up surrounded by the fact of legal marijuana. Maybe it’s medical dispensaries in their state. Maybe they routinely smell pot smoke drifting through their backyards. Maybe their parents have used the drug for as long as they can remember. Though it’s not a topic of much discussion, it’s very likely that these young people will develop an attitude of complete tolerance for this drug. The dangerous effect of that attitude should not be underestimated.

 

A school administrator in Washington commented that the use of marijuana was becoming “normalized” in the minds of the parents and students she was working with. Increasingly, neither parents nor students found anything wrong with the use of marijuana. Small children would come to school smelling like their parents’ pot. Teens could come to school intoxicated with the drug. Parents would come to teacher conferences smelling of weed.

 

If parents sit down with their children and tell them, “It’s okay for me to use pot because I’m an adult but you may not use it until you’re an adult,” will youth have the intellectual ability to process that message? We already know this doesn’t work for alcohol. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 30% of high school students drink some alcohol every month. And underage drinkers drink 11% of the alcohol consumed in the U.S. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm

 

The “Big Business” Factor

Marijuana big businessDon’t forget to factor in the influence of the huge amounts of money to be made in this rapidly-expanding industry. Investors are lining up to reap their billions when recreational marijuana is legal from coast to coast. As documented by the group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, the marijuana industry are using the lessons Big Tobacco learned in the last millennium – how to create millions of addicted users (which equate to loyal customers). What better way to create brand loyalty than to have addicted users?

MBAs with the gleam of profits in their eyes are flocking to this industry. Before legalization is even enacted, properties suitable for growing or selling this product are acquired with the idea of getting in on the ground floor of the tidal wave of profits to come.

Just think for a moment about how tobacco became so popular in the 1950s and 1960s. Advertising, tons of it. As hard as it might be to believe, some ads showed doctors recommending certain brand of cigarettes. Apply those same methods to marijuana. We can expect the industry to slowly, gradually increase their messages of the acceptability and enjoyment of smoking weed. In a few years, we could be inundated with pot ads from coast to coast without our even noticing it happening.

Adults may have more perspective on these ads because they grew up in the years before pot was legal anywhere. Youth have no such protection.

 

The Message Received by Impressionable Young Minds

But what about the message widespread use plus pervasive advertising send to young people? It’s legal, it must be safe, right? It’s even used as medicine so it’s harmless or maybe even health-giving, right? Few young people are going to study the more subtle issues like the long-term effects of marijuana on their minds and bodies.

Whether they choose to use or not use marijuana depends on their being able to make rational, informed decisions based on factual information. An informed decision cannot be made if all one has been fed is data that’s been manipulated to offer a false picture of the risks.

All people, not just young people, need to understand how the use of this drug can affect their lives, goals and plans for the future.  Only then will they be able to make a self-determined choice to live a drug-free life. The Narconon Drug Education program is based on extensive research into the attitudes and opinions that must be shifted to prevent drug abuse.  We have found that the barrier to teaching kids about marijuana is that they are holding numerous false information as true, so they reject much of the true data regarding it’s dangers and effects.  A key segment of our curriculum is the Marijuana the Myth DVD and accompanying lessons, which enable young people to recognize the false information for what it is—thus allowing for the true information to now be received and understood.

For five decades Narconon has offered drug prevention services, in person or through our video curriculum, that have proven to reduce the incidence of drug abuse.  If you would like to learn how you can implement this effective program in your school or institution visit www.drugeducationprogram.com or call 1-800-882-6862.