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Lifestyle Maryland Family

Mixed messages on marijuana miff mom

Sometimes you would like to send your kids to a deserted island and leave them there — away from phones, TV, video games and Internet — until until they turn 21.

That’s the way I’ve been feeling with all of the recent publicity about the legalization of marijuana and all of the contradictory information about the drug’s effect.

A number of states, including Maryland, have passed laws allowing medicinal marijuana. Last week, Dr. Sanja Gupta came out saying he had been wrong to oppose medicinal pot. Even New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has agreed to ease restrictions on making weed available to sick kids.

While our lawmakers are weighing regulations for medicinal marijuana, there appears to be a growing realization that laws criminalizing the drug are futile. A recent Pew Research study found two-thirds of Americans believe the government enforcement efforts aren’t worth their cost and the percent of Americans who believe marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to harder substances has dropped from 60 percent to 38 percent.

My teenage boys pick up on bits and pieces of this news and then ask me what’s wrong with pot. Add all these stories to the usual celebrities seen smoking pot or talking about it, and it becomes very hard to give good parental advice.

Although a lot of kids smoked weed when I was in high school and college, I didn’t. But simply telling my boys they shouldn’t do it because I didn’t doesn’t seem like a good answer. They already think I’m a complete nerd.

I can tell them that pot, like any medicine, should not be used by healthy people. But what to say to them about all of the celebrities who smoke? After all, when was the last time Rihanna showed up with the picture of a Tylenol bottle on her purse?

Liz Atwood is a former Baltimore Sun features editor who teaches journalism at Hood College. She is the mother of two sons, ages 12 and 16.

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