Effects on Youth
Use the Youth and Marijuana factsheet to learn more about marijuana health concerns and protecting children and youth from marijuana.
Brain development is not complete until age 25. For the best chance to reach their full potential, youth should not use marijuana. Youth that begin using marijuana regularly are more likely to become addicted than those who wait until adulthood to use.1
Talk to youth about marijuana to help them better understand the risks of marijuana. Only about half of Colorado high school students think that regularly using marijuana is harmful.2 Youth who think marijuana is risky are much less likely to use marijuana regularly.2
1 The Colorado Department of Education has developed student resources. More youth are getting in trouble for drugs at school, including pot.19
Since marijuana is still illegal outside Colorado, youth with marijuana charges may not get financial aid to help pay for college. Youth can lose Perkins Loans, Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, PLUS Loans, and Work-Study Programs (Section 484 subsection R of the Higher Education Act of 1998). Be sure youth understand that marijuana use can get in the way of paying for college.
Youth that break school policies on marijuana may be referred for drug counseling, be kicked off sports teams, suspended, expelled or face prosecution. Colorado laws state that youth with a Minor in Possession charge receive fines, public service, substance abuse education, loss of their driver's license, or misdemeanor/felony charges. As mentioned above, a charge could mean that youth lose financial aid opportunities. Additionally, marijuana use may result in losing a job since employers are still allowed to drug test.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the following are common signs to look for if parents suspect their child is using marijuana.25 He/she might: