Relaxation, travel, sleep, and free time — these are words come to mind when thinking of spring break while you’re a college student. No matter how you choose to spend your break, there are some risks to remember during this joyous time.
We have heard the stories of consuming too much alcohol and the decisions and behaviors that follow suit. We haven’t heard the association between spring break and marijuana use as often. With more and more states legalizing recreational use, there has been a decline in the perception of harm. In fact, the University of Michigan found that less than 20% of high school seniors perceived risk of harm regarding marijuana use (2013). Some risks to be aware of, whether you are spring breaking in a legalized state or not, are behavioral, legality, and safety.
Some typical behaviors associated with marijuana use are distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, and difficulty in thinking and problem solving. These behaviors could be a contributing factor in avoidable accidents such as automobile or personal injury.
Knowing your federal, state, and local marijuana and traveling laws are important to avoid legal trouble. Marijuana use is still illegal on a federal level. This means that you can receive federal charges for transporting marijuana across state lines, smoking marijuana in public or on federal land. State laws and local community laws vary so it is important that you are aware of both when traveling. Diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under their state law to other states could put you at risk for arrest and punishment also.
Much like binge drinking, binge smoking happens when someone who doesn’t smoke marijuana on a normal basis decides to smoke heavily for a period of time. Binge marijuana use paired with a party atmosphere and other substances, such as alcohol, can contribute to unsafe situations. To avoid these situations, you should stay in groups and keep track of your friends. Also using small doses of any legal substance instead of binging could lower the risk of being caught in an unsafe situation.
It is important to have breaks and enjoy yourself. Knowing possible behaviors, laws, and safety precautions is equally important during your spring break. Be safe. Be smart. Have fun!