Town Square

Your kids are smoking marijuana near my house

Original post made by Jim on Jul 31, 2007

Last night, I saw some of your kids (about 16 or 17 years old) in an alley behind a nearby elementary school huffing, puffing and coughing as they smoked some pot. They drove up in some pretty nice cars - at least one was a Lexus with xenon lights, got out, ducked into the ally, puffed away for about 10 minutes, then drove off.

I would imagine this isn't an isolated occurance. It probably happens every night around the city. If I told you this was your kids, would you be surprised? How would you react?


Posted by Ed, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 31, 2007 at 12:02 pm

If they are driving after smoking pot...its the same as a DUI. Call the police.

Posted by by the number, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 1, 2007 at 4:44 am

What was the license plate number ?

Posted by Jim, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 1, 2007 at 9:17 am

I only got the first part of it, unfortunately. Just out of curiousity, why do you want to know?

Posted by who cares, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 1, 2007 at 11:28 am

Get a life and relax a little bit and let kids enjoy the freedoms they have. Ill bet that if you asked the parents of Palo Alto if they smoked weed when they were kids the majority would be yes. Dont call the police and ruin these kids fun. And about driving there have been studies that show that experiences users do not have problems driving a car. If you see this happening again at most I would suggest yelling at them from your door and they will scatter.

Posted by Palo alto mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 1, 2007 at 11:36 am

Based on what our school janitor cleans up (and its disgusting)- aside from the fact that smoking pot is illegal - I wouldn't want the kids hanging around an elementary school. What happens to the remains of the joint? What if they are drinking too...I'd call the police next time.

Posted by who cares, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 1, 2007 at 12:37 pm

dont be such a square.

Posted by Carolyn, a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2007 at 1:49 pm

The remains of the joint are saved.

Posted by just a mom, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2007 at 10:52 am

We called the police when a big group of kids were hanging out and drinking beer late one night at the construction site opposite our house. The police came a few minutes later and cited them all and made their parents individually come and pick them up. Here's the part that shocked me: as the kids were going through their names/addresses/birthdates with the police, I realized that they were mostly 12 and 13 year olds.

Posted by Jim, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2007 at 11:32 am

Yikes! I didn't call the police because I was afraid I would look like an idiot if I called and they came, and they kids were already gone. Do you think those parents were surprised to get that call from the police?

Posted by Andrew, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 2, 2007 at 12:35 pm


Why would you call the police? Do you honestly believe what they were doing was wrong? If so, tell me why.

Posted by Palo alto mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Andrew - whether you think it was right or wrong, smoking pot is illegal. Obviously the kids knew it was wrong or they would be doing it at home - not hiding at a school.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2007 at 1:31 pm

I honestly don't think my kids were among them, I do try to keep up with what they are doing, who they are with and where. I check in with their friends parents too. But, if they were my kids, I would like the police to be called so that we can know what the situation is. I would rather be called myself first, but in a situation where the kids are only 12 and 13, and where the law is being broken, I think that getting a big scare just might help them from not doing it again. If you know the parents, Jim or whoever, call them first. But if not, then the police call makes sense to me.

Parents, we must help each other out. I don't let my kids just hang out in the evenings. I make sure that if they are with friends at their homes, then that is where they are and that an adult is there too. I call them to tell them when it is time to come home, or they must let me know they are leaving, and if they are not home at the right length of time, I would be out there looking for why.

If I think that friends' parents are not keeping a watchful eye, then they are not allowed to be there. The friend could come here, but not my kids there. They know this and the reasons are pointed out fair and square.

I haven't had problems, but I think my kids know that I am being careful. It is not a lack of trust thing, much more, a helpful way of getting them out of a situation where they haven't enough confidence to say no themselves. I think they appreciate it.

Posted by Norm, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2007 at 5:09 pm

If they were unhoused/homeless adults, would it be overlooked as easily?

Posted by Andrew, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 2, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Palo alto mom, a resident of the Crescent Park:

Smoking pot may be illegal, but that does not make it wrong. The kids knew it was not something their parents want to see them doing, yes, but are you going to sit here and tell me you don't remember doing the very same thing? What's the big deal?

My point is, why on earth would you think involving the police and the criminal justice system would serve any purpose for these kids. Is what they did wrong enough to actually put them into the criminal justice system?

Parents should not attempt to get kids arrested and/or fined unless they believe those kids deserve the arrest/fine.

And I am asking you whether you honestly believe what those kids did was so wrong, that they deserve an arrest and or fine?

Posted by Norm, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 2, 2007 at 5:17 pm

Let alone if they were, god forbid, you know.. the kind that come from the East side of the freeway...

The criminal justice system has been ruining the lives of people for decades, but it just so happens that most people arrested for pot are not white. Of course, most people who smoke pot, are in fact white.

The problem is not that too many white kids "get away with it".

The problem is that the law is unjust and putting ANYONE into the brutal system of criminal justice for the non-violent, non-harming crime of smoking some pot is simply wrong and a bad thing for society that breeds a criminal sub-culture that need not exist.

Pot smokers are not criminals: they are your kids, and your friends. Do you want them to face the law? if so, why?

Posted by Andrew, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 2, 2007 at 5:19 pm

Woops: sorry I meant that last post attributed to "Norm" from 2 minutes ago to actually be attributed to me "Andrew" and rather ADDRESSED to Norm.

Norm: sorry about that.

Norm did not say the previous comment that begins
"Let alone if they were, god forbid, you know.. the kind that come from the East side of the freeway..."

It was me who said that.

(new to this comment system)

Posted by Jim, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2007 at 5:36 pm

I started this thread to get a feel for parents attitudes about their kids smoking marijuana. My major concern is that I don't want this particular schoolyard to get a reputation among local kids that its the place to go if you want to do something illegal. I've already seen this type of thing several times.
I've noticed a few posters who seem to be on the defensive about criticism of marijuana use. I really don't have an opinion of it morally, but I don't want my kids doing it, and the only reason to call the police for me is that I don't want illegal activity being carried out around my house. Frankly, that includes the endless parade of off-leash dogs!

Posted by Norm, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 2, 2007 at 5:39 pm

Andrew, thanks for clarifying.
My question was more about who do we overlook, and who we don't. Less about adding to one sub-culture than asking about the tolerance of another.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2007 at 9:58 pm

But these were kids smoking pot and not adults. And where do you draw the line between fun and crossing the line.

I too smoked pot when I was 17 and some of the fun of it was because it was illegal and the thought of getting 'caught' added to the fun.

Posted by Jon, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 3, 2007 at 2:34 am

I know quite a few people at Paly who smoke pot.
Apparently society and those within this community have

To the fellow who said: "And about driving there have been studies that show that experiences users do not have problems driving a car."
First off, site a source or don't vaguely say "studies". Cite your sources. Also tell me how kids my age have "experiences" by which I presume you mean "experienced", at age 16-18 when they BARELY got their licenses...are you saying kids know how to operate a car as they do normally while high...I want concrete evidence.

If there is a parent here who is condoning the use of illegal marijuana you should reevaluate your parenting skills.

Norm makes both a good yet flawed point:
"Pot smokers are not criminals: they are your kids, and your friends. Do you want them to face the law? if so, why?"
Committing an illegal act constitutes as a crime. Just like with a lot of things, these issues are best settled between the parent and the child, but should that fail (the parent failing to fulfill his/her role) then the law should take over.

Pot is illegal in this case, because it is highly doubtful that these students received legal marijuana... People don't get that, the PAPD is probably as complacent. It is quite ridiculous the people I know have a mindset about Pot similar as many did about cigarettes before medical studies brought to light the health consequences associated with smoking.

According to our school social norms survey, almost a third of the school smokes. Does 1 in 3 smoking students within the student body justify it in any way? Of course not. Illegal should equate to wrong. Unless you somehow try to justify your actions outside of the jurisdiction of a law that has not been changed banning the possession of marijuana.

Parents: Do your job, talk to your kids, nobody wants anyone jailed or fined.

And my fellow students: Don't screw with kids younger than you and inspire them... Fact is you are influencing kids younger than you in a negative way. Be accountable. Yeah, fine ignore me, because I'm not the fool who will be suffering the consequences. Your the man dawg. Free will, act as you wish, but dont harm others in the process.

Same goes for driving...

Posted by Jim, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2007 at 10:46 am

Wow - thanks Jon. Its reassuring that there are HS students out there with the capability of seeing the big picture, and making rationally supported arguments

Posted by william, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Aug 11, 2007 at 4:48 pm

I kinda just want you to think about this as you make your judgements
about whether or not it is ok to smoke pot. Though marijuana posession is illegal should we always blantantly follow the law and give up our fundamental freedoms.

Ok, so who was harmed? Show me the victim.

While you are at it, could you exlain to me why smoking weed is illegal although drinking alcohol is not?

I'm sure there is a logical reason. For if there was no logical basis for that law, why should we follow it?

If we follow the rule of law, we have to make sure the laws are fair and based on facts, don't you agree?

Or do you think we should follow any law, regardless how the leaders came to their conclusion?

Posted by Good Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2007 at 7:38 am

I beg anyone and everyone..if you see kids doing dangerous or illegal activities, call the police ( or the parents if you know them!).

This includes everything from riding bikes without helmets to smoking/drinking/drugs. Parents need to know that the little darling they wouldn't dream is doing such things..IS.

Without own son is such a charmer and manipulator, he had me COMPLETELY fooled in spite of my being very active and, I THOUGHT, observant and careful about his behavior..until I got an anonymous tip from another KID through his parent about something and knew I would get on top of it.

I am very grateful to the tipper, whoever she or he was. It took a lot of work, but the results have been great.

Though maybe some kids aren't smart enough to fool eagle-eyed parents, some are. Don't assume that if you see a kid doing this and that that the parents just don't care..they may be just fooled by his charming, believable, but HUGE lies and manipulations. We need your help.

Thanks for reading.

Posted by Trying hard, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2007 at 7:28 pm

Having read through these posts, I am actually shocked by what I am reading. With some exceptions, I would be extremely wary about letting my children come to the homes of some of these parents. I try to honor my children's choice of friends and feel reasonably safe when they are in friends' homes with the parents. Now I am not so sure. If some of you out there think that smoking pot is acceptable for my teenager, then how can I know that I can trust him to visit your home and trust you as the responsible adult to be responsible.

I agree with Good Mom, it is a difficult line we tread. We do our best being observant and somehow feel that there is a code by which we trust other adults. Now I am not so sure and once again feel that I have to be wary of who my children make friends with, not because of the friends, but because of the parents!

Posted by Good Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2007 at 3:12 pm

To Trying Hard:

Absolutely, be very careful. I have trusted what I thought were very nice parents, only find out that they let the 9 year olds watch pg13 movies, play teen video games, raid the kitchen cabinets non-stop and stuff themselves on junk...imagine how attentive these same parents will be when the kids are 16?

Also, look around the house and and see what kind of "art" is hanging on the walls. Many people from other countries have an interesting view of what is acceptable for kids to grow up looking at.

Posted by Anamika, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 15, 2007 at 10:19 pm

"art" hanging on the wall does not reflect on the parents in most cases IMO. That is quite a strong statement you have made "good mom". Could it be your own perception of what you think these 'good parents' are allowing their kids to view by just looking at their art ?

Posted by Art Lover, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2007 at 11:03 pm

Art?! Other countries?! Are you serious?

Those comments are wacky.

What are you complaining about? Nude paintings? Don't be such a prude.

Posted by worried mom, a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2007 at 8:51 am

I found this well researching what my 16 yo son has decided to do with his life.
Ok so smoking pot is ok then tell me is spending 300 canadian on drugs and alchohol in one weekend ok?
Once the joy of pot wheres of what next exctacy is already a problem in our high school. Then where do you go?
Pot is illigal for a reason it is a drug alcohol is illigal at 16 as well for a reason because a child of 16 does not have the mentallity to know when to stop.
Tell the mother of the 16 yo girl that was killed from a friend over a $10 bag of pot. Knifed on her doorstep.
Don't even give me this crap about driving studies. how many dead teens have you seen this year in car accidents? Wake up people.
To the original poster call the cops next time you could be saving a life.

Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2007 at 8:52 pm

Us parents of young kids have had it with the illegal and dangerous behavior of older kids on local elementary school grounds after hours, vandelism, and dangerous things left behind. We are installing security cameras (among other things), and will be more than happy to hand over the evidence to the police. I'd rather they took the behavior elsewhere or just stopped it, thank you.

If these are your kids, Andrew, please invite them to smoke at home instead, so your whole family can be involved in the decision and the consequences. And your child will at least be home and not also vandalizing the local elementary school (on tape).

I do know one young white man who was caught with pot many years ago. He was charged and convicted of dealing even though he wasn't a dealer, and the conviction followed him through college applications, jobs, etc. Do you want this for your kids? Having them try to explain and make excuses throughout life for why they have a felony conviction?

Posted by Bob Lou, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 28, 2007 at 4:31 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by David S., a resident of another community
on Aug 28, 2007 at 10:32 pm

What child WOULDN'T smoke pot in this community? All the parents are stress-cases, and they shove that stress onto their kids to do BETTER than their best in school. Look at all that stress. I for one would rather see 100 kids smoke pot than one more suicide.

Parents of the 12-13 y.o. kids:
There's not enough stress for them to be doing stuff like this. You should know where and what your kids are doing 24/7, and this stuff with younger kids wouldn't happen.

And why should art be brought into this discussion? There should never, EVER, be any censorship of art anywhere. Art is there to let people think about stuff they never would think about otherwise.

Posted by natasha, a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 29, 2007 at 6:59 am

Ironically, Bob Lou's clever commentary on art censorship was censored by PA Online!

Posted by Sebastian, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 29, 2007 at 7:52 am

I thinking calling the cop's on some teenagers for smoking weed is excessive, first of all almost everyone has tried it at some point, and calling the cop's isn't going to make them reform it's just going to hinder them in the future when they go to apply for jobs, also if you drink (and I assume most of you over 21 are) then it is completely hypocritical of you to chastise marijuana users, alcohol is much worse then pot. Yes they shouldn't be smoking underage, but don't go wasting tax payer money by calling the police.
Here are some good links I think you people should see

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2007 at 9:12 am


Thank you for your comment. I will not let my children come and visit your children at your home.

Posted by Sebastian, a resident of Community Center
on Aug 29, 2007 at 7:18 pm

It's easy to be close-minded about something, when you don't know all the facts.

Posted by Boon from Texas, a resident of another community
on Aug 29, 2007 at 7:42 pm

18 million Americans smoke marijuana daily.
Read the link then read, the letter I wrote to Barry Cooper.

Web Link

This letter is not intended to demean any law enforcement agency whatsoever. I respect the job and the dangers they face fully. I also have no incentive or motivation to support ex-lawman Barry Cooper's video. Furthermore, I do not use illegal drugs or consume alcoholic beverages. So, I am not using this letter as motivation to support either side. My main intention is to address the reality of the war to combat illegal drugs, and the countless dollars we as taxpayers provide to fight it.

Cooper's interview did, however, bring up some very logical points. I do know he speaks from experience, and my most responsible research suggests he is correct concerning only marijuana.

His remarks defended no other substance. In fact, he stated all other illegal substances and alcohol are very damaging to our society. I also further believe his main intention and logic centers on reforming marijuana laws.

He never said he condones drug use, simply that he thinks laws concerning marijuana are impractical and unfair, and very hypocritical.

He also states "pot" convictions have ruined far too many lives, mainly because they are too harsh for people using marijuana. Yet we as a society promote the consumption of liquors.

While I think neither marijuana nor alcohol is good, the laws concerning them are far too hypocritical to accept, and practical research has shown throughout the years the damaging effects of liquor consumption. And our efforts to stop liquor sales and use were impossible, as proven by the failed Prohibition era.

A very reliable article in the May 2005 issue of Texas Monthly researched the taxpayers' cost to try and house marijuana offenders. It costs Texas well over $300 million per year, and that did not include paying law enforcement personnel. Not only would relaxing marijuana laws save taxpayers money, it would greatly relieve overcrowded jails.

I feel like money would be better spent on rehabilitation efforts helping people.

Prisons are necessary, but they should be used for serious crimes against society. It's easy to suggest pot smokers are criminals, but research for the most part does not support that statement. Locking them up does little to stop the war on drugs, not to mention that it can destroy a person's future employment.

My intentions are not to support drug use, but to look at some realistic options that will save taxpayers money and reduce overcrowding.

I am also not implying all pot smokers are good, responsible people, but the majority are not criminals, just as some law enforcement officers abuse their badge and power by making unfair decisions concerning some arrests.

However, let's face it: Society will never be able to eliminate all idiots or rednecks. It is simply unfair that a person smoking a joint can be deemed a criminal, while a person can legally consume a six-pack and somehow we as a society view that as acceptable just because of legislation.

My final point concerns letters written by peace officers concerning Cooper's interview. I value and respect their opinions, but their letters offer no real evidence proving Cooper is wrong, and they all seem to be motivated by anger.

Cooper has created adversity at the very least. Sometimes it takes adversity to bring about needed reforms and look at things realistically. I do know most good things ultimately are a result of love, compassion and a motivation to help people.

Let us all work together to find reasonable solutions to our nation's problems

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 30, 2007 at 8:51 am

Whereas I personally disapprove of smoking pot, I can respect the right of an individual adult who feels that the law is wrong and wishes to smoke pot in his own home. That is his choice. It is also his choice to get drunk, use other drugs, watch porn, etc. etc.

What I strongly disapprove of is children being included in this. No child, whose body is still growing and developing, should be allowed to smoke anything or drink more than a "taste", or "sip" of alcohol for the reason that they are still children. If parents feel that their child is over-stressed then there are other ways to deal with the stress.

If my children do choose to abuse substances when they are adults, then sadly to me that is their choice. However, I will do all in my power to show them that I feel it is a wrong choice for adults and definitely wrong for them as children.

You may feel that I am close minded, but I am also close minded when it comes to all sorts of negative influences on the lives of my children.

Posted by Teach, not Preach, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 8, 2007 at 6:51 am

Did anyone read post #1 by Ed? Really? Hello??

If some dumb idiot, plus or minus legal age, gets drunk or even stoned, they may get a hangover or some such. IMO, hopefully one proportional to their over-indugence, so they may learn that moderation in life is A Good Thing.

BUT: if they get behind the wheel of a car (Lexus or otherwise) in that condition, they or someone else could possibly DIE. I am so very not buying the unsubstantiated argument that being stoned "still allows one to safely operate a car".

THAT is not a trivial issue. Vehicular operation under the influence (AKA DUI) is to me the true crucial point of the initial post in this thread.

Posted by Bob Lou, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 12, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Kids, driving while impaired in any cappacity is incredibly dangerous to everyone on the road, and besides this it is very near the peak of irresponsibility. Don't ever decide to get stoned and then operate a motor vehicle. If you must however, make it a Lexus!

(Bob Lou is not directly affiliated with Lexus. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the Lexus corporation, their families, shareholders, or underage employees).

Posted by John, a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2007 at 2:56 pm

Obvioulsy, some of you have never read the effects of marijuana on the brain and the body in teens. For those of you who find that smoking alittle bit isn't harmful, less I remind you that, if started at a young age(12-13) there is evidence suggesting that it could promote further drug use into more harmful drugs. I know, I know, you will say, "those are just statistics". Well, coming from a stepdaughter and an ex-brother in law. I can tell you for a fact that it is true. For those of you who are blind to that fact shouldn't be parents, and if you are, go take a look in the mirror and punch yourself in the face. Maybe then you will wake up!

Posted by HS Student, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 26, 2007 at 5:54 pm

Well this forum is just about completely rediculous. As a HS student and regular smoker (basically 5x a week) of pot, it becomes clear that few of you have the even slight clue on how marijuana affects you. I can tell you that the first few times I smoked it, there was just no way I was going to operate a vehicle, as did my friends -- but guess what, we just pulled over and sat. No one WANTS to kill themselves driving, give me a break.

To 'Jon' - beyond the obvious fact that you haven't tried any substances in your life, you make rediculous 'claims' about weed. Concrete evidence? I toke and drive every day kid, I can be absolutely obliterated and still operate my car with the same (if not better) control than I do when I'm normal - there's your evidence.

Lastly, if you wish to label me some 'smoking kid,' I'd double-take there too. I maintain a GPA above 3.8 and am active in sports, the community, and believe it or not - morals.

Posted by anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 2, 2009 at 10:42 am

This is so far back in history at this point, God knows how I got here to read this, but what a bunch of idiots.

If course one should call the police on kids they don't know who are breaking the law, taking drugs and driving cars.

This is not about the legality of marijuana, I would say the same thing about alchohol. Don't drink or smoke and drive. How hard is that to understand or disagree with?

Is there just something in the air or water that makes some people stupid? Yes, probably many of us have done it, so what?