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State wants to educate parents about marijuana so they can educate kids

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SEATTLE — I-502, that legalized recreational marijuana, mandates that part of the revenue generated by marijuana sales be used to educate the public.

Obviously there`s been no revenue yet, but the State of Washington didn`t want to wait they wanted to help parents now.

John Herdt wanted to make sure his kids were equipped with the right information to make good decisions about drugs, so he initiated the conversation.

“We discussed a lot with our kids about not being pressured into doing drugs and if someone comes up and approaches you and tells you hey do you want to smoke pot behind the school just tell them, no thank you,” parent John Herdt said.

It is a message that has stuck with his son Tyler.

“It’s helped because there are people at my school who do drugs and stuff and I know if anyone comes up to me to ask if I want to do drugs to say no because I want to do good in school,” student Tyler Herdt said.

The Washington State Department of Health wants all parents to start the same conversation and they have a new ad campaign to help them.

“One out of five 10th Graders in Washington already uses marijuana, increasing their risk for school failure and depression. Now that it’s legal for those over 21, it’s more important than ever to talk to your kids about the risks of marijuana, the radio ad says.

Health officials say brain development continues at least until a person is 21 years old and marijuana has been shown to harm brain development and can have health consequences that can affect a person for their whole life.

“That includes things like poor performance in school, early dropout rates and even depression,” Washington State Department of Health spokesman Don Moyer said.

This kind of public awareness campaign is new for the Washington Department of Health and they’re trying to figure out what message will resonate best with parents and children because the message and the conversation about marijuana is critically important.

“The research shows if you wait for your kids to talk to them about pot or about any other type of substance they’re probably not going to do it. Some of them will but it really also shows that parents who talk to their children and start the conversation can have a tremendous influence,” Moyer said.

Moyer says there will be more ads when sales begin and revenue starts to roll in.

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