Sanford Founder Rae Green & WZZM13: Talking to Teens About Marihuana



Michigan is the 10th state to legalize recreational marihauna for adults over the age of 21. And yes, Michigan spells it “marihauna” – harkening back to the Marihauna Tax Act of 1937 for its chosen spelling. But an English lesson is not what our children need on the subject of marihauna, no matter how you spell it. What our children and teens need, according to Sanford House founder Rae Green, is “ongoing, open and honest dialog”.


Rae sat down with journalist Nina Desarro of  WZZM13 to talk about the subject of marihauna and teen substance use: Click the photo below for the video and article by Nina Desarro:


Sanford Founder Rae Green in the carriage house – Sanford House at Cherry Street for Women…

Key Points from Rae Green on How to Talk to Your Kids About Cannabis

1. Marihuana is not legal until 21

Even though the legal age for pot is 21, the average age of first use of all addictive substances in (local) Kent County is 13. This is consistent with national averages. And legal marihuana is the newest shiny object.


2. The young brain

The part of the brain that controls reason and impulse (the prefrontal cortex) does not fully mature until the age of 25. So, during the teenage years a person is especially susceptible to the negative effects of any drug. Risky behavior; poor planning and judgement; and a preference for high-excitement is already present in teens. Adding pot to the mix is dangerous.

3. But It’s LEGAL and it’s safer than alcohol

There are a number of substances that are legal but potentially dangerous. Tobacco, vaping and alcohol to name a few… And, marihuana can affect decision making skills, balance, inhibitions etc. Let’s not forget that marihauna is a psychoactive drug and the jury is still out on the negative consequences of its use.


Calling cannabis a “gateway drug” diminishes its danger. Marihuana is a mind altering, addictive, psychoactive drug. It substantially impacts the neural pathways of the brain and the reward/reinforcement center.   Rae Green, JD, CAADC, LPC


4. Age of first use has an impact on substance use disorders

9 out of 10 people who struggle with substance misuse started using before the age of 21.

5. The danger of combining Adderall and Marihuana

Does your child take Adderall? There are always risks when combining substances and the effects of this combination are important to note. Adderall increases the marihuana high. This can cause users to increase their doses. And as the tolerance to the drug increases, so does the dosage to feel the effects. This can cause increased risk of drowsiness, a weakened immune system and even a heart attack or stroke. It can also lead directly to an Adderall addiction or a fatal overdose.


Education for everyone…

Rae’s advice is to keep the dialog ongoing and the lines of communications open. She says, “In a year from now, people are going to be purchasing and using marijuana as they do alcohol. We don’t want this to be a secret or a desire to try something hidden. We need to educate everyone, not just children, on the dangers of legal, ‘normal use’ of marihuana.”



Sanford Behavioral Health is licensed and accredited as an addiction, eating disorder, and co-occurring mental health treatment facility, serving all of Michigan and beyond. Each of Sanford’s facilities in Greater Grand Rapids is carefully and diligently crafted to create a welcoming and comforting environment. Sanford is led by a psychiatrist-led team of medical, clinical, and support personnel providing medication-assisted, evidenced-based treatment to residential, outpatient, and telehealth patients. For more information, visit