We know our teenager smokes pot, but we don’t believe they are using hard drugs. Should we be concerned? Yes, you should be very concerned. Following are some of the consequences we regularly see from marijuana use by minors:

1. School. All schools prohibit students from selling, furnishing to others, possessing or being under the influence of marijuana or any other drug. If a student sells or furnishes marijuana to others at school, they will likely be referred for expulsion. Possession alone, if a first offense, will usually not result in a suspension if the student takes a mandatory drug awareness class. It is likely the school will call and involve the school police. Depending on what occurred, Juvenile Court prosecution will also likely follow.

2. Grades. It has been our experience that a minor’s grades will significantly improve if they stop using marijuana. If your minor has a precipitous drop in grades and behavior at school, the first thought should be drug use.

3. Juvenile Court. Furnishing marijuana is legally the same as selling marijuana. Possession of not more than 28.5 grams of marijuana at school in grades 1-12 during school hours or at school-related programs is a misdemeanor. Health & Safety Code 11357(e).
Depending on how the case is handled in Juvenile Court, if a conviction is entered against the minor and an abstract of the conviction is sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the minor will have their drivers license suspended for a year or their ability to obtain a drivers license delayed for a year.

4. Child Protective Services. If for some reason Child Protective Services (CPS) visits a home and discovers marijuana is accessible to the minor children in the home, it is likely they will take the children into protective custody and initiate juvenile dependency proceedings. A medical marijuana card does not give an adult a license to have marijuana in their home that is reasonably accessible to their children.

5. Department of Motor Vehicles. Just like alcohol, if a minor under the age of 18 is found to be in possession of marijuana, they will have their drivers license suspended for a year or a have to wait an extra year to obtain their license. We have represented minors who were under the influence of marijuana and nearly killed themselves and others because of their dangerous driving.

Minors who use marijuana and associate with other drug users are likely to start experimenting with other hard drugs.

Condoning marijuana use can only lead to further legal and social issues when the minor reaches adulthood. If your minor is regularly using marijuana, it is likely that as an adult that behavior will continue. If your son or daughter has children, it is likely your grandchildren will be raised in a home with open marijuana use. Marijuana use affects a students grades; it can have the same effect on a persons job performance.
There have been a couple of cases where we have recommended to the Juvenile Court that our client be permitted to continue to use marijuana as a condition of their probation. In both cases, the Court did approve the minors continued use. Both minors had profound issues and had taken psychotropic medication for many years. They refused to take those medications any more. They found that marijuana use enabled them to go to school and be able to function in their daily lives. In both cases, they had medical marijuana cards and their psychiatrists wrote letters to the Court explaining that marijuana use was beneficial for them to attend school and stay out of trouble. Except for these two very special cases, we strongly advise parents to not permit the use of or the possession of marijuana by their minor/s.

Regularly administer surprise drug tests to your minor if marijuana or other drug use is suspected. Marijuana stays in the system for as long as 30 days. If drug use is suspected, don’t stop testing after a few clean tests. Repeat surprise tests until your minor leaves home. A watered down or diluted test should be considered a dirty test. Let your minor know it is not acceptable to use any illegal drugs. Be a good example to your child. If you use, it is likely your children will do the same.


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