DEAR ABBY: Due to various anti-drug lectures he was exposed to at school, my 13-year-old son believes that marijuana is not only illegal, but also is very bad for you. He said it is poison.
My state has recently legalized marijuana and I am at a loss about how to explain to him that pot is no longer "that bad," as people partake of it in a responsible manner going forward. Any suggestions? -- COLORADO MOM
DEAR MOM: Marijuana isn't poison, unless it was sprayed with a poisonous chemical before being harvested. The marijuana being sold to adults in the states where it is now legal has been carefully cultivated and harvested. Its use is not encouraged among teenagers, however, because research has shown it can impair brain development among young people.
Stress to your son that like alcohol, marijuana can slow reaction time and impair judgment and memory, which is why it's illegal for minors to use it. Whether it will become legal across the nation is still an open question. If it's abused the way that alcohol sometimes is, smoking weed may also be harmful because, like any smoke, it poses a risk to the lungs.