Parents Should Know How 4/20 Day May Influence Youth
Marijuana in Wisconsin is illegal for everyone. Yet, it remains a relatively popular substance among most age groups. During the 4/20 Day celebrations, it’s common for residents in Wisconsin to travel to states where recreational cannabis is legal.
It’s a booming business in these states and continues growing. Legalization paved the way for what is seen now. Like any growing business, it must attract new customers and keep the ones it has. 4/20 is no longer a counterculture protest but a day to promote the industry and its products.
Celebrities, influencers, and companies also use these events to push their brands and products. There is a heavy influence through social media and other platforms. There are also many appealing cannabis products. This is something that parents should be aware of, and they should have constructive conversations with their kids about marijuana and its risks.
“Age matters the first time someone uses marijuana. Prevention and education are effective and may ultimately prevent drug use altogether,” said Marcel Gemme, owner, and founder of Addicted.org.
In Wisconsin, 16% of residents aged 12 and older had used marijuana in the past year. Among those aged 12 to 17 years old, 12% had used the drug in the past year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
Small conversations parents have with their kids about marijuana make a big impression. Consider the following tips:
- Talking often builds an open relationship. Lots of little talks are more effective than one big talk. Short and frequent conversations have a real impact.
- Be a reliable source of factual information. Listen to their opinion andanswer their questions; the conversation goes both ways.
- Avoid lecturing, threatening, or using scare tactics.
- Help them build skills to avoid and manage peer pressure when it happens.
- Lead by example; actions speak louder than words.
It’s ok to show disapproval of marijuana use, underage drinking, and illegal drug use. Parents have a significant influence on their children’s decisions.
The reality is there are dangers associated with using marijuana at a young age. The teen brain is actively developing and continues to develop until age 25. Parents should not disregard the addictive properties of THC and how a young developing brain is more susceptible to these properties.
Some of the adverse effects can include difficulty thinking and problem-solving, problems with memory and learning, reduced coordination, difficulty maintaining attention, and issues with school and work. More severely, there is an increased risk of addiction and mental health issues.
The cannabis industry continues to grow in states where the drug is entirely legal. Prevention and education efforts remain critical at these ages and should be done even earlier when at all possible.