Pubdate: Wed, 24 Oct 2012
Source: Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA)
Copyright: 2012 The Press-Enterprise Company
Author: Mitchell Rosen
Note: Mitchell Rosen, M.A., is a licensed therapist with practices in 
Corona and Temecula.


To say our state is confused and divided regarding the use of 
marijuana is certainly an understatement. It may be an exaggeration 
but appears to me each time I pick up the newspaper the government is 
deciding to either shut down or allow medical marijuana dispensaries. 
Each county has its own policy and regardless of state or federal law 
San Diego, Riverside or Monterey to name but a few have radically 
different stances on this issue.

Thank God I'm not a cancer patient using medical marijuana for the 
nausea related to chemotherapy; I wouldn't know whether to continue 
or get a criminal lawyer.

If the adults can't get their act together regarding whether or not 
the use of marijuana is beneficial imagine what goes on in the minds 
of adolescents enjoying the herb? Parents will bring their sons or 
daughters into my office and that's when things get really crazy.

The mom or dad will say their teen is using pot and they need to stop 
because it's illegal.

The adolescent will say they get it from their friend's parent who 
has a prescription and it's totally legal (although not for teens).

Many teenagers experiment with and enjoy smoking pot. Not an 
earthshaking observation. What is more problematic is the argument 
regarding whether or not it is legal and just how harmful it might be 
since doctors write prescriptions for marijuana.

As far as I know the use of pot is going to back on the ballot again 
in the near future. In the meantime I see dozens of teenagers who 
have decided smoking marijuana is perfectly safe and they inform 
their parents they have every intention of continuing.

The parents are concerned, no good long term research has been 
allowed and no mom or dad wants their child to use a drug that may 
have detrimental effects not the least of which is an arrest record. 
At this point the adolescent tells their parents they know and can 
name many teens and adults who use pot regularly yet maintain jobs 
and above average grades in school.

Many professionals and politicians are divided on whether or not 
marijuana use has medicinal benefit.

While all of us argue this out in the legislature or ballot box, more 
and more young adults are convinced if it is OK for mom and dad it is 
OK for them. While I have not heard rallying cries to lower the age 
for prescription use to under 21years-of-age, I am not aware of any 
long term studies regarding the effects of smoking pot on the 
developing adolescent brain.

As long as we have this legislative ping pong game going on, lots of 
young adults will cloak themselves in the ambiguity of our laws and 
insist on their right to get high. As a therapist who works with 
young adults, it is my hope us adults can make a clear decision and 
if the decision is to legalize pot then for goodness sakes, fund 
research to track the long term effects on young adults.

The days of 'because I say so' have long passed and I'd like to be 
able to look a young person in the eye and authoritatively state, 
"Well, it may be legal but here's the effects if you smoke during the 
ages your brain is still forming." At this point, we are reduced to 
haggling, fear and innuendo.
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