Children as young as 5 or 6 years old are very observant, inquisitive and can ask questions. The scenario I’m about to portray is made up, however could happen in real life.

Mom and Dad are either smoking or growing marijuana in their cellar for their own recreational or medicinal use. Their children grow up seeing this. When a child enters school, they are taught by their teachers at a young age that drugs are bad, and continue drug education into junior high school, being told about the evil of drugs. When these children start asking Mom and Dad about their use of marijuana they are told drugs are bad. but marijuana is a good drug. and helps mommy and daddy to relax. As these children enter high school and observe their peers smoking marijuana, they think to themselves: If Mom and Dad smoke and grow marijuana it can’t be that harmful. So they begin smoking marijuana.

When their parents find out and chastise them. they become confused and state, “You said marijuana is a good drug. Why can’t I smoke it?”

Is this what you want for your children, to grow up becoming a generation of potheads. There has to be some type of legislation prohibiting parents of children under the age of 18 from growing marijuana for their own personal use under penalty of law, to avoid this scenario.

Legislatures and politicians, in their rush to pass the bill legalizing recreational marijuana for adults, did not do their homework, and don’t have a clue about the drug culture, as those of us in law enforcement who have worked and investigated drug addicts do.

Some readers may think I’m overreacting, but from my experience in enforcing our drugs laws, believe me this is not far-fetched. Most children hold their parents in high esteem and tend to imitate them, and imitate them they will when it comes to drug use. It’s up to responsible parents to create family bonding through quality family time, thereby safeguarding their children’s welfare, setting the example,and emphasizing the importance of building skills to navigate challenges they will face as they are our future leaders. Growing marijuana and smoking marijuana in front of young or adolescent children and telling them it’s not bad is not the answer.

Another aspect: It amazes me every time I pick up a newspaper, there’s a wrinkle to the legalization of the recreational marijuana bill. The newest being news of employers ending tests for marijuana use for employment. The cannabis legislation law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy will allow any employee to smoke marijuana in their free time, unless they work for the federal government. What about airline pilots, train engineers, bus drivers, heavy duty construction workers? And the list goes on. What the legislatures don’t seem to understand is that drug tests for marijuana do not show real-time impairment and can detect it days or weeks after a person uses it. This poses a potential legal action for the employer if a person is high and causes a workplace accident, or they fire someone for a positive test and are sued for discrimination.

Thomas J. Russo
Former Montclair Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety


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