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Colo. students attend first pot-focused education course

Colorado's governor is expected to review a bill that would require school campuses to allow non-smokable marijuana medicines
Colorado students get real-life lesson on marijuana 03:48

OAK CREEK, Colo. -- The students are seventh graders in the first pot-focused education course in Colorado, created by school counselor Molly Lotz and teacher Sarah Grippa, co-founders of the Marijuana Education Initiative.

Its message to the kids -- that pot can damage your still-developing brain -- is critical, Grippa said, and the students get that.

"You think they're old enough to say or even to care, like, what's happening to my brain?" CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen asked her.

"I think they are," Grippa said.

For over than 30 years, advertising campaigns and programs like DARE preached the dangers of marijuana and other drugs. But in Colorado, pot is now legal for recreational use by adults and can be prescribed by doctors as a medicine even for kids -- which leaves Colorado students surrounded by mixed messages.

"We still do have a couple parents here and there that... think it's a little too early to start having the conversation," Oak Ridge superintendent Darci Mohr said.

But Mohr said this is when kids are starting to experiment.

"So between fifth and sixth grade is when we're starting to see that kids are actually talking about it," Mohr said.

"You're really trying to be preemptive about this," Petersen said.

"Oh, absolutely. We always have to stay one step ahead of the kids. If you don't, then you've lost the battle," she said.

Pot education is supported right up to the top.

"You cannot teach kids at too early an age. We see hospital visits -- a lot of the edibles that we're having troubles with -- hospital visits are very young kids," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said.

Taxes on marijuana help pay for the course, and its focus is kept narrow.

"We're not imparting morality. We're just trying to provide fact-based, science- and research-backed information so that adolescents can try to navigate this very difficult and new environment," Grippa said.

High times can mean confusing new times for young people, and these teachers hope knowledge will be a kid's best defense.

Gov. Hickenlooper is expected to review a bill this week that would let some students use medical marijuana products in schools. The measure would require campuses to allow non-smokable marijuana medicines like oils and pills, but only if the drug is provided by a parent, guardian or medical professional.

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