"It's as dangerous, if not more," said Janet Taylor, executive director for the Chamber Coalition for a Better Community. "It's an illicit drug, it is habit forming, and more kids go into treatment for marijuana than any other illicit drug."
And the effects of marijuana last a lot longer than the effects of alcohol.
"It stays in your system so very long, for several months, so you're under the influence of it even though you may not think you are."
Much of today's marijuana is more powerful than ever and its effects are more intense. Many users believe the drug relaxes them and takes away stress, but they're wrong.
"It doesn't always make them mellow like they think," said Taylor. "It is associated with a lot of violent behavior and it's usually a gateway drug. Once you learn to smoke a cigarette then you can smoke a marijuana cigarette."
Taylor said alcohol is the most commonly used drug in Angelina County, followed by cigarettes, then marijuana.
For more information about the risks of marijuana use and its signs and symptoms, go to www.TheAntiDrug.com or call the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) at 1-800-788-2800.