As a loving parent, you worry all the time about your child’s performance in school, social activities and future as an adult. You have probably had numerous talks about the dangers of smoking cigarettes, drunk driving and using drugs. Even so, marijuana is considered a largely harmless drug by many residents of New Hampshire. How do you react if you find out your child has experimented with pot or gets stoned on a regular basis?
Depending on your own views about cannabis, your first reaction could either be grave concern or a dismissal of “it could be worse.” It may help to understand some of the recent research on cannabis use. The Washington Post reports that 60 percent of seniors in high school do not believe marijuana poses any danger. Additionally, pot use is becoming more prevalent among teenagers – today, marijuana is more popular among high schoolers than alcohol or cigarettes.
One of your greatest concerns when finding out your teen is using marijuana is the legal side. While recent laws have decriminalized small amounts of recreational cannabis in New Hampshire, you or your teen could face the following consequences:
- A $100 fine for the possession of less than three-fourths of an ounce of marijuana
- A misdemeanor charge for possessing more than three-fourths of an ounce, which may include a prison sentence of one year and a $350 fine
- Up to one year in prison and a $2,000 fine for a misdemeanor charge of possessing marijuana paraphernalia
Should you also worry about the potential health risks of your teenager using pot? While studies vary, research indicates that marijuana can affect the developing brains of young people. Additionally, the THC content in today’s marijuana strains has risen from about 4 percent 20 years ago to about 13 percent, which could raise the risk of such adverse effects as disorientation, anxiety and hospitalization.
You may lessen the chances of your child abusing drugs by having frequent, open and honest conversations about the risks and your expectations. If your teen is facing drug charges, it would be a good idea to consult a defense attorney.