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OPINION: Weed Education 101 – In a world where marijuana is becoming legal, how will we educate future youth?

It’s the year 2015, and we college students have grown up in a very peculiar period. We were raised in a world where marijuana was illegal and now that’s changing – and it’s changing fast. Washington’s liberal politics push progressive movements forward faster than most, so we see change more rapidly than most other states. But what role will kush play in our society in the future?

In the next 10 to 15 years, our generation will be raising children and it very well could be in a nation where bud is legal in most states. So how will we approach educating our young in the various uses, effects and qualities of marijuana?

Similar to the Prohibition era, consumption of THC products was surrounded by a variety of negative stigmas, and was even considered a poison by the U.S. government in the early 1900s. Now, we are aware of it’s medicinal uses, but more importantly, that it isn’t too harmful if consumed in moderation.

Many of us growing up had parents that allowed us to have tastes of wine and beer at dinner every once in awhile. They would explain to us what alcohol was and what would happen if you drank tons of it. In hindsight, the tastings were probably to disgust us so we’d never go near such substances again. Parents like these were exposing their children to the reality of what is out there so they won’t abuse it as they age and mature.

So will we raise our children in a household that allows them nibbles of cannabis cookies? Possibly allowing them small inhalations of reefer? Will we partake on occasional sativa Saturdays? We’re not entirely sure.

We feel that education is paramount when it comes to narcotics. For those who feel the need to battle against the impending freedom of herb, it’s an unnecessary fight. In the past, it’s been a massive waste of government funds to stop citizens from enjoying the plethora of potent cannabis creations. But as Snoop Dogg’s green makes its way into our society, we need to find ways to educate students and youth at a young age. While it is a general understanding that weed usage is habitual rather than addicting, it should still be treated similarly to alcohol, and can result in dangerous behaviors. It will surely be interesting to observe the evolution of America and its newly-forming policies around the bud.

In high school health class, we were taught about the dangers of alcohol but are also exposed to it in a way that teaches us how to consume alcohol safely rather than blatantly telling us not to drink it. However, this has never been the case with drugs, which includes marijuana. We’ve basically been told not to do it, and “hugs, not drugs.” There’s been no education on safe ways of consuming weed or what even happens to you when you smoke, consume an edible, vape or intake kush in whatever way, shape or form.

As our country progresses into the future, its going to be important that young people know about the side effects of weed. Without this education, we’re essentially asking for disaster. Education about marijuana needs to be brought to light not only by parents, but by schools. We know that this is asking a lot because the movement of legalization is new and still young, but this education is going to be vital for the safety and health of America’s youth.

The editorial board is composed of Anna Jentoft, Dylan Green, Brandon Stone and Stephanie Villiers.

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