Lots of people are relieved because the federal government says it will lighten up on enforcement of marijuana laws. However, some people have concerns that these changes will make this substance more available to everybody, and that might include teenagers. As you probably know, the legal alcohol drinking age in each state is 21, but teens manage to get their hands on beer and even stronger liquor all the time. The new laws also prohibit marijuana use for people under 21 unless it is for a medical reason.
Plenty of teens already access marijuana today, even though it is illegal for recreational use in most states. But the law changes are not meant to make access easier for young people. The minimum age should still be 21 years old, just like alcohol. Many people contend that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol. But that does not mean that people are not right to have concerns.
Hopefully, the direction the new marijuana laws will take is more towards treatment, and less towards punishment. If a teen has a drug problem, he or she should have access to treatment more than punishment. Kids do need to be protected, and they should not take recreational drugs – including pot, beer, or their dad’s vodka.
The main responsibility will always lie with parents to try to supervise and guide their teens. Despite the best efforts of many good parents, some kids will succumb to peer pressure. Hopefully, these new laws will make possession more of a treatment issue than a legal punishment issue. Many kids use this drug to self-medicate. Excessive use might be the sign of stress or mental issues, and these kids can be treated. Kids who have a problem with drugs probably belong in a therapist’s office, and they do not belong in jail.