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Discussing marijuana with college students

College proves both exciting and nerve-wracking for Pennsylvania parents and their children. For some, it's the first time that they've left the comfort of their childhood bedrooms, homes and memories. Stress, peer pressure and anxiety may escalate in kids entering college, and these feelings may lead to marijuana use.

College campuses, especially state schools, aim to lessen drug use, but with thousands of attendees, drugs are still used by students every weekend. Depending on the circumstances of the charge, serious legal consequences may ensue, or your child could end up making poor decisions while high. To protect your child from using or selling marijuana, it proves essential to discuss dangers of drugs. You may even help them avoid a criminal charge.

Drug use consequences

Many students turn to marijuana for multiple reasons.

  • Your child may want to fit in.
  • Your child may experience peer pressure.
  • Your child may find relief in drugs due to their stress or anxiety.
  • Your child may have heard rumors and are curious about the effects.
  • Your child may be under the influence and not recognize the consequences.

No matter the reason, a court may still convict your child of using, harboring or providing drugs to others.

In Pennsylvania, a first drug offense may result in the following criminal punishments.

  • Assuming your child is found with 30 grams or less of marijuana, he or she may be subjected to a misdemeanor charge with up to 30 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Misdemeanor charges themselves hold consequences. Permanent in nature, many college students may find themselves unable to apply for a high-level job or avoid reconsideration on job applications. In addition, apartments, banks and the government entities hold the ability to complete background checks, so your child may be making mistakes that lead to a less fortunate future.

Talking to your child about marijuana

Although recreational marijuana has become legal in some states, in Pennsylvania, only the use of medical marijuana proves legal. Especially for minors, marijuana charges prove especially difficult. You may wish to discuss the dangers of conviction to your child before they leave for school. You may also want to:

  • Be a good role model.
  • Set expectations and family consequences.
  • Discuss various reasons that college students use marijuana.
  • Describe the punishments and their lasting effects.
  • Clarify your support and willingness to listen.

College students prove bound to make some mistakes, but mistakes that involve legal trouble and a permanent record should be avoided. It is important for parents to understand the consequences of marijuana use and communicate such punishments to your child to help them think twice about using illegal drugs at college.

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