Using marijuana at a young age can have longer lasting consequences than short-term memory loss. Youth marijuana users can get kicked off sports teams, lose college scholarships, go to jail, and even harm their brain while it is still developing.

Playing sports can be a great outlet for people of all ages. For youth, sports are an opportunity to find friendships, build confidence, and make lifelong memories. Many school athletic programs randomly drug-test their student-athletes, which means a positive test for marijuana could lead to lengthy suspensions or being kicked off the team. Although only a small percentage of youth sports players will go on to compete in college, getting caught using or possessing marijuana can dull even the brightest future.

Don’t let marijuana get in the way of academic success. Many privately funded college scholarships are conditioned on good behavior which includes substance use and possession. A Minor in Possession charge could put scholarships in jeopardy. Most types of government financial aid have similar conditions. Even if students don’t lose their scholarships outright from possessing or using marijuana, they may have to complete lengthy substance abuse education programs to stay in school.

Although marijuana is recreationally legal here in Nevada, that doesn’t mean it is safe or okay for everyone to use. It is against the law for people under the age of 21 to possess or consume marijuana unless they have a valid medical marijuana card. A Minor in Possession charge can result in probation, community service, fines, and even jail time. Being charged with a Minor in Possession can get in the way of finding a good job for years to come.

While some parts of the brain develop early during adolescence, the part of the brain that controls reasoning and impulses does not fully mature until around the age of 25. The prefrontal cortex makes up over 10% of the volume and the brain and is involved in many functions including decision making and emotional control. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, youth cannabis use can influence the development of this critical region. Even occasional cannabis use could cause teens to engage in risky behavior, find themselves in vulnerable positions, and make bad choices.

Talk with your kids. Parents and caretakers are the biggest influence in the lives of Nevada’s youth. Kids who say they learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home are much less likely to use drugs. Visit our Youth Resource page to find information and support for young people living in Douglas County.