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#1 of 107 Old 07-12-2010, 08:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DH and I are wrestling over how to handle DS who we are pretty sure is smoking pot with his friends. He will be 18 in 2 months, and is planning on attending the local community college. Do we drug test him at home? I hate that idea. Do we tell him he has to stop or he has to leave home? I hate that idea too. Not really having any other problems with him, just don't know what's the wise thing to do.
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#2 of 107 Old 07-12-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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He's almost 18 and can make the choice to put marijuana in his body if he wants to. I wouldn't say anything about it unless it became a problem.. If you have had drug talks with him then I'm sure he knows the 'risks' that come along with choosing to use drugs. I definitely wouldn't drug test him at home.

With my teen I just keep the lines of communication open.. I've told him my own personal experiences with marijuana and I've asked that he not experiment with it. I have told him that I can ask that of him but I can not demand he not put something into his body.. it's his body, his choice. I think being open about is far more important...

Just my 2 cents.

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#3 of 107 Old 07-12-2010, 08:59 PM
 
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I think it's fair to set rules about what you will or will not permit in your own home- such as "don't keep illegal drugs in the house and don't use them here. I don't want to face legal consequences for YOUR actions." But I don't think you really have any say over what he puts into his body when he's away from home.

You also need to research what your own legal liability is for the next two months. Can you get into legal trouble for a minor using drugs if he's caught with them before his birthday?

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#4 of 107 Old 07-12-2010, 09:07 PM
 
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At almost 18, there isn't anything you can do except let him know that you won't allow it in the house.

The wise thing to do is not make a huge issue over it. Unless it's to the point of interfering with his life, pot is not a danger to him. Maybe discuss responsible use, such as no driving if he's been smoking weed.

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#5 of 107 Old 07-12-2010, 11:14 PM
 
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I pretty much agree with everyone else but I would like to add to what MusicianDad said. Definitely stress the not driving while stoned or letting himself be drove around by someone stoned. Let him know if he is stuck in a situation to call you and you will give him a lift. If he doesn't want to look like a dork tell him to explain that you have to pick him up because you are taking him somewhere (dr, shopping, whatever).
Almost all of my friends smoked pot when I was a young teen. I did not because I am allergic to it, MAJOR allergic to it. So I had a unique perspective in the whole driving around stoned topic. My friends all claimed that smoking pot before driving actually focused them more. Trust me, I was not stoned and NO being stoned did NOT help them drive better. It's amazing we all lived to tell the tell.

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#6 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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Honestly I wouldn't even worry about it. I would be much more concerned if he was drinking a lot. If you have a problem with it in the house (which is sounds like you do) make that clear. He's going to be 18 soon and can make his own decisions, he just needs to be respectful of your feelings about it.

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#7 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 05:25 PM
 
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I would not do the drug testing.

As a misguided teen, I smoked pot. In retrospect it slowed me down, made it hard to be social and gave me low self esteem.

I am lucky to be alive from driving under influence from it, and riding with others while they were.

But being very strict will push him away. My mom started charging me rent, when I got really bad including drinking and staying out late. That made me move out and things got worse.

Is he bored? Maybe he needs to find something incredibly interesting where pot would not have a place. I was mostly bored.

Hopefully this is as far as it will go with your son. Good luck.
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#8 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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I agree that you can lay down the law about not having it in your house, but beyond that, there's not so much you can do. I think the only thing you'll accomplish by drug testing is destroying any relationship you have with him.

Personally, I think it's pretty harmless and should be legal, but getting caught with it can have lifelong consequences, and I think I'd try to explain that. For example, I know people who have been turned down as adoptive parents over a MJ arrest, and people who have had trouble getting certain types of employment.
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#9 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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I had 2 teenage sons and our rules were no drugs in the house,( and we already did the lecture of what drugs do to you, etc) , and the second rule was if you got busted, we were not going to bail you out of jail! That is what really got through to them, and I am happy to report they are both married have families, and don't do drugs and have never been arrested!
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#10 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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I think you have to find your own comfort level with this sort of issue. What works for one family may not work for you.

For me, I've made it very clear to my son that drug users are not welcome to stay in our home. We certainly know, and are friends with, people who smoke mj, and they are aware that they can't stay overnight, or bring it to the house.

If I catch my son doing drugs as he grows up, or suspect he is doing them, he will be randomly drug tested from then on until he is an adult. Beyond that as well, if he expects to stay here while he goes to college or saves money while working, etc. If he wants to continue living here at any point, he'll test clean. I know what I can handle living with and I have drawn my necessary line in the sand.

This zero tolerance policy is based on the fact that addictive tendencies are genetic, and it runs in my son's family. It's not going to happen on my watch, and I don't believe it is any kind of right of passage that kids have to go through.

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#11 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 07:06 PM
 
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Some kids experiment, some make lifestyle choices that I agree with and some that I do not. Some make lifestyle choices that are dangerous to health and some are innocuous. I would MUCH rather my teen smoke pot than drink alcohol. I would much rather my teen smoke pot than smoke cigarettes. People don't die from smoking pot, the same cannot be said for alcohol, cigarettes, narcotics, prescription drugs, cocaine, meth amphetamines etc... (And before someone says that smoking pot increases the chance of getting lung cancer, the most recent studies show the opposite http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/new...to-lung-cancer.) In other words, all drugs are not equal, most teenagers know this and think that adults are naive, ill informed or both if they present "drugs" as a monolithic problem.

As a high school teacher and a parent, I can say that I have seen teenagers have the genetic addictive tendencies mentioned by elsie123 and have a very difficult time taking care of their responsibilities in school. These kids cannot smoke pot and lead normal lives effectively. They have a problem and need to stop; and this problem will exist regardless of their drug of choice. I have also seen teenagers smoke pot daily and have it not interfere one iota with their academic abilities and get into top schools like Brown and Harvard. I can't say the same thing about those drugs mentioned above as they cause greater problems even in the kids without the addictive personalities. Each kid is different, and predicting whether smoking pot will be a problem or not doesn't do any kid any good. Open communication is the key. If you have rules in your home, make them known. If you live in a state that criminalizes marijuana, there are legal risks that obviously need discussion. To the OP; once you determine exactly what your objection is, it will be easier to have the discussion.
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#12 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 07:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nancynance View Post
DH and I are wrestling over how to handle DS who we are pretty sure is smoking pot with his friends. He will be 18 in 2 months, and is planning on attending the local community college. Do we drug test him at home? I hate that idea. Do we tell him he has to stop or he has to leave home? I hate that idea too. Not really having any other problems with him, just don't know what's the wise thing to do.
I was a pot smoking teen. My parents let me take my own path, and figure life out for myself. I would just let your son be.

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#13 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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I would cut any financial support I was giving him the minute he turned 18. No way I would want my money supporting his drug habit. If you are offering him room and/or board, paying any part of his tuition, or in any other way financially subsidizing his life, he is answerable to your expectations of him. It sounds like YOUR expectation is that he not do illegal drugs. It doesn't really matter imo how harmless someone might think pot is - it is ILLEGAL.

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#14 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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I would cut any financial support I was giving him the minute he turned 18. No way I would want my money supporting his drug habit. If you are offering him room and/or board, paying any part of his tuition, or in any other way financially subsidizing his life, he is answerable to your expectations of him. It sounds like YOUR expectation is that he not do illegal drugs. It doesn't really matter imo how harmless someone might think pot is - it is ILLEGAL.
Just curious how that tactic would be successful in anyway? Seems like it would be more likely to cause harm than actually smoking pot.

No matter how illegal some people think pot is (which is not the case every where, even within the US) it's safer than cigarettes, or alcohol, or ending up homeless, money less and living on the streets.

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#15 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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Just curious how that tactic would be successful in anyway? Seems like it would be more likely to cause harm than actually smoking pot.

No matter how illegal some people think pot is (which is not the case every where, even within the US) it's safer than cigarettes, or alcohol, or ending up homeless, money less and living on the streets.
He'll be a grown man - that is his choice if he wants to let it harm him. He could choose to get a job rather than go to school, support himself and smoke all the pot he wants. But if he is using his parents money and they oppose the smoking of pot - it is rude and disrespectful to spend their resources on that. While medicinal pot is legal many places, I'm not aware of anywhere in which recreational pot is. I can't imagine the two of us are going to agree on this. I think it is extremely disrespectful for him to take money/resources from his parents and not follow their rules.

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#16 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 09:06 PM
 
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He'll be a grown man - that is his choice if he wants to let it harm him. He could choose to get a job rather than go to school, support himself and smoke all the pot he wants. But if he is using his parents money and they oppose the smoking of pot - it is rude and disrespectful to spend their resources on that. While medicinal pot is legal many places, I'm not aware of anywhere in which recreational pot is. I can't imagine the two of us are going to agree on this. I think it is extremely disrespectful for him to take money/resources from his parents and not follow their rules.
Off the top of my head... Pot is decriminalized in California, Alaska, New York. Here in Canada the legality of pot is in limbo. It's illegal, but chances of actually being charged at pretty small.

I still don't see how kicking an 18 year old out of the house is going to help. So maybe he gets a job an supports himself. More likely he can't find a job because he has no permanent residence or he gets a job that doesn't pay enough for him to support himself. Just because he is living at home, it doesn't mean he is being supported by his parents. An 18 year old ending up homeless and with far more issues than smoking a little weed with friends is a very real possibility when said 18 year old gets kicked out. If you can handle the guilt that would go along with knowing you ruined your child's life, fine. But justifying it by saying "it's disrespectful to do X" is making my stomach turn.

You're right, we probably won't agree on this. I think it's disgustingly disrespectful to kick an 18 year old out of the house just because you don't like what he does with his friends.

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#17 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 09:12 PM
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OP, what stuck out most to me in your post was the last part, that your son is fine otherwise, in your opinion, it's just the pot issue.

Sounds like you have raised a great kid who's stretching his wings as an adult. I'd keep doing whatever you have been doing and respect him as you would any other adult.

I agree about pointing out that you're aware of what he's doing and that your concern (as far as I can tell) is driving high, or being with others who are. But otherwise, let it go, as others (except artichokie) have said.

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#18 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 09:14 PM
 
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I think it's disgustingly disrespectful to kick an 18 year old out of the house just because you don't like what he does with his friends.
Amen, brother.
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#19 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 09:16 PM
 
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Off the top of my head... Pot is decriminalized in California, Alaska, New York. Here in Canada the legality of pot is in limbo. It's illegal, but chances of actually being charged at pretty small.

I still don't see how kicking an 18 year old out of the house is going to help. So maybe he gets a job an supports himself. More likely he can't find a job because he has no permanent residence or he gets a job that doesn't pay enough for him to support himself. Just because he is living at home, it doesn't mean he is being supported by his parents. An 18 year old ending up homeless and with far more issues than smoking a little weed with friends is a very real possibility when said 18 year old gets kicked out. If you can handle the guilt that would go along with knowing you ruined your child's life, fine. But justifying it by saying "it's disrespectful to do X" is making my stomach turn.

You're right, we probably won't agree on this. I think it's disgustingly disrespectful to kick an 18 year old out of the house just because you don't like what he does with his friends.
why would he choose pot over school and shelter? that is the only situation in which my suggestion would cause him financial issues. the OP implies she opposes the use of pot and it is her money (theoretically).

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#20 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 09:23 PM
 
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why would he choose pot over school and shelter? that is the only situation in which my suggestion would cause him financial issues. the OP implies she opposes the use of pot and it is her money (theoretically).
Why should he have to?

There are millions of successful, intelligent, capable people out there who occasionally smoke pot with friends. The OP also said they aren't having any other trouble with him. Why create a greater problem when no problem exists?

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#21 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 09:37 PM
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Off the top of my head... Pot is decriminalized in California, Alaska, New York.
Add Massachusetts and Maine. There are a handful of other states, as well.

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why would he choose pot over school and shelter? that is the only situation in which my suggestion would cause him financial issues. the OP implies she opposes the use of pot and it is her money (theoretically).
Well, everyone has their own reasons, and the OP didn't explicitly state that money has anything to do with her issue.

I don't know why a kid would think pot is more important than school or shelter. I also don't know why a parent would think pot is more important than school or shelter.

I think the OP needs to pop back in to this thread and give more info before any suggestions can be made.
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#22 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 09:45 PM
 
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why would he choose pot over school and shelter? that is the only situation in which my suggestion would cause him financial issues. the OP implies she opposes the use of pot and it is her money (theoretically).
It wouldn't necessarily be a matter of choosing pot over school and shelter. In this situation, my ex and I would have both probably allowed ourselves to be kicked out. In my ex's case, it would have been because he couldn't bear to live without the pot (I wish I'd fully realized that sooner than I did, too). In my case, it would have been because I'd have been so incredibly pissed off, and felt so completely disrespected, by the fact that the issue was being framed that way.

I don't really have enough info on the OP's situation to have a strong opinion, though. I don't even know why they believe he's smoking pot.

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#23 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 09:47 PM
 
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I don't know why a kid would think pot is more important than school or shelter.
Just my

I dont think the pot has anything to do with it in most cases where the parents give them that sort of choice. It has more to do with the teens need/desire to make their own choices. While an adult/parent can disagree with them, when there is no mutual respect taking place during the conversation but instead a bunch of "my way or the highway" type of talking TO instead of WITH than it often comes to the point where the teen feels that his opinions and views are not valued and that they would rather live out and about with friends or what ever rather than to live with someone that still sees them as a child.

We would be talking about a hard core addict, of most likely something a LOT more dangerous that pot, in order to make a teen honestly rather have the drug than school or a home. So no, in most cases it is not about the drug it is about respect, and respect done properly is a two way street.

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#24 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 09:51 PM
 
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If you have the type of relationship where you can talk about it, I would. You can preface the talk with the point that you are going to be understanding but that you feel strongly about it so you might need him to be patient with you as you feel it out.

I'd try talking amorally about the potential legal consequences, as well as the safety issues of driving under the influence. Another point concerning safety is where is he getting it from? Illegal substances don't often come from someone's home stash. More often than not they are can be traced back to a very large supply and unscrupulous group of people that, while your son may not have direct contact with, may have contact with his supplier. I used to go along with my friend in college when she'd pick up her pot. One day (luckily we were not there) her dealer was robbed and murdered for the drugs and the money along with the other people in the house.

What is most important is you want you son to understand that you love him, you want what is best for him, and that you are scared that this could harm him beyond the chemical affect it has on him. I do not believe forcing him to take drug tests will help nor kicking him out. I had friends whose parents took this route and the kids broke off their relationship with their parents felt utterly betrayed and took to drugs more so as a refuge. There were also a few friends that learned how to lie through their teeth to their parents about such things. I truly feel appealing to your son as a rational adult is best especially if he's doing fine otherwise. You love your son, make sure that that is the message he hears when you do bring the subject up.
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#25 of 107 Old 07-13-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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What is most important is you want you son to understand that you love him, you want what is best for him, and that you are scared that this could harm him beyond the chemical affect it has on him. I do not believe forcing him to take drug tests will help nor kicking him out. I had friends whose parents took this route and the kids broke off their relationship with their parents felt utterly betrayed and took to drugs more so as a refuge. There were also a few friends that learned how to lie through their teeth to their parents about such things. I truly feel appealing to your son as a rational adult is best especially if he's doing fine otherwise. You love your son, make sure that that is the message he hears when you do bring the subject up.

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#26 of 107 Old 07-15-2010, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your input - I haven't had access to a computer for a couple of days. Yeah - your responses were just what I imagined, some (actually most) saying let him figure it out for himself, others saying he absolutely SHOULDN'T be smoking pot while living with us if that's what we want.

I don't want him to live out on the streets (worst case scenario, which I could totally see happening if we draw a line in the sand). But I also worry about being an "enabler" and I worry about the message we're sending our teenage daughter if her brother gets to smoke pot with no negative consequences from us. Will that make her more likely to smoke pot as well? Also, what about the dangers of pot being a "gateway" drug?

I guess if it were just up to me, I'd say as long as he can handle his responsibilities, I'm not going to worry about what he does with his friends. But I know a lot of people may not agree with me, and I worry that they may be right. Bottom line, I don't want to drive my son away.
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#27 of 107 Old 07-15-2010, 10:47 PM
 
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The idea that pot is a gateway drug has been discredited for years. Honestly, I am always surprised when it comes up. Smoking pot does not lead someone to other, harder drugs. It just doesn't. Having friends that use harder drugs is what does that, seeking methods of self medication does that. In the grand scheme of things, smoking pot is less dangerous than some of the legal drugs out there that he will eventually, if not all ready, have access too.

As for you daughter. She will make her own choice, you could call the cops and have your son arrested and she still may choose to smoke pot simply because she is a different person than her brother. I have been smoking pot since high school with no negative consequences from my parents, my brother only did it once and never again.

If your instinct is to not worry about it unless it starts affecting his life, then follow that. No one else knows your son the way you do. None of us here know him, or have met him, strangers on the streets, friends you have don't know him and don't have the same instinct about what his smoking a little weed with friends means that you do.

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#28 of 107 Old 07-16-2010, 02:23 AM
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I don't believe that marijuana is a gateway drug....merely because I know tons of people who smoke pot, and only a couple who use other drugs.

I think the worry comes from its illegal status. If pot wasn't illegal, would you have all these fears and concerns? If your son was 21, living at home, and drinking beer....would you worry about your daughter drinking beer?

My boys have friends who smoke, and they do not. But if it ever came up, I would much rather have them smoking pot than drinking or smoking cigarettes. At least pot isn't full of poisons, and I don't know of anyone who got killed by a stoned driver.
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#29 of 107 Old 07-18-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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I agree that I would prefer dabbling in pot than alcohol any day, I dabble myself still. I wish it were legal. However, I think one thing that would be a benefit to your son is to research exactly what the legal consequences are in your area. In our area it's a minimum 10,000 experience to get charged with possession. That's including court costs etc. Discuss all the aspects of why it's illegal as well as why maybe it ought to be legal, but here are they ways to stay safe and they likely ways it could get you into trouble and what to do to avoid that. I have been getting myself prepared for this stuff, my kids are preteen.

The one thing that I do know is that it *does* seem to cause an anxiety backlash and depression, especially the more you use. I used to use daily and it took awhile to extricate myself from that and I really did see a difference. Now I choose carefully when I want to partake, because I know the next day I'm going to want to have a pajama day and be 'off' kind of like a hang over.


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#30 of 107 Old 07-18-2010, 07:32 PM
 
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I would also stress the "Don't smoke and drive" rule. Our adult neighbors smoke pot, but they never leave the block. Nobody ever drives after partying. Any kind of (grownup) partying. If they are hosting, the partiers either stay there, or live within walking distance.

I don't care what everybody else on MDC says, you can't smoke pot and be a safe driver.

But, beyond that, if he's getting decent grades, and is holding up his end of the responsibilities, I don't think there's anything else you can do.
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