You've probably heard the new radio ads from the Washington State Department of Health, they've been on Newstalk, and every other Tri-City area radio station.
“One out of five 10th Graders in Washington already uses marijuana, increasing their risk for school failure and depression. Now that it’s legal for those over 21, it’s more important than ever to talk to your kids about the risks of marijuana..."
That's how the ads address the issue of how legalized marijuana could affect teenagers. The Department of Health public awareness campaign
began a few weeks ago, and officials are hoping it will continue.
Originally, a portion of profits and sales from the state pot stores was dedicated to this campaign, but because it's taken twice as long as projected to get the stores up and running, officials had to dip into other funding and budgets to pay for the ads.
Officials say data shows that if parents talk openly and honestly with their children about the risks of marijuana (and other drugs) they are far less likely to abuse the substances. Medical research has shown that adolescent brain development continues until a person is 20-21 years old. Regardless of your beliefs about the drug, medical studies have also proven sustained or prolonged marijuana use can negatively affect that development.
The ads are slated to continue to run as long as budget money is available, but will end soon. Once money starts flowing in from the state pot stores, officials are hoping to resume the teen education campaign.