Category: Growing Up

Can I Go To Jail for Smoking Weed?

Every year, more states are voting to legalize Marijuana for either medical or recreational use. Canada legalized medical marijuana in 2001, and Trudeau has recently championed a bill to legalize recreational use. Seemingly everywhere in the Western world, it is becoming easier and easier to find places where one can purchase and consume cannabis legally.

That said, it is important to understand that existing laws are very strict, even in states where possession and use have been decriminalized. Laws vary from state to state (as well as in Canada), and there are some non-legal risks to consider as well. Do your homework before making a decision about whether to try marijuana. Here are a few things to consider.

Photo credit Vaping360.com (Vaping360)

Local Laws

It is important to know the law in any jurisdiction where you intend to smoke weed. In states where possession is still a criminal offense, a complaint by an individual that leads police to you can, and often will, result in criminal charges and possible jail time.

If it is your first offense or you are in possession of only a small amount of cannabis, a judge may only sentence you to time served. Some states, however, have mandatory minimum sentences for even nonviolent drug offenses that can put you away for months or even years. The best policy is to not light up at all anyplace where it is still considered a crime.

Possession

In many cases, evidence of smoking weed (being high or testing positive for THC) is not enough to land you in jail. If you happen to be high and run into a cop who detains you because he smells it, there is little that can be done to make charges stick if you aren’t carrying. That means, in most cases, you really don’t have to worry about just walking home from a friend’s house after a smoke session. If it’s out of sight and not on your person, jail is highly unlikely.

Being High In Public

If you are out and about creating a public nuisance as a result of being high, you can be arrested for public intoxication and spend at least a night in jail, just like you would if you were drunk in public. Since that’s not standard behavior for most stoners, it’s likely not something you would really need to worry about either.

Other Considerations

While it’s true that the health risks of cannabis use have been tremendously overstated in the past, it’s not true that the risks are negligible. It’s still a psychoactive drug, and heavy consumption can seriously affect users’ neurochemistry – particularly if those users are teenagers whose brains are still developing. The National Institutes of Health reports that marijuana abuse is associated with some level of physical and psychological dependency, contrary to popular belief. This is why legal consumption age has usually been set at 21, as the risk of developing dependencies goes down significantly after brain structures crystalize. Long-term effects can also include memory dysfunction and a decline in visuomotor skills. And similar to other intoxicants, chronic use can contribute to risk of mental illness later in life.

On the other hand, there is some evidence to suggest that mild cannabis use can help fight Glaucoma, reduce the incident of epileptic seizures, and has well-established benefits as a pain reliever. For most patients, cannabinoid pain relievers have a lower incidence of dependency than the opioids that currently saturate the market. And while smoking weed can irritate the lungs and exacerbate conditions like bronchitis and asthma, those effects are mild compared to those of – say – cigarettes.

In short, smoking weed does come with a degree of risk, particularly if you are underage or in a location where it is considered a criminal offense. And just because it’s legal doesn’t mean you should stock up and light up. MARIJUANA ABUSE CAN BE EXTREMELY HARMFUL! If, however, you know the laws in the jurisdiction where you live (or smoke), and play by all applicable rules when it comes to possession and use, possible incarceration for smoking weed is not likely to be a huge concern for you. But, there is so much more you can be doing with your time…so why get stoned in the first place?

References

Canada.ca

Governing.com

Harvard Health Publications

Mo Weed

National Institute of Health

NORML

What are “Not A Drop” Laws and Why Should Teens Care?

You probably know that drunk driving is illegal and has very serious consequences, including fines, license suspension and even jail time. What many teens may not know is that drunk driving laws and penalties are different for those under the age of 21. These are commonly called “Not a Drop” laws, and they are important to understand.

How Not a Drop is Different

Regular drunk driving laws would allow the average adult to consume some alcohol before being considered legally intoxicated. This level is usually set at .08 percent blood alcohol, typically measured by breathalyzer and less frequently by an actual blood test. So long as an adult has not drunk enough to raise their blood alcohol beyond that point, then they are considered safe to drive.

Under Not a Drop laws, any level of intoxication is considered illegal. This means that a person under 21 cannot consume any amount of alcohol or have any amount of detectable blood alcohol.

Legal Penalty for Violation

 

A teen found in violation of Not a Drop may face several consequences. If they are a first-time offender, then their license will be suspended for 30 days and the will have to pay $20 to get it reinstated. If they are caught a second time, then their license will be suspended for 180 days and they will have to pay another $20 reinstatement fee. Further violations will probably result in the revocation of the license for a prolonged period of time and a much more complicated procedure for getting it back. The exact consequences for violation may vary by state or jurisdiction.

Other Consequences

Beyond the law, the consequences for driving intoxicated are real and serious. Accidents involving drunk drivers kill about 28 people every day according to attorney Dave Abels. A young person is likely to be more sensitive to the effects of alcohol and may be impaired at much lower levels of blood alcohol concentration compared to an adult.

It is also important to note that teen drivers are subject to regular DUI laws in addition to the Not a Drop rules. If a teen driver is found with a blood alcohol concentration over .08 percent, they will face serious consequences similar to and perhaps greater than those faced by an adult. This could include arrest, jail time and loss of a driver’s license for years and the requirement to attend drug and alcohol counseling before the license is restored.

Drunk driving is a serious offense for anyone, but it is especially serious for teens. In areas that have zero-tolerance Not a Drop Laws, it is important that underage drivers never consume any alcohol. The consequences to your future, health and ability to drive are never worth it.

How Teen Drivers Affect Your Insurance Rates

You want to be a good parent and do everything right by your child, and while all parents strive to do just that, it can sometimes feel impossible. One thing a lot of parents want to do for their children is add them to their car insurance policy once they become a driver. Nothing wrong with that except that this can cause those premiums to nearly double in a lot of cases. But how do you know if your rates will really be affected? Here is what to keep in mind when making changes to your policy.

Why Teens?

Teen drivers are among the most dangerous on the road. They are inexperienced and are still learning how to grow up in general. It is hard for insurance companies to justify covering them at all if they do not charge very high rates. This is why even parents with excellent driving records can see a big increase in their premiums by adding a teenager to their policy.

What is it Based On?

The rates you can expect to see your premiums increase by vary based on the part of the country you live in, but according to NBC News the average across the states is about 80%.

The younger the driver that one adds to their policy, the more they can expect to have to pay on their premiums. Sixteen-year-old drivers add around 90% on average to premiums paid. Nineteen-year-olds by contrast add about 60% to the policy premiums. That is still a big increase, but below the average for all teen drivers. The insurance companies see the data and understand that the older the driver is, the less likely they are to have an accident on the road.

Other Increases

In the event that something terrible does happen out on the road involving a teen driver, you might want to get an attorney right away. Insurance rates will be the last thing you are worried about if your teenager is involved in an auto accident but they can help with the damage that might be done to your policy afterward in some cases.

It is difficult to express how important it is to have all drivers on the road insured. It is against the law to not be insured when you are driving, so you should consider this when looking at those such higher premiums. If you are able to convince your teenager to hold off for a while on driving then you will come out better money-wise.

How to Deal With High School Bullies

Dealing with high school bullies can be a big issue for teens and there are ways it can be dealt with effectively with positive results, which can put an end to bullying whether the confrontations are physical, verbal, social or internet related.

High school students who become the targets of bullies need to be equipped with the best possible strategies to stop bullying in its tracks. There are essentials in handling bullying, which include:

Basic Actions

If bullying is continuous and a teenager is dealing with it in a number of areas, including social media, school authorities and parents need to be notified immediately. In addition, records and documentation of bullying occurrences need to be maintained. Both these basic actions should be of help in constraining bullying.

Physical Confrontations

Physical bullying is obviously dangerous and teens need to have ways to deal with it without getting physically involved themselves. If a teenager is being tripped, hit, shoved, punched, kicked or worse, he or she needs to do everything possible to make it difficult for the bully to make direct bodily contact. Separating or extricating oneself from a confrontation is the best way to deal with physical bullying. The behavior must be immediately reported to a school administrator or security official. No one wants to be accused of assault, and a bully can turn the tables on their target and accuse that person of the same actions, so documentation of what actually occurred needs to be reported and recorded.

Verbal Confrontations

Verbal bullying usually involves comments that are degrading, shaming, isolating and hurtful. Bullying remarks can be challenged with assertive replies by the teen being harassed and through complaints to school authorities and parents. If a teenager is reluctant to report this kind of bullying to a teacher or principal in charge of discipline, he or she should speak with a parent, and the parent should contact the school for further action.

Social Confrontations

Social bullying usually involves teen relationships and the harm that can be inflicted through spreading rumors, destroying reputations, lying, excluding others and turning a person’s friends against them. This kind of bullying can be curtailed when instances of it are brought out in the open and the truth is exposed. Intervention can come through a school counselors, parents or the teens themselves. With open communication and set intervention guidelines, those doing the bullying lose their influence and power.

Cyber-Bullying

Cyber-bullying through social media sites usually involves taunting or threatening a teen through e-mails, messaging or chats. The best way to avoid this type of bullying is to make online teen accounts private so others are unable to view a profile or postings to a profile. If bullying does occur, a teenager can print off a chat log or e-mail that indicates the interactions and submit it to a parent or school official. Schools are more likely to handle these issues even if the bullying occurred outside of the school grounds, particularly if it involves students enrolled in the high school.

Bullying is a concern at almost every school level, and it can be dealt with in a number of ways. High schools and other schools with zero tolerance bullying policies can immediately curtail bullying, and if there happens to be no discipline procedures for bullying, administrators, counselors, teachers and parents can establish intervention strategies on behalf of students. Students themselves should not have to be afraid to report bullying without recrimination. Bullying can be prevented with the right strategies and willingness of students to expose it.

Social Media Pitfalls and Problems They Create

In today’s world, social media is a way of life. Whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, or another platform, social media can be used for many wonderful things. Keeping in touch with family and friends, spreading the word about lost pets, or talking with others about life’s struggles all make social media an integral part of our lives. However, it can also have numerous pitfalls, causing problems along the way. To learn how to avoid falling into a social media trap, here are some common pitfalls and the problems that come with them.

Photos Containing Alcohol or Drugs

If you want to get in trouble at work, church, or with any other group where a positive image is a must, post a picture of yourself drinking alcohol or taking drugs. This is especially true with teenagers as these pictures can sometimes paint a picture of irresponsibility and recklessness, and even lead to you losing a job, scholarship, access to your parents’ car and have negative consequences at school or any leadership position.

Sexual Conversation or Photos

Needless to say, sexually explicit photos or conversations can also present numerous problems. If these are found posted to your site, teachers, administrators, and coaches will assume you have very poor judgement, and in all likelihood suspend you, bench you or even turn you over to the police. Be careful what you post as once it goes viral, you will never be able to get it back..

Revealing a Secret

If you think you can reveal a secret on social media and have few people know about it, think again. For example, if you’ve got a criminal record you’d like to keep hidden, or got fired from a previous job, posting that on social media will essentially let the whole world in on your secret. If you’ve got an employer preparing to do a background check on you, chances are you’ll be looking elsewhere for a job.

Posting During Work or School

In many schools and workplaces, policies are in place prohibiting posting to social media during class or while on the job. In one instance, a city clerk in California lost her job when she was caught posting while she was taking minutes from a meeting, so take these policies seriously.

Putting Yourself at Risk

Whether it’s your high school buddy or some adult you think you know, make sure you know exactly who you’re talking to on social media. If you meet someone online and want to meet face-to-face, let others know when and where you’ll be, and also be careful not to reveal important information like your address or phone number.

By recognizing these pitfalls and the problems they can create, you’ll find yourself not only safer, but also being able to do well in school, hold a job and network with others in a healthy manner.

 

What to Practice to Ace Your Driving Test

Learning how to drive is a milestone in most teenager’s lives. You may also be an adult looking to improve your skills and secure that first license too. To gain any license, you must practice driving on a regular basis. Get to know the skills you’ll need to practice in order to ace that driving test.

Pay Attention to Speed Limits

Speed-limit signs dot the roadway in various locations. You must always be aware of the posted limit so you can drive at a safe speed. Be aware that some signs are difficult to see or might be missing altogether. It’s your job to know if you’re driving in a residential, school, or industrial area. These areas have specific limits that are consistent in any city. With this speed-limit knowledge in mind, you’ll be able to pass your driving test even if the signs are difficult to see.


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Parallel-Parking Skills

The traditional parallel parking test is still part of the industry. You may not perform this maneuver on a daily basis, but it helps to have mastered the technique when you do need to slide between cars. Practice this skill with cones or other tall obstacles in an open, parking lot. Pull up to the cones as if they were the bumpers of two cars and maneuver the car into the space. Perform this activity numerous times until you can complete it without much thought.

Here is a video with some tips:

Merging with Style

Merging into traffic with every vehicle moving at a slightly different speed is a skill that must be practiced several times. It’s possible to avoid most accidents when you know which cars are close or far away. Many people have accidents because they simply forget to check their blind spots. Turn your head to see the cars around you because relying on your mirrors only gives you part of the story.

Stopping

Many people fail driving tests because they do not stop properly. Practice smooth braking, and make sure you come to a complete stop at all stop signs and red lights, even if you are making a right turn on red. you MUST come to a complete stop or you will fail! Stop with enough distance form the cars in front of you, or else you might be thought of as a tailgater — and FAIL.

Freeway Entrances and Exits

According to car accident attorneys, another accident-prone area involves freeway transitions. Learn to accelerate to the proper speed as you enter the freeway. Ideally, you should slide easily into traffic without causing other drivers to slow down or speed up. Practice freeway exits as well. You’ll need to slow down at a constant rate in order to stop neatly at the end of the pathway.

Most states require you to practice driving in both day and nighttime scenarios. Driving tests, however, don’t normally have a nighttime exam. Don’t overlook the nighttime skills because they’re just as important as daytime knowledge. Safe driving in any situation should be your goal.

Now go ace your driving test!

5 Things You Should Do Immediately Following a Car Accident

Being in a car accident generally brings with it a great deal of chaos and confusion, which can make it difficult to think clearly. Here is a checklist of five things you want to immediately do following an accident. Sometimes you may do these things in order, sometimes not, but they are all important following an accident. You may want to print it out and keep it in your car along with your insurance information.

Make Sure No One is Injured

Because your adrenaline may be high, it may mask any pain you might feel that would generally let you know you’ve been injured. Do a quick but thorough full-body check to inspect for any places that might be painful to the touch and have anyone else in your car do the same. Also check to make sure no one in the other car was injured or any pedestrians. If anyone seems to be injured in any way, call emergency responders immediately.


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Move Vehicles Someplace Safe

Whenever possible, you want to get your vehicle out of the flow of traffic and turn on your hazard lights. Single vehicle accidents have a way of becoming multi-car pileups when accidents impede traffic. Be sure to help others involved get to a safe spot if you can.

Determine Whether to Call the Police

In most states, it is up to you whether to call the police after an accident. You will want to file a police report within 24 hours, but whether you call them to the scene or not depends on whether anyone is injured, the severity of the accident, whether you are impeding traffic, and the demeanor or condition of the other driver. If you suspect the other driver is impaired in any way, you might want to call the police to confirm.

Exchange Insurance Information and Take Pictures

Do be sure and give the other party your insurance information and get theirs, but do not give them any personal information like your home address or cell phone number. That’s what insurance companies are for. Also take pictures of any and all damage to both vehicles. That way, if they incur damage later or had previous damage to another part of their car, they can’t claim it was part of this accident.


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Consider Calling an Attorney

If anyone has been injured, if you suspect the other driver is impaired in any way, or if you are at-fault for the accident, you may want to call a car accident attorney immediately. You may not end up needing an attorney in the end, but like the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

It is often hard to think clearly after you’ve been in an accident. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly prepare yourself ahead of time for what to do if you are. Keep this checklist on hand to refer to in case of an accident.

Tips For Making Better Choices Throughout High School

Adolescence is a challenging and confusing time of life that often leads to bad decision making. Many factors contribute to this including peer pressure, the need to achieve good grades and added responsibilities. Use these tips to help make better choices as you journey through your high school career in order to achieve greater success in higher education, as well as in adulthood.

Be Careful With Social Media Posts

Think twice before posting on any social media portals, especially if these posts contain pictures related to alcohol, drugs, sex, guns or contain vulgar language. This can affect your ability to be gainfully employed in the future. In fact, statistics reveal that over 90% of recruitment agencies investigate social media posts before placing prospective candidates.

Your future employer is not interested in your privacy or whether you were just having some fun. They will make use of the public nature of the internet to help determine whether you are of the character and dignity of a person they would like their business associated with. It is best to avoid any posts that may be considered to be embarrassing by a future employer.

Also keep in mind that social media posts have a way of going viral, even if you aren’t the one who created the original post or shared it. There are dozens of stories on the internet about individuals who lost their jobs and are now finding it difficult to be employed due to dodgy social media posts that were submitted years ago. So it’s best to behave in a manner that doesn’t attract posting from peers.

social-media

Your Grades Matter

The pressure from parents, teachers and even peers is greater than ever to achieve good grades. This pressure, no matter how challenging to deal with, is however justified. Your grades can influence your ability to get into a good college, receive a scholarship and could affect your future employment.

The need for self-expression and finding individuality has led to the general belief that your grades don’t define you. While this may be true to a certain extent, your grades are still important, relative to how they may impact your future.

Even if you feel that the grading system is outdated and flawed, the numbers still matter at the end of the day. Especially to prospective colleges and employers who tend to be old-fashioned in their approach for selecting candidates.

Work hard at achieving the best grades you are able and maintaining these grades. You don’t always have to be a straight-A student, but must always show an effort at doing your best.

However, it is important to recognize other factors that could affect your future and not let the need to achieve affect these or your overall quality of life. The pressure and stress of being the top of your class should never affect your ability to enjoy the full high school experience.

schoolwork

You Can Say No

We are all taught from a young age to be amiable and agreeable which is a good skill to develop. However, you should never feel obligated or pressured into saying “yes,” whether this pressure is being applied by parents, teachers, peers or any other person. Saying “yes” when you should have said “no” is the greatest factor that influences bad choices.

Legislation and your parents provide you with laws and rules to follow that should dictate what is acceptable and suitable for you to do at your specific age. But at the end of the day, it is up to you to make the decisions that will affect your future when no one is watching. Always keep in mind these laws and rules, most were created to protect you. Never be afraid to say “no” if you feel that entering into a certain activity is wrong.

pils

Protect Your Identity

Identity theft is a part of modern life that people of all ages need to learn protect themselves against. Teenagers and young adults often think that they are not targets for this type of crime. Having your personal information available to criminals may result in criminal activity that may be associated with you.

In fact, teens make great targets for identity theft due to the time they spend on unsecured networks and their tendency to leave electronic devices accessible to others and unprotected.

Just a few basic security measures can prevent this from happening to you.

  • Keep your electronic devices on your person or locked away at all times.
  • Make sure that all your devices, computers and laptops are password protected. Choose a complicated password and never share it with anyone.
  • Log out of your personal accounts, including email after use.
  • Never leave documents containing account information or your social security number where others may have access.
  • Pay attention to any activity on your accounts that you did not perform.

identity

Learning to make good decisions in high school will set you up to make even better decisions as you move into adulthood. Never underestimate the impact that one small mistake or bad decision can have on your future. If in doubt, sleep on a decision or find a mentor or person whose advice you trust and talk to them before making a choice. School is a place of learning and you should take this time to educate yourself in all aspects of life, including how to make better choices.


Beatrice Quany is the Marketing Director for ILoveCopperJewelry.com, a website displaying unique creations by award winning designer John S. Brana. Visit the site to view their stylish collection of beautiful copper jewelry.

Dear High School Self

windo

Dear High School Self,

Hello my friend. I see you will be graduating in the spring. You’ve had trials, drama and success the last few years. I know you still aren’t quite sure where you fit or what part you will play in life. Be patient, it will reveal itself along the way. It has been and will be worth all the effort you have and are making. Sometimes we race through the finish line with fanfare and cheers. Other times we seem to barely survive and crawl across. ‘HOW’ you finish matters a lot less than ‘THAT YOU FINISH’. Keep giving it all you’ve got and you’ll get somewhere worth being.

I know you have often wondered if you have what it takes to become something more than you are right now, or if there is even anything ‘more’ out there. Trust me, you can do it. I know now that you will never be alone, especially on those long dark roads you have and will be required to travel.

Treasure the remaining few months of High School. Don’t allow what you don’t have to rob you of what you do have. Attitude and what you choose to dwell on make a difference. Don’t allow the ‘can’t do, so don’t try’ people to control your life. There are great things out there for you to accomplish and wonderful people to meet. Keep yourself in the game so you can be on the field when the really interesting stuff happens.

race

You think you’ve done some cool stuff. You will always remember your experiences in football, swimming and music fondly. Having such passion and endeavors has kept you on your feet. I know you are planning to swim in college. You will have a great experience. It may not last long but will help set a pattern you will follow all your life. Never hesitate to go for your dreams or try to accomplish really hard things. Strength and learning are more often found in the path and the effort rather than in the end result.

Hold on and continue to develop that growing faith in the divine. It will become a solid foundation during some of the storms that lay ahead. Yet it will also allow the sun to shine all the brighter each day. He is there for you too.

water

My young friend, I stand at the other end of the path looking back over 43 years with a measure of envy. I am happy that you have so much in front of you. Life is a wonderful adventure and will take you amazing places. I see clearly the events that separate us and with some insight can say that who I have become is due to all the experiences combined. We don’t get to skip over the rough spots and shouldn’t want to. For it is all the good and the bad, the success and the failure, the joy and the sorrow, things lost and things found that blend together to give our lives depth, color and meaning. I see more clearly the meaning of your life and it has been worth it. All these experiences make it possible for us to become the wonderful and interesting people that God intended. One day you will see, to live…truly live, love and aspire to be something more…is glorious.

What more can I say? Thank you for making me who I am. As a result of all that has happened, I have found joy and meaning, you will too. I believe in you.

Your Friend,
Clark


The above was written by award winning YA author, Clark Burbidge, about what he wishes he could have told his teenage self. He is the writer of the fiction trilogies, “Giants in the Land” and “Star Passage”.

ClarkBurbidge

Fight Back Against Bullies with Krav Maga Expert Jarrett Arthur

Are we teaching teens and kids to become a nation of victims that cannot stand up for themselves? That’s one question we posed to Krav Maga instructor Jarrett Arthur, creator of the M.A.M.A. self defense system.

Arthur provides some practical communication tips for dealing with bullies, and also covers some awesome self-defense techniques to use when things go wrong and bullies physically attack. For more info go to http://jarrettarthur.com