Image from the cover of the "A Parent's Guide to Preventing Underage Marijuana Use."
Image from the cover of the “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Underage Marijuana Use.”

In 2012, Washington State voters approved Initiative 502, which created a legal, commercial marijuana system. Adults aged 21 years and older are allowed to possess small amounts of marijuana products.

However, the law did not change for people under the age of 21. Like alcohol, marijuana products are still illegal for people under the age of 21. Possession of more than 40 grams is a felony. It is illegal for people under the age of 21 to drive after using any amount of marijuana. It is illegal for adults to provide marijuana to people under the age of 21, including parents giving their own children marijuana. It also is illegal to consume (smoke, eat, drink) marijuana products in public.

The Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Social Development Research Group recently released “A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Underage Marijuana Use” to educate parents about I-502 and offer tips in taking preventative measures to protect their children.

To download a pdf of the parent’s guide to preventing underage marijuana use, click here

The guide warns of legal products, foods, and beverages with marijuana infused in them. Some of these products may be attractive to youth and mistaken for common food and beverages. Examples include candy, soft drinks, baked-goods and juices.

The guide also asks parents to be aware of marijuana advertising that your child is exposed to online, in magazines and newspapers, and in the community. Parents are asked to talk to their children about the ads and the messages they send.

While most high school seniors (73%) in Washington state don’t use marijuana, it is still the second most commonly used drug by high school students after alcohol. About 20 percent of students in 10th grade have used marijuana in the past 30 days. Those that do are more likely to get lower grades in school, according to the 2012 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey.

Disparities in illicit drug use also exist within different API groups. The current illicit drug use rate amongst Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders is 9.1 percent, higher than other ethnic and racial groups, whereas Japanese and Chinese have the lowest rates out of all ethnic groups at 2.3 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, according to the National Asian Pacific American Families Against Drug Abuse (NAPAFASA).

Although AAPIs have consistently lower use rates in illicit drug use than other racial groups, persons of mixed race have the second highest rates at 12 percent, which obscure correct readings for Hispanics and Asians, according to NAPAFASA. The multiracial population has the highest rate of lifetime use of any racial group for marijuana at 55 percent.

For more on how marijuana affects the API community, visit:

Legal Marijuana Needs Accountability in Vulnerable Communities
Marijuana Industry: Asian Pacific Islander Business Owners, Users Keep an Eye Out
Co-ops: APIs Work to Break the Stigma of Medical Marijuana
Vietnamese Marijuana Growers Through the Eyes of their Defense Attorney
That’s Dope: Medical Marijuana Helps Relieve Man’s Gout
Green money: Hasegawa proposes state bank

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