If you plan on talking to your kids about weed – Read this first!
Parents today will raise their children as the first generation of Americans to live with legal access to marijuana. This exciting moment in history must not distract from the continued responsibility parents have to teach their children the truth about cannabis.
The Old Testament of Marijuana
During the height of the Great Depression, public fear grew about the effects of marijuana on the struggling public. Unemployment was at all time highs and everyone was searching for a scapegoat. A series of social studies were done to link marijuana to social deviance. These studies gave way to Reefer Madness; spawning a mindset in America that viewed marijuana as the reason for all evil. The government was influenced by biased studies and created harsh sentencing for marijuana possession.
America entered World War II and nationalism soared. Just as the government was influenced by biased studies, the public was influenced by the government’s opinion of marijuana. The lies flowed downhill. Parents began telling their children that marijuana was “the devils crop”, they used propaganda and fear to steer their children away from the plant.
The New Testament of Marijuana
As a 29-year-old, I did not grow up with legal marijuana. I certainly had exposure to weed and no problem finding it as a teenager, but nothing like what today’s teen sees. My parents preached the “old testament “, but I wasn’t buying it. By the time I was 16 my curiosity about marijuana became a force more powerful than my parent’s disdain for the stuff.
Aside from being told I was not allowed to be around marijuana and that I would be punished if I were caught using it, we didn’t speak much about weed in my house. I was left to experiment with my friends – oh and D.A.R.E occasionally popped in to deliver their PSA. Without knowing it, my curiosity was encouraging me to live a secret life – a life that I kept secret from my parents. I was on a journey with my friends that felt good, but something was missing.
None of the bad stuff my parents described about marijuana use was true. I was doing well in school, I was an athlete, I had hobbies, and I wasn’t getting into trouble. Were my parents lying to me… were my friends and I just different from all other weed smokers? I didn’t have the information resources I needed to find the truth on my own. The Internet was not what it is today, marijuana wasn’t legal anywhere, and I didn’t know any adults who used marijuana.
The Marijuana Renaissance
Today’s kids have an overload of access to information. They are also skilled at using technology on levels that many adults will never achieve. So parents – don’t think that you can fool your kiddos about anything; they will find out one way or another. The story I described above should help you understand that by withholding the truth about marijuana they unknowingly built distrust in our relationship. You have the opportunity to avoid this mistake.
You should not assume that your children will just learn about marijuana out of boredom – they will eventually be exposed to it one way or another, so you should approach the topic before anyone else. Use resources like the The Stoner’s Cookbook to inform yourself before talking to your kids. I am not suggesting that you should let your kids use marijuana haphazardly or at all – just give them all the facts.
Use these 5 topics as a starting point for your talk
1. Marijuana will NOT ruin your life
Studies have shown that marijuana use in adolescence does not lead to negative outcomes later in life.
2. Marijuana is used as a medicine
Medical marijuana has been around in California since 1996. The cannabis plant is being used to treat epilepsy, pain, glaucoma, and even cancer.
3. Marijuana is not just for getting high
Yes, consuming marijuana will get you high. The cannabis plant is also used to make that can be used to make paper and textiles.
4. Talk to them about the laws in your state
Until marijuana is made federally legal, there will be ambiguity about how your approaches possession and use of the plant. Make sure your kids know the laws.
5. Tell them about YOUR experiences with marijuana
My parents didn’t tell me about their experiences with weed until I was 27. They kept it a secret too, adding to the negativity I felt about marijuana. You can easily relate to your kids by telling them stories from your days of using marijuana. If you still use it, maybe you should introduce them to marijuana—when the time is right.
Have you used any creative ways to talk to your kids about marijuana? Tell us on social media.