Vape pen marijuana use on the rise, cops say

Vape pens are regularly used for nicotine, and other vape products are now commonly used to consume marijuana.

And Montgomery County authorities say they're being found in middle and high schools not only in their county, but all over the country.

They say vape users will take a syringe filled with marijuana and inject it into the pod, and then put it back into the Juul device, ready to use and easy to conceal.

Students in the Montgomery County school district told FOX 5 that they see it in their schools right now.

Celia Shapiro, a senior at Walt Whitman High School in Montgomery County, says she's seen her fair share of vape pens being used to smoke marijuana.

"It's become really popular especially on social media. It's become a lot more accessible to students in school," Shapiro said.

Vape devices were once used to help people break the habit of smoking, but now they're becoming their own habit, according to police.

"As opposed to being a product that helps them break a bad habit, it's actually becoming a habit," said Jayme Derbyshire of the Montgomery County police department.

Derbyshire routinely deals with the products, and says they're showing up in high schools and even middle schools all over the county.

Walt Whitman's school newspaper - The Black and White - recently surveyed 75 sophomores, juniors, and senior. Fifty-six of the students surveyed said they know someone who owns a "dab pen."

"You're talking about a young brain that still hasn't completely developed and there are multiple studies out there that have shown that introduction to marijuana at a young age definitely has a lasting impact on their brain development," Derbyshire said.

A study from Canada that was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in 2017 concluded that marijuana use in adolescents increases the occurrence of psychotic experiences.

Derbyshire says parents need to have honest conversations with their children.

"I really think it's important for the parents to educate themselves first about what these products are and what they can do and then have an open and upfront conversation with their kids and make it really clear that this isn't a behavior that is going to be tolerated," Derbyshire said.

Police say these products are extremely easy to purchase online. She says parents should routinely check their credit card statements for any purchase that may seem suspicious.