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Legalizing pot will put teens in jeopardy

In spite of citizens' concerns, it seems our politicians are determined to decriminalize marijuana, either under the smoke screen of medical use or through outright legalization ("Advocates for legal marijuana take first steps," March 20).

As with tobacco, alcohol and prescription drugs, supporters of legalization will assure us there will be age limits on who can purchase and use marijuana. And we all know how well those limits have worked to keep teens from getting their hands on cigarettes, alcohol and prescription drugs in the past.

So parents need to prepare for a future in which marijuana will be easily available through local dispensaries, which will become the equivalent of liquor stores. I also encourage parents to learn about how marijuana is a fat-soluble drug that stays in the body's brain, lungs and reproductive system for up to 30 days.

This often leads to the a-motivational syndrome better know as "burn-out." Symptoms of burn-out include an inability to concentrate, short-term memory loss and lack of motivation, which we often see in teens who smoke marijuana.

It is important parents begin to learn these signs and symptoms so they can intervene and get their children the help they will need. We have already seen a rise in marijuana use among school-age kids, and it's only a matter of time before outright legalization occurs.

Mike Gimbel, Timonium

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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