Reducing and Preventing Marijuana Use
Marijuana is in the news a lot lately, with more and more states easing their restrictions on its use. In the state of Michigan, recreational marijuana is now legal for those 21 and older. There are still laws in place however, and consequences to keep in mind.
Driving under the influence of marijuana is considered drugged driving and police officers will pull you over. Blood testing is often done to check if there is marijuana in your system. If you are charged and convicted, you will have a criminal record that never goes away. You might face jail time, steep fines, a suspended license, and the charge will stay on your driving record forever.
In the state of Michigan, any consumption, possession, cultivation, or transportation of recreational marijuana is prohibited by those under 21 years of age. Teens with a marijuana charge may be disqualified from receiving school scholarships, financial aid, and college acceptances. Adults with a marijuana charge on their record will have difficulty getting hired or could lose their job.
The DEA reports that marijuana is the most common illegal drug involved in automobile deaths. Marijuana affects your alertness, concentration, coordination and reaction time — all skills needed for safe driving. On average, 35% of passengers have reported riding with a driver who was under the influence.
Is marijuana really a drug?
Some teens believe that because marijuana is a plant and not a “real” drug, it cannot be harmful to their health. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are many health consequences, including:
- Addiction: About 1 in 6 teens who use marijuana become addicted. Those who begin using marijuana before age 18 are four to seven times more likely than adults to develop a drug problem.
- Brain development: The brain is a “work in progress”, and not fully developed until a person reaches their mid-20s. Marijuana’s negative effects on attention, memory, and learning can last for days and sometimes weeks — especially if it is used often. Marijuana use can negatively affect learning and school performance, leading to lower grades and increasing the likelihood of dropping out of school.
- Lungs: Smoking marijuana can have the same impact on the lungs as smoking tobacco. Marijuana smokers can develop a daily cough and have a higher chance of getting a lung infection.
- Mental Health: Frequent marijuana use affects mental and emotional development. It can lead to anxiety, paranoia, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Regular marijuana use is also linked to relationship problems, poor physical health, lower salaries, and less career success.