On Jan. 1, 2018, the state of California will begin to give out permits for dispensaries to sell marijuana to people over 21 years of age for recreational use, in line with Proposition 64.
California citizens over 18 years old can still obtain medical marijuana cards from a doctor, a policy which is unchanged by the passing of Prop. 64. Currently, the recreational consumption of marijuana is allowed for people of legal age, which is 21, but 2018 marks the beginning of legal sale among dispensaries in California. With the increase in the availability of the drug, new questions are being asked about the impact the legalization will have on minors.
Studies show that marijuana use in minors can lead to learning and cognitive developmental problems later in life. Since Prop. 64 increases the availability of marijuana, as well as reduces the punishment for juveniles caught with it, many anticipate an increase in teenage use of marijuana.
Consequently, Prop. 64 is becoming an area of concern among parents and schools, who are trying to deal with the upcoming changes and educate kids on how to stay safe. At Burlingame High School, all students must go through a mandatory semester-long health course, which includes a general overview of drug abuse.
“It comes down to student’s safety, not getting students in trouble,” health teacher Nicole Carter said.
Instead of installing the “just say no” attitude, the health class tries to create a discussion and help students make healthy and informed decisions regarding drug use.
Another problem parents and schools are trying to deal with are technological advancements in the marijuana industry that Prop. 64 is going to make available to teenagers. Technology such as the odorless and practically undetectable dab pen will be legally sold for recreational use, making consuming marijuana on campus easier than ever before. This change poses a huge problem for many schools as increase in the product’s use is expected.
“Because it can be done so much more discretely, it’s probably being done more often,” Carter said.
All of the changes that come from Prop. 64 have not had any effect on the school’s disciplinary code yet, and only time will tell if this change in California’s laws will affect school rules about on-campus marijuana use.
“It’s student choice in how they want to live and how they want to carry themselves in and out of school.” dean Fred Wolfgramm said.
Prop. 64 is predictably going to change aspects of life for many teenagers, but Burlingame will just have to wait to see exactly how, Carter predicted.
“I think that the next year and a half is going to be really interesting.”