With the federal government intending to legalize cannabis in Canada soon, many parents are wondering what this means for kids, especially for their teens. If you’re worried about the coming changes or simply want to start a conversation with your child about marijuana, here are five facts to know and share.
1. Legal weed is only for adults. Access will be restricted to anyone under the age of 18. This means no one can sell or provide cannabis to youth.
2. Marijuana slows you down. This is crucial for young drivers to understand. When you drive a vehicle, your brain needs to be alert and focused. Even small amounts of marijuana can affect your attention, judgment, motor skills, reaction time, decision-making, balance and coordination. Marijuana is second only to alcohol as the most commonly detected substance among drivers who die in traffic crashes in Canada.
3. Drug impaired driving is illegal. Driving under the influence of any drug, including marijuana, is illegal and dangerous. But a whopping 24 per cent of young adults believe it’s safe to drive a vehicle only a couple of hours or less after using marijuana. This isn’t true, and neither is the myth that driving after using cannabis is safer than drunk driving.
4. Pot and alcohol don’t mix. Combining drugs, such as cannabis, with alcohol doesn’t work to “balance out” the effects — it only worsens driving performance. Many car crashes involving teenagers are caused by inexperience and poor judgment. When these factors are combined with alcohol, cannabis or other drugs, the results can be tragic.
5. Kids shouldn’t accept rides from friends who are high. According to the most recent Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey, 15 percent of students in grades seven to 12 reported being a passenger in a motor vehicle driven by someone who had used cannabis in the previous two hours. Teach your kids about ways to get home safe, like calling you, taking public transit or using a ridesharing service.
Find more information online at canada.ca/cannabis. www.newscanada.com