Jody Boulay

Marijuana in Maine is fully legal, and 4/20 celebrations promote a big business nationwide.

Major rallies occur across the nation. It’s another opportunity for cannabis companies to promote the industry and its products, like alcohol companies during the Super Bowl or St. Patrick’s Day.

It is hard to ignore the influence these celebrations have on youth. Celebrities, influencers and businesses push their products and brands and use larger celebrations like The Cannabis Cup. 4/20 Day is long past being a counter-culture protest; because of legalization, it has become a massive corporate showing.

This is something that parents should be aware, and they should have constructive conversations with their kids about marijuana and its associated risks. Early prevention and education go a long way.

“Early cannabis use is proven to cause adverse effects, yet when youth have adequate knowledge about the drug, they are more apt to make decisions to avoid it altogether,” said Marcel Gemme, founder and CEO of Addicted.org.

In Maine, roughly 24% of the population used marijuana in the past year, and close to 12% of 12 to 17-year-olds had used the drug, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Advertisement

Small conversations make a big impression. The small and frequent conversations have a real tangible impact on youths’ decisions about drugs and alcohol. Consider some of the following pointers:

  • Lots of little talks are more effective than one big talk; this helps to build strong communication and trust.
  • It is OK to show disapproval for underage drinking and marijuana use, but reinforce why it is essential to avoid drug and alcohol use.
  • Be a reliable source of factual information; search out the information together if an answer is unavailable.
  • Show genuine care for youths’ health, wellness and success. Listen to their opinions and answer their questions; the conversation goes both ways.
  • Help build their abilities to avoid peer pressure, practice scenarios and rehearse what to say.
  • Lead by example; actions speak louder than words.

The conversation changes as they age, but the principles remain the same. Early prevention is proven to prevent drug use altogether.

There are significant adverse effects associated with teen marijuana use. This can include difficulty thinking and problem solving, problems with memory and learning, reduced coordination, difficulty maintaining attention and school and social life issues. In addition, it can lead to mental health problems and addiction.

Marijuana legalization changed the landscape, and among some, there is concern the products will be recklessly marketed to youth as alcohol often is. While 4/20 celebrations will continue to grow, parents should take the time to have these constructive conversations.

The influences will not change, especially with the reach social media has. 4/20 Day is a commercial event that will always seek out new customers to continue growing the market.

Jody Boulay of Quebec City, Quebec is a mother of two with a passion for helping others. She works as a community outreach coordinator for Addicted.org to help spread awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.