Will Legalizing Marijuana Affect Drug Abuse in Teens?

Raising a teenager is difficult for various reasons. Asides the obvious physical and mental changes they are going through, there is a lot of pressure from teachers, peers and parents for them to perform well both socially and academically. As technology allows for constant connectivity, teens are constantly in a virtual sphere of activity where they are being judged and their actions are being viewed by others. For teens, their peer group ranks very high in terms of gaining self satisfaction and self esteem. Pot and teenagers is not a combination most parents are comfortable with - and not without reason. 

A lot of your teen’s actions are influenced by how their friends and other peers will view their actions. One of the major issues that parents end up facing during this time is how to prevent their teens from taking part in behavior and activity that is harmful for them, even if they claim they are simply trying things to test them out. Experimenting with marijunana is something that defines what teenage is all about. Teens are always curious for trying out new things and having experiences that give them immediate pleasure - even if the consequences are to be negative ones later on. But whatever pros you come up with, the cons of legalizing marijuana cannot be ignored. 

A common example of such experimentation is the use of marijuana. Teens are usually always able to get a hold of it and then make a party or group activity out of it. The use of cannabis and all its ensuing uses have been a problematic temptation since time immemorial alongside underage drinking. But where drinking eventually becomes legal once individuals cross the 21year age barrier (and hence have to learn to engage in drinking sensibly and responsibly) marijuana remains illegal.

Currently a hot debate has the US in its midst about whether marijuana should be made legal or not. Many argue in favor of it since they feel that it can be used for herbal healing and doesn’t have any negative impacts on one’s health.  For adults this may sound like a good move, after all if they can sensibly handle alcohol then why not marijuana? But the question also comes down to whether this will affect or harm teens, the ‘would be’ adults, in any manner.

Of course substance abuse in teenagers already exists but is still tackle-able from many parents point of view. Legalizing any substance, in this case marijuana, will lead to more problems than solutions. When teens, or even parents, are under the influence of marijuana, then priorities will definitely shift. Academics and other responsibilities will not get their due share of attention and the overall mental health of the family will eventually come into crisis.

Also, many teens do manage to stay away from marijuana, and even abstain from it in their adult lives because of the repercussions that are to follow from using it. Some teens may experiment simply for the sake of experimenting and then give up on it altogether. But legalizing the substance will make it socially acceptable and perhaps even a social norm.  And this would then only open so many more doors to substances that are still illegal and even more harmful. Some may argue against it, but legalizing marijuana would most definitely have an incremental effect on teen drug abuse.

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