Now that Washington State's first pot shops have opened their doors, parents are scrambling to talk to their kids about marijuana. In my house, these repeated conversations with my teen are generally greeted with an eye roll and I know this already mom! I keep talking about it anyway and you should too.

According to the latest Washington Healthy Youth Survey, 27 percent of 12th graders admitted to smoking weed. The impact to their developing brains is greater for kids under 16. Pot use can lead to problems with memory, attention, and the ability to think clearly. It also increases the chances that a kid will drop out of school.

With legalization in Washington State, doctors are more concerned than ever about underage use, telling parents to use a clear and consistent message when talking to kids. Just like parents should be doing with alcohol. This is not safe for you at this stage in your life. It can possibly cause permanent damage to you as an adolescent with a developing brain. I do not want you to use marijuana at this time, said Dr. Leslie Walker, the Director of Seattle Children s Hospital Adolescent Substance Abuse Program. We even know from the research you can lose up to seven I.Q. points permanently if you begin to use as a young person and continue.

If you d like more ideas on talking to your kids, and some statistics to back it up, Dr. Walker co-authored The Parent s Guide to Preventing Underage Marijuana Use.

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