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Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, but not for everyone

If you pay attention to the news, then you may have learned a shocking statistic about our state as of late. In a USA Today article last month, Colorado residents learned that the number of middle school students who were caught with drugs last year set a "decade-high record" in the state. Even though a majority of school districts did not specifically name which drugs were found, some residents are pointing fingers at the state's legalization of marijuana as the reason for the increase in drug possession instances among teens.

Whatever the reason really is though, the fact that more students are going to school in possession of controlled substances -- be them legal in Colorado or not -- creates a very serious problem with very serious consequences we think parents should be aware of. Today, let's look at marijuana specifically.

Although recreational marijuana is legal for persons over the age of 21 to purchase and possess in small amounts, the same is not true for anyone underage. This means that even if one person legally obtained the drug and it comes into the possession of an underage person, the underage person would be in violation of drug possession laws and subject to legal consequences as well.

If an underage person such as a middle school or high school student was accused of giving marijuana to their classmates, then they may possibly face escalated charges because of drug distribution laws.

As you can see, even something as innocuous as a teenager taking marijuana that was legally obtained can lead to criminal charges that can lead to fines, substance abuse education, and even court orders to perform community service. Even though it may be considered a petty offense, it's a situation you and your child should consider with the utmost seriousness as a conviction could greatly affect your child down the road.

Source: The Colorado Department of Education, "Marijuana -Under 21 in Colorado, Laws and Penalties from the Colorado Revised Statutes," Accessed March 19, 2015

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