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Kids and marijuana

A lot of parents are trying to figure out what's best for their kids when it comes to dealing with a world in which marijuana is legal.

STATEWIDE (WGME) -- A lot of parents are trying to figure out what's best for their kids when it comes to dealing with a world in which marijuana is legal.

Local health experts confirm what many parents already know, or at least fear, that if kids and teens want to get their hands on pot now- it's not that hard.

So for parents, health and substance use experts say the best thing to do is what you should be doing now, talk to your kids about your concerns and expectations around alcohol and drugs, including marijuana.

“Having an open dialogue, asking them open-ended questions about their day, getting to know the parents of their friends, and really doing those things and being consistent about it. And then doing other things, like locking up medication at home, keeping alcoholic beverages separate from non-alcoholic beverages at family events, showing really responsible behavior and encouraging your kids to follow in those footsteps in the future,” Bridget Rauscher, Portland Substance Use Prevention coordinator, said.

Rauscher says research shows that our kids do respond to knowing their parents are actively involved and aware of what they're doing and they you disapprove of substance use at an early age.

One concern about legal marijuana is kids getting their hands on it.

Some marijuana edibles can look like candy or baked goods and in Colorado where marijuana is legal, they have seen cases of kids accidentally ingesting it.

According to a study from JAMA Pediatrics, 87 kids 9 and younger were called in to the state's regional poison control center through 2014 and 2015.

There were 76 total cases in the four years preceding legalization.

Doctors in Colorado say they're also seeing an increase in babie* born with THC in their system.

In a 60 Minutes report, pediatrician Dr. Steven Simerville says they had 27 newborns who tested positive for THC in the first 9 months of this year, that's on track to be about 15 percent higher than last year.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, pregnant woman who use marijuana are 2.3 times more likely to have a still birth.

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