How many people trust their children to always make the right decision? How many people trust their children to make the right decision 50% of the time? What if it involved one of the currently most highly debated topics in society? If adults are unsure of the legality of an issue, how can we expect our youth to handle it maturely? What issue? It goes by many names and slang terms such as: weed, pot, a joint, grass, dope, a Mary Jane, a reefer, and the list goes on and on. Some of the terms might date people, but the meaning is the same. It’s the explosive topic of marijuana.
The topic of marijuana seems to be on every political figures talking points whether for and against. On Monday, April 14th, Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland signed a bill legalizing the use of medical marijuana. Maryland became the 21st state to follow this path. In addition, Gov. O’Malley signed into law the decriminalization of possession of marijuana. With close to half the states having some form of legalization, what are the effects on society?
No matter where you stand on the issue of marijuana, there will be consequences especially while states navigate the legality of the issue. Some people demonize with scare tactics and others promote to the point of irresponsibility. For instance, everyone can agree that smoking weed for teenagers and children is undeniably wrong. Most people would say “duh” to that; but by speaking so highly of it, many don’t realize the very real dangers. Recently, a Vine video went viral that seemingly showed a toddler smoking a joint while adults/caregivers laughed hysterically. (http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/04/14/viral-video-appears-show-toddler-smoking-pot) This disturbing video was retweeted and revined thousands of times. Some people will always break the law as well as act without common sense and decency.
While the video is an anomaly, it does bring up some great questions. How will young people react to complete legalization? Hopefully, parents will be able to monitor their children, but we all know teenagers and wisdom don’t necessarily go hand in hand! What does a parent do when faced with a child who doesn’t make a good decision about this highly debated drug? Where does the state of Virginia stand on the issue of marijuana for teens?
Currently, marijuana in all its forms and uses is illegal in Virginia. Do not mistake other states legality for supposed leniency in Virginia. Possession, distribution, and usage are still illegal and can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the seriousness of the case. It is important for adults to understand the gravity of the situation so they can properly conduct themselves as well as advise their children. Will things change in Virginia? Maybe they should, but maybe they shouldn’t. In the meantime, try not to let coveting your neighbors in other states get you caught with your hand in the “munchies” jar!
For more information on the statistics, visit these websites.