Easing of Marijuana Laws Complicates Drug Talk

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  Easing of Marijuana Laws Complicates Drug Talk

Posted by CN Staff on June 17, 2012 at 17:02:58 PT
By The Associated Press  
Source: Associated Press 

Denver -- Michael Jolton was a young father with a 5-year-old son when Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2000. Now he’s got three boys, the oldest near adulthood, and finds himself repeatedly explaining green-leafed marijuana ads and “free joint” promotions endemic in his suburban hometown. “I did not talk to my oldest son about marijuana when he was 8 years old. We got to talk about fun stuff. Now with my youngest who’s 8, we have to talk about this,” said Jolton, a consultant from Lakewood.
A marijuana opponent with a just-say-no philosophy, Jolton, 48, is among legions of American parents finding the “drug talk” increasingly problematic as more states allow medical marijuana or decriminalize its use. Colorado and Washington state have measures on their Nov. 6 ballot that would go a further step and legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults.Parent-child conversations about pot “have become extraordinarily complicated,” said Stephen Pasierb, president of the Partnership at, which provides resources for parents concerned about youth drug use.Legalization and medical use of marijuana have “created a perception among kids that this is no big deal,” Pasierb said. “You need a calm, rational conversation, not yelling and screaming, and you need the discipline to listen to your child.”Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance, says the family conversations “are becoming a lot more real” because most of today’s parents likely tried marijuana themselves. “Parents know a lot more about what they’re talking about, and kids probably suspect that their parents did this when they were younger and didn’t get in trouble with drugs,” Nadelmann said. “There’s still hypocrisy, but the level of honesty and frankness in the parent-child dialogue about marijuana is increasing every year.”The Haskins family of Olympia, Wash., provides a vivid example of how the conversations have evolved.Sarena Haskins, 41, and her sister are both longtime users of pot for health reasons, and Sarena’s 12-year-old daughter, Hannah, has become an advocate of medical marijuana to the point of posting a video online expressing her views.Yet Sarena Haskins opposes the ballot measure that would legalize recreational use of pot in Washington and advises Hannah to avoid experimentation with the drug. “I’m a little a little nervous about those conversations, but I’m having them now,” Haskins said. “I tell Hannah it’s not a smart choice, that she needs to focus on school ... You can’t just be a pot head and be lazy.”Another longtime parent/pot user is Tim Beck, a Detroit insurance broker who succeeded in getting a marijuana legalization measure on the city’s ballot for Nov. 6. The measure wouldn’t supersede the state law against non-medical marijuana use, but would let adults possess small amounts of pot on private property without facing arrest under city ordinances.Beck says his 17-year-old daughter, Maria, who is now studying at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, observed his pot smoking throughout her youth.“I decided I wouldn’t hide it ... no big deal, no lectures. It’s something she grew up with,” said Beck, 60. “I don’t know whether she’s tried marijuana or not, and I don’t care. If we detect any evidence of dysfunctional behavior, which we never have, then we’d focus on that.”The legalization campaign grates on Yolanda Harden, 47, officer manager at a Detroit middle school who has raised five kids of her own and a dozen others from her circle of friends and family.Harden said her own parents battled drug problems that started with marijuana use, and she tries to convey to the youths in her care they could risk the same fate.But she finds it harder now to get that message through. “Because it’s so popular, they truly believe it’s harmless.”Michigan, Colorado and Washington are among 17 states where medical marijuana is legal. More than a dozen states, and many municipalities, have scrapped criminal penalties for small-scale pot possession or made it a low-priority crime for police.In Colorado, hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries and growers operate legally, and ads invite new patients to try their pot.In Boulder, Colo., home to nation’s largest college pro-marijuana protest each spring, city councilwoman KC Becker doesn’t oppose Boulder’s thriving marijuana business but realizes that, within her family, she’ll have to approach the topic differently than her parents did. “My parents definitely didn’t talk to me about drugs, ever,” Becker said. Marijuana legalization, she said, “does force you to talk about it and explain it — but that’s not necessarily bad.”What will Becker tell her 4-year-old when he learns to read the pot ads? “I’ll say, ‘That’s a store where people can get medicine to help them when they feel sick, but you have to be responsible in using it and old enough,’” Becker said.In Portland, Ore., a 29-year-old mom found out the hard way that her kids needed more information.Serra Frank uses marijuana to treat a bladder condition. When her 8-year-old son heard last fall in a school anti-drug campaign that marijuana harms the brain, he burst into tears and told school authorities he was scared because his mom uses pot.Police came to their house, and Frank had some explaining to do — to the authorities to prove she was using pot legally, and to her son. “I tell him it’s medicine. It helps with pain, but it’s not for kids,” Frank said.Six years ago Frank created a Facebook page called Moms for Marijuana to ask advice from other marijuana users with children. The group now has some 17,000 online members and chapters in 40 states. “Nobody really wants to talk about it,” said Frank. “It’s been ingrained into our brains that it’s a bad, bad thing and we’re supposed to be afraid of it.”Trish Nixon of Colorado Springs had two children living at home when Colorado legalized medical marijuana. She tackled the topic head-on, evolving from a “It’s against the law — don’t do it” warning to a more nuanced message. “I would explain why somebody might need to use it, the right reasons some people need it and why some people are using it for the wrong reasons,” Nixon said.Her daughter, Krista, now 21, said she never considered marijuana a big deal. “My generation just grew up with it,” she said, though adding that she’s never used it.Gretchen Burns Bergman, a fashion show producer from San Diego, has two grown sons who struggled with heroin addiction, including one who served prison time. Founder of a group called Moms United to End the War on Drugs, she hopes more parents will support legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana as a relatively safe option compared to hard drugs.“We’ve been talking down to our kids for far too long,” she said. “It widens the divide if we say the stuff is just terrible, and they’re not seeing the bad effects. It’s just scare tactics, and they disbelieve us.”Indeed, marijuana activists make the case to parents that pot is less dangerous than alcohol.In Colorado, the legalization campaign aired a television ad titled “Dear Mom,” showing a young woman talking to her off-camera parents about marijuana. “It’s less harmful to my body, I don’t get hung over, and honestly, I feel safer around marijuana users,” she says.Recent national surveys indicate that many teens view marijuana as relatively benign, with more of them now smoking pot then cigarettes.Linda Pearlman Gordon, a psychotherapist from Chevy Chase, Md., who often counsels families, says a child’s well-being — rather than fear of arrest — is increasingly likely to be the focus of parent/child conversations as the legalization drive continues.She says parents should strive to discourage any drug usage that isolates a child socially or inhibits their maturation. “It’s troubling when anyone uses a substance to self-medicate, to push away difficult feelings,” she said. “You want to make sure your child, if having difficult feelings, knows there are healthy ways to deal with it.”Stephen Pasierb of the Partnership at says it’s vital for parents to engage their children in relaxed discussions — “See where your kid is at. Ask them, ‘What do you think?’” — and to do so before they reach middle school, where pot use is surging. “Kids are willing to press all of mom’s and dad’s buttons, but they don’t want to lose the ultimate respect of their parents,” he said. “It’s important for parents not to say, ‘If you smoke marijuana, we’ll throw you out of the house’ but they should say they’ll be disappointed.”His advice to parents who partook of pot in their youth: “You should not lie to your child, but you don’t owe them a blow by blow explanation of every party you went to.”Wyatt reported from Denver. Crary reported from New York.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Published: Sunday, June 17, 2012Copyright: 2012 The Associated PressCannabisNews  -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #23 posted by FoM on June 20, 2012 at 16:23:18 PT
There are bad people in every walk of life and profession but there are way more good people. I heard a little something about that case in Ohio but when something like that comes on the news we change the channel. We avoid Columbus News and watch NBC Nightly News and Jon Stewart at night. The cities are in bad shape everywhere. There are good places in cities but I think there are way more run down houses and poor folks and more gangs and violence.
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Comment #22 posted by Hope on June 20, 2012 at 15:29:54 PT
I think I understand your fear of accidents with firearms. That frightens me, too, believe me. 
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on June 20, 2012 at 15:28:03 PT
I can understand you're not understanding
and I certainly understand you being leery of firearms.There have been several shooting there in Ohio in the last few months. Never a good thing to happen. Still people will kill other people, firearms or not. I'd rather be shot though, for sure, than strangled with a twist tie or drowned in a septic tank. That was an awful, awful story out of Ohio. Some people are so dangerous.I don't want anyone attacking me or mine with anything, even their bare hands.
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on June 20, 2012 at 11:24:01 PT
Oooops fixed. Sorry about that I really am.
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on June 20, 2012 at 11:20:20 PT

Maybe because we don't seem to have those things happen in our area or where we grew up it's hard for me to understand. 
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Comment #18 posted by Hope on June 20, 2012 at 10:48:03 PT

They didn't pilfer through, destroy, or steal your stuff.
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on June 20, 2012 at 10:47:02 PT

About authority...
One thing police didn't used to do was come busting into people's homes, armed to the teeth and wearing masks. Breaking down doors and windows and screaming and hollering and shooting dogs. They didn't.Remember?They didn't use to arrest people for having n o insurance or smoking the wrong cigarettes or smoking at all. Lots of stuff about our interactions with police have changed so much.It never, ever would have happened that a police officer would do some of the things they might do now. But... anyway... this law isn't about dealing with police in the normal, even for today, order of things. It's for the right to protect yourself from unlawful or criminal actions on the part of an officer... or other public servant.One thing I liked is that in the years that the law has been in force, Indiana has started sending at least one uniformed officer on these no knock entries. That's good. It makes it' more likely that they will be recognized as police in time to avert tragedy.A few years ago in Dallas... a "SWAT" team broke into some people's apartment and kidnapped a young sixteen your old woman. The sister of a man that owed money to a criminal enterprise. Apparently, the girl didn't even try to run. She thought it was police. They dressed as swat officers and broke down their door screaming, "Police". They kidnapped her and took her to another state and buried her alive. Until she was dead. I was horrified and still am to this day. Dynamic entry is not a good thing. Not for citizens or police. No matter what the so called experts say. It's not the best way to deliver warrants. And so much better that a few drugs get flushed... so what... they are gone and "off the street" and no one is killed. Making their "case" isn't as important as not killing someone or getting killed.Priorities. Common sense. Safety. Right and wrong. There are other things to be considered as far more important than having evidence to make a stupid drug case.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on June 20, 2012 at 10:33:01 PT

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Comment #15 posted by FoM on June 20, 2012 at 09:27:39 PT

I have such a hard time understanding guns and why they are important. I was taught never to resist the police because they are the authority. I was taught to get a lawyer and have your case heard. I think if people hunt for food I do understand that.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on June 19, 2012 at 20:57:23 PT

I never ever want to shoot anyone...
God forbid! But if it comes down to defending myself or someone else from death or terrible harm then I would, I believe, if there was absolutely no alternative.The NRA isn't about shooting anyone either. It's an organization of citizens with a mutual goal to protect that right to keep and bear arms, from people or organizations that would take that right from them. It's about shooting as a sport and gun safety, collecting, and competitions. Everything to do with a firearm and the freedom and right to own and use it. This law isn't about just being able to defend one's self or anyone else or one's possessions from the UNLAWFUL or CRIMINAL attack of a "Public servant". It's to counter the one that says you have no right to resist a public servant... ever. No matter what. It's to make the cops a little more careful about the tactics they might use on people. Which, of course, they should be very, very careful. That's outrageous that the court said we have no legal right at all to resist even unlawful behavior on the part of a "public servant". That's just not right. That sounds like a Nazi type law for sure. But anyway, it doesn't give people the right to resist legal and lawful acts carried out by police. It gives them the right to defend themselves against ILLEGAL or CRIMINAL procedures an officer or other agent of the government might be doing. Some officers believe themselves to be above the very law they claim to be the enforcers of... like stealing from and intimidating people and "any means" to the arrest they want... whether legal or not. More than anything else this is to make the agent... the "Public servant", keep himself or herself in check. They are not being placed above and beyond the law, as the court ordered law places them. Demi-gods, as one commenter called what the court ordered law had done. They get away with murder more often than any of us likes to think. They do have a lot of power. Power that can be deadly and destructive. For sure. This is to make them realize they must treat citizens, and suspects... with respect... whether they want to or not and that they are not a standing army occupying this country and their fellow citizens are not totally at their mercy. I hope it makes them rethink their use of swat teams for warrant delivery. It should. Other than that... making the police be more careful about what they do and who they do it to... it's NOT a license to shoot police. It's an effort at keeping a militarized police from acting like an occupying military and the citizens are the enemy. The citizen in this country, in Indiana, and some other states still has some rights and they must be recognized.But you know I don't want to shoot anyone. I've had prowlers and intruders more than once. I didn't like it one dang bit, but I didn't shoot them or even threaten them. I'm not that big of a hillbilly. Lol! I've called the Sheriff and the Highway Patrol before on, I think, over the years, three different occasions. Mostly I handled any problems myself. Once there was a man trying to run over people out in front of my house and the people were banging on my door, terrified that the guys that ran into them and ran them off the road were coming back. The Highway Patrol took my description of the vehicle over the phone and captured the perpetrators within ninety seconds of when I called them. They caught them just down the highway from me. I was very impressed... and thankful. I do pray that I never have to shoot anyone. If I need to though, I pray that I'll be able to do what I have to do. I believe in good, honest, respectable law enforcement. I know good cops. Really good men and women that care about other people and really want to do the right thing. I know there are sorry cops too, just like there are sorry preachers, and sorry doctors and nurses, and firemen, artists, and politicians... and I know the drug war is wrong and has been wrong since way back. Donald Scott, Esequiel Hernandez,Kathyrn Johnston and so many more. That has to stop. I know that you don't "win" in a gun fight with the law. Ever. But the "Right" to defend one's home against criminal government... it should be right there. Plain as day, written down, and safe from erasure. That right should be guarded and prized. It makes us different from most, if not all, other nations. And this law makes sure that it's there. In plain sight for everyone to see and to remind them. It's a reminder of who we are and where we are. For all of us. Cops, too. 
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Comment #13 posted by afterburner on June 19, 2012 at 12:38:57 PT

Reckless: DEA Applauds Congress for Escalating Prohibition.
By Kristen Gwynne | Sourced from AlterNet.
Posted at June 19, 2012, 10:33 am {
"The Drug Enforcement Agency is applauding Congress for escalating prohibition with a new, broad ban on synthetic drugs. But we must not forget that these substances would never have existed if pot were legal."
}Excerpt: {
"Basically, anything that binds to the cannibanoid receptors is banned, so that head shops will no longer sell 'fake weed' products to people looking for a legal high -- one that won't show up in a piss test. Legalizing old-fashioned pot could solve the problem and decrease the demand for these more dangerous drugs, but the DEA would rather challenge chemists to create a new, legal drug that may be more dangerous than Spice. ...Cannibanoid receptors do not exist explicitly for pot-smoking, and banning nearly everything that binds to them (including actual research chemicals) will effectively kill an entire area of research. But science is not a drug warrior's concern." }
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on June 19, 2012 at 11:21:16 PT

I don't understand anything about the NRA accept they don't think the way I was taught growing up. I would never shoot anyone. It just isn't in me to do something like that. I don't fear the government in the sense that I would never feel a need to shoot at them. Work it out by voting is what I believe.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on June 19, 2012 at 10:31:28 PT

I thought about Rogue County when I was reading.
The comments on that article warmed and encouraged my heart that not everyone is just sighing and laying down to citizens losing all their rights and being ruled by tyrannical, overreaching, and dangerous government.Bloomberg tried to make it look so bad by crafting that headline the way they did. Relying on so many people's dislike of the NRA for one thing. I'm sure they were surprised at the comments. The entire Constitution is about citizens having some way of protecting ourselves from overreaching, out of control government agents in the first place. 

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Comment #9 posted by runruff on June 19, 2012 at 03:06:49 PT

Cops gone wild!
Around here from 1980-2000 the cops were unfettered marauders who took their playbook from Attila. They flew tree top level military chopper gunships. They used the National guard. There were hundreds of no-knocks. Family pets were murdered. Cash and valuables were taken on the spot. Families including young chidlren were rousted in the middle of the night in winter and made to stand in their front yard in their undies or nighties where they shivered in the cold, sometimes for hours while the thugs with badges went through their things. Xmas was especially good hunting. The harvest were all in, manicured, packaged and ready. The growers had cash by that time. The thugs even took all the gifts under the trees. We heard later how they divided up the gifts at the jail and took them home to their families. Choppers blew green house roofs off. Young summer troopers in the NG were famously known for peeking into windows and for flying around and around swimming holes and backyard pools gawking until swimmers would finally leave.They stampeded live stock, scared the daylights out the kids... it was hell on earth, It felt like a war zone in a third world county.If we had had the self protection law back then, there would have been some serious shoot outs I promise you!Now the county will not fund the cops and federal funds have all been cut so they are now left to the mercy of the people they once abused for so long and we won't give them any money. They once had more than fifty deputies and several federal advisers in the force. They were getting 25 nillion from the fed. Today they have one deputy and four million dollars. to run the Sheriffs Office and the Jail. Most of the jail has been closed off, empty.We live in a very, very low crime area if you remove the pot laws, they do not have much else to do around here.A return to sanity? It is as through the looking glass, an oppisite world from the Reagan, Bush, Bush, Clinton eras. Three criminals and a Hoowdy Doody Puppet. What were we thinking? Oh, we were not thinking, that's it!
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Comment #8 posted by The GCW on June 18, 2012 at 20:51:32 PT

Thank you for that link. 
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on June 18, 2012 at 18:30:53 PT

Off Topic
NRA-Backed Law Spells Out When Indianans May Open Fire On Police out the comments.This is very interesting... and may be some more sanity breaking out. We don't want to be like a third world nation with killer military police... which has been happening.This law was made in response to an overwhelmingly pro military style policing judgment made by a court.Of course no one should get in a fight with police... but this is something that perhaps will cut back on the blatant military style policing we've seen and will make them think that maybe not every warrant needs to be delivered by a hog wild swat team.
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Comment #6 posted by afterburner on June 18, 2012 at 12:42:41 PT

Are We Finally Reawakening..Healing..Psychedelics?
AlterNet / By Don Hazen.
Are We Finally Reawakening to the Profound Healing Properties of Psychedelics?
Legal research on a range of currently illegal drugs indicates they may help cure PTSD, alcoholism and even cluster headaches.
June 14, 2012 [Reader warning: This is a 16 page article.]Science-based medicine: 40 years of waiting for sanity to return. 
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Comment #5 posted by The GCW on June 18, 2012 at 12:22:47 PT

Less complicated with truth.
Does it complicate or does it make difficult to lie about it? Does it force conversation? The conversation about cannabis is mainstream rather than ignored.  The old laws are discredited and it is acceptable to ignore them as crap.It's less complicated. As long as truth is involved.
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on June 18, 2012 at 11:51:53 PT

"Easing of Marijuana Laws Complicates Drug Talk
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 18, 2012 at 09:08:49 PT

Important Study Results
Study Shows No Evidence Medical Marijuana Increases Teen Drug UseJune 18, 2012URL:
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Comment #2 posted by Paul Pot on June 18, 2012 at 05:05:05 PT:

AP Marijuana News Articles
Find AP marijuana articles at this address.
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Comment #1 posted by Paul Pot on June 17, 2012 at 18:38:32 PT:

What about alcohol? 
What about alcohol?
How do parents explain that?
What kind of conversations were had 80 yrs ago when prohibition ended?
Alcohol is far more dangerous than pot yet somehow we manage to talk about it or not but we live with it.
How many women and children have had their faces and bodies blackened by drunken men?
Alcohol is something done by grown-ups and you can do it when your eighteen. 
Just like my parents told me about alcohol and that's what happened.
Is it so hard to use the same doctrine for both, even if marijuana is far safer than alcohol?
What's the problem? 
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