Marijuana is readily available in Mountain View at a low cost. My teens report that it is easier and cheaper to get than alcohol and much more popular. Legalizing medical marijuana has had the consequence of helping teens get easy access. Many high school seniors get a medical marijuana card as soon as they turn 18. There are plenty of doctors in San Jose who will readily authorize "medical" use for anyone over 18. It is a short walk from the doctor's office to the marijuana dispensaries to buy very potent marijuana legally.
New technology and new methods of ingesting marijuana help make it more prevalent and more risky. Vaporizers that are the size and shape of a pen and can easily be tucked in a pocket or backpack make it easy to "smoke," as the teens say, anywhere. Some students at Los Altos get high right in the classroom or while driving using vaporizers that do not emit any odor. Then there is the practice of "moling" which involves adding tobacco to the marijuana and even more risky is "dabbing." Dabbing involves using a wax from the oil of the marijuana, then heating the wax and inhaling the vapors. This induces a very strong and instantaneous high that is much more impairing and dangerous than just smoking it.
Parents and concerned residents of Mountain View and Los Altos need a forum about marijuana use among our teens. We need the high schools to do more to discourage regular marijuana use and help parents to deal with our teens who are using or may be using, who are addicted or failing school because of their psychological dependence on "weed." We parents need emotional and practical support for the very difficult challenges of parenting teens who are using it regularly. Most of us have not viewed marijuana as particularly harmful and have had our own experiences with it in younger days, but the use is different now, starting younger, with more feeling that it is acceptable. With more potent marijuana and more teens who are stressed out, depressed and anxious, these kids are much more vulnerable to addiction. For parents struggling with teens who use and abuse it, please know that you are not alone.
And by the way, don't call it "pot." The teens hate that. If you hear them talking about "smoking" they are referring to smoking marijuana, not cigarettes.
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