New York State Assemblyman Keith Brown has taken a bold step to address the issue of underage marijuana use. He has proposed a new legislation that would require teenagers caught with cannabis to attend counseling programs, along with their parents.
The existing penalty of a $50 fine and a pamphlet, according to Brown, is not enough to discourage young people from using marijuana. He believes that if marijuana is to be treated like alcohol, then it should be treated as such, and more effective measures need to be put in place.
As educators in New York express growing concern over the widespread use of marijuana in schools, an initiative has been launched to tackle the issue. The use of marijuana is so rampant that entire corridors and stairwells in some schools reek of pot, according to Forest Hills High School teacher Adam Bergstein.
Shockingly, data from the city Department of Education shows that instances of students caught with drug paraphernalia on school grounds have increased by 8% since the state legalized marijuana. Bergstein believes that getting parents involved could be the key to solving the problem. He suggests that if parents were to participate and be more involved, it would be easier to control the situation and there would be a noticeable drop in drug use in schools.
Despite the recent legalization of marijuana, not everyone is convinced that requiring families to attend a cannabis diversion program will be effective. Addiction treatment consultant Ben Cort warns that parents today can be just as dismissive of the health risks as their children.
Cort further explains that simply bringing families together in a room and giving them something to make fun of won’t accomplish anything. As this debate continues to unfold, one thing remains clear: the state of New York is struggling with unintended consequences following the legalization of marijuana.
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