NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Adult recreational marijuana is now legal in New York and New Jersey. But there are questions and concerns about the impact it will have on young people.
Parents, in particular, may be unsure about how to talk to their kids, especially teenagers, about the change.
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“Oh, I’ve been having it over and over with many kids,” said Denise Margulies, a mother and athletic trainer from the Upper East Side.
The conversation about marijuana has been a hot topic this week, she said.
Margulies talks to her own kids, and the ones she trains, about the new law legalizing recreational marijuana for adults.
“My advice is to say it’s going to get you in a lot of trouble,” Margulies told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.
Child psychiatrist Dr. Jodi Gold said now is the perfect time to talk to young people – teens especially – about pot.
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“Have a conversation starter with your kids. Young teens and older teens about who’s already using marijuana, what it means that it’s legal,” said Dr. Gold. “You want to be really mindful that you keep the dialogue open, otherwise your kids are just going to hide it from you.”
Dr. Gold says, in a perfect world, no one under 21 would smoke pot. But the truth is many teens already do.
That’s why she believes it’s important to stress to older teens: Don’t smoke daily, and only in moderation.
She says the new law is a new opportunity to explain marijuana’s effects on young brains, that are still developing.
“My biggest take home message for teenagers and marijuana is it doesn’t make you smarter,” Dr. Gold said. “It makes it harder for them to remember things, to focus and to be able to plan, which is exactly what you need to be doing when you’re a teenager or a young adult.”
Another piece of advice for parents from Dr. Gold: Model the behavior you want your kids to emulate. That’s the best way to instill your family’s values when it comes not only to pot, but alcohol and tobacco, too.
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Dr. Gold stressed no teen should be vaping anything, including marijuana.