Together Our Voices: Your questions answered.

The following are questions from Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander youth that were answered by people from our communities!

How do we talk about marijuana?

How do you deal with stress?

What can we do to change our environment?

What’s the difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana?

My friends use marijuana. What can I do?

Learn about the effects of Marijuana.

Educate others so they can make healthy choices.

Spread awareness about the effects of Marijuana in your community.

What if I’m caught with marijuana?

In Washington state, marijuana is only legal for those 21 years of age or older. Youth caught with marijuana face many consequences:

Criminal Charges

Underage marijuana possession can lead to a misdemeanor charge. If someone has more than 40 grams, it’s a felony.

Possible Jail Time

A misdemeanor charge can mean spending up to 90 days in jail. A felony charge can mean spending up to 5 years in jail.


The penalty for underage marijuana possession also includes fines up to $10,000

Loss of Driver’s License

An underage marijuana conviction means losing a driver’s license for up to two years.

Can a marijuana possession conviction affect me later in life?

On top of jail time and a fine, a marijuana possession conviction can affect youth later in life:

Can’t qualify for financial aid for college.

A marijuana conviction can prevent a person from receiving college financial aid.

Being turned down from renting a home.

Landlords can refuse tenants with criminal records.

Difficult finding a job.

Having a criminal conviction may prevent you from getting a job.

Is marijuana addictive?

1 in 6 teens who regularly use marijuana become addicted. Factors that increase the risk of marijuana addiction include:

Brain Development

Marijuana use can have long-term effects on a young person’s brain development. A young person’s brain is not fully developed until the early or mid-20s.

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Repeated Use

People who use marijuana a lot can feel irritable, have sleep problems, or feel restless.

High THC content

THC is the main chemical in marijuana. When using marijuana with a high THC content, a person’s brain starts to change the way it functions.

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How can you tell if someone is addicted to marijuana?

Some warning signs of marijuana addiction include:

  • Losing interest in other activities
  • Stop caring about how their use of marijuana hurts themselves and others
  • Denying that their marijuana use is a problem and hiding marijuana use.

What are the health effects of using marijuana?

Marijuana has harmful effects on a young person’s brain:

Changing a young person’s brain chemistry

Marijuana use can have long-term effects on a young person’s brain development. A young person’s brain is not fully developed until the early or mid-20s. The brain is sensitive to drug exposure. Marijuana use impacts how connections form within the brain.

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Becoming vulnerable to addiction

Marijuana's effect on a young person’s brain makes addiction more likely.

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Impairing memory, learning, and intelligence

Marijuana use can impair attention, memory, and learning. These effects can last up to several days beyond the time of actual “high.”

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How else can marijuana affect a person's body?

Physical effects on lungs and heart.

All smoke, including marijuana smoke, can be harmful to lung health. Marijuana can cause the heart to beat faster. This can lead to increased risk of stroke and heart disease.

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Edible marijuana takes up to 2 hours to take effect. This makes it hard for a person who is consuming edible marijuana to know when to stop. And it can lead to poisoning or serious injury.

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What are the consequences of driving while high?

Driving while high on marijuana can be dangerous, even deadly. It can also result in a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge.

Being arrested for DUI.

There are serious legal consequences if you get pulled over while high. A DUI can result in the loss of your driver’s license, expensive fees, jail time, and high car insurance costs.

Injury or death

Marijuana can affect a person’s coordination and reaction time, making it dangerous to drive.

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