2016-09-02 17:41:43

Medical marijuana can improve the quality of life for people with serious chronic medical conditions, and in states where recreational cannabis is legal, people of all walks of life are using cannabis to alleviate stress and promote relaxation. While the benefits of legal marijuana for grown-ups are undeniable, there is also no denying that the drug should be kept away from children and teens.

So what can parents and society do to help keep marijuana away from kids? Read on to find out.

What Parents Can Do

If you use medicinal or legal recreational weed, prevention will start in your own home. Here are six things that every parent can do to protect their children.

1. Store It Safely

Medical marijuana should always be kept out of reach of children. If you have a baby or a toddler, it's probably enough to simply store cannabis the way you would any other medication--inside of a medicine cabinet or in a high cupboard out of reach of your little one. When your child becomes old enough to become curious or to know what marijuana is, experts recommend using a medications safe or lock box hidden out of sight for weed storage.

2. Never Forget to Put It Away

This tip goes hand in hand with tip 1--always put cannabis away after using it. You should also safely store your vaporizer or rolling papers, your herb grinder, and any other marijuana accessories that you use. Wipe off counter tops and/or the table top and sweep or run the vacuum to remove any pollen or debris.

A teenager looking down on her phone as she turns away from her mom as she tries to talk to her

3. Discuss the Dangers

Taking the time to talk to your child about marijuana use in an age appropriate way is important. You can read our guide on how to talk to your kids about weed for more information, but generally, remember to listen as much as you talk, so that you can have a real dialogue, not a one-sided lecture.

4. Don't Bake with Weed

Even though weed brownies or pot cookies can be tasty treats, don't bake or cook with cannabis if you have children or teenagers at home. Also, vape or smoke instead of purchasing edibles. There is simply too much risk of a minor accidentally ingesting something made with marijuana.

5. Be Educated

As a parent, you need to make sure you're educated about the risks and benefits of marijuana, and that you're up to date on the lingo that teens use when discussing weed. Our blog post on terms you need to know can help you brush up on your vocabulary, so you'll know if your teen is talking about weed with friends.

6. Keep Poison Control's Number Handy

Make sure you have the poison control number programmed in your cell phone and posted near all landline phones. You hate to think that you'll ever need it, but being able to dial quickly could mean the difference between life and death.

A female on the couch passed out next to a bong and a lighter

The Government's Role

In addition to taking steps to keep your medicine secure and learning how to know if your teen is smoking pot, you need the help of the government to keep your child safe. Some ways that government agencies can help to keep kids off of weed, while still allowing for the legal access to cannabis for adults include:

1. Keeping Prices High

Marijuana use among teens is unlikely to become common if prices for recreational weed remain high. No one likes to pay taxes, but a vice tax on cannabis can help to control who uses it.

2. Including Marijuana Education in Schools

Public schools can include sensible marijuana education in their curricula. Many schools are finding new ways to educate teens and kids about the effects of marijuana, including demonstrations with high-tech marijuana goggles.

Young people protesting marijuana movement with signs that say don't hate educate

3. Controlling Where Dispensaries Are Located

Requiring dispensaries to be located outside of major shopping areas and a certain distance away from schools can help to limit teens' access to weed. Many medicinal and recreational states have strict laws about where dispensaries may operate for this reason.

4. Regulating Packaging and Forms

Childproof packaging and restrictions on premade marijuana edibles can help to keep kids from mistakenly ingesting cannabis that is purchased in a dispensary.

When parents and governments work together, it is possible to keep marijuana legal for medicinal and/or recreational use while protecting minors. Just remember--safety starts at home so talk to your kids and take steps to enjoy weed safely.

How to Keep Medical Marijuana Away from Children

References: childrenscolorado.org | drugfree.org | vice.com | science20.com