Pubdate: Sun, 29 Sep 2002
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2002 Santa Cruz Sentinel
Author: Brian Seals
Bookmark: (Cannabis - California)
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


SANTA CRUZ - Santa Cruz County could put any parent in a cannabis conundrum.

Voters have embraced medical marijuana.

Kids are more likely to abuse pot.

Does this cause a gray area for parents?

Santa Cruz County voters overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana, with 74 
percent voting to approve Proposition 215 in 1996.

That proposition was written in part by Mike and Valerie Corral, who find 
themselves at the center of the issue after a Sept. 5 raid by federal agents.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents uprooted 167 marijuana plants 
belonging to the Wo/men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, which the Corrals 
co-founded.While medical marijuana generally has been well received in the 
county, there are concerns in some corners about teen marijuana use.

More than half, 53 percent, of 11th graders in the county have tried pot 
compared with 48 percent nationally, according to a 2000 survey.

Medical marijuana advocates say using pot should be discussed just as 
anything else a doctor recommends or prescribes. Some counselors agree that 
older kids understand the difference between recreational and medicinal 

"Give kids the credit to being smart and being able to discriminate between 
medicinal uses and nonmedicinal abuses," said Bill Manoff, who heads the 
county's alcohol and drug program. "They are two different things."

So how does a parent talk to kids about marijuana use?

Counselors say some of the best defense tips are basic parenting:

Be honest.

Be involved.

Impart a sense of self worth to the kid.

"A child's relationship with drugs is not about drugs and alcohol," said 
Marty Fleischman, director of Camp Recovery Centers in Scotts Valley. "It's 
about your child's relationship with themselves."

He recommended parents be honest about marijuana.

"We have parents who make marijuana out to be the big boogie man - try it 
and the next thing you will be down at the (Beach) Flats, you'll be 
killed," Fleischman said. "The kids knows friends using marijuana without 
those consequences."

Instead, talk about the benefits and risks associated with using marijuana 
at a young age, Manoff said.

"It's really the subtle long-term effects that are more serious," Manoff said.

A lack of motivation, memory loss and school performance are some of those 

Also, counselors say the tried and true mantra of steering kids from 
recreationally using drugs is "to be involved."

Know your child's friends. Their names. Ask them to dinner or other family 

That becomes more difficult as children become teens.

When broaching the subject, Manoff said it's more important to ask 
questions than to lecture.

"Listen more than you talk," Manoff said. "Ask your kid how they feel about 
drugs. Have a conversation."
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