A child without education, is like a bird without wings
~ Tibetan Proverb
If you have kids that are just 5 years old, cannabis laws have significantly changed in their short lifetime. Perhaps something deemed to be “irresponsible” once you grew up, got married and had children has now made it back into your medicine cabinet.
For those with older children, it isn’t just the laws regarding cannabis that have changed during our children’s lifetime, but the feelings and stigmas often associated with cannabis use have changed significantly in the last decade. While many of our older children grew up with cannabis being illegal in their state, many younger children do not remember a time when cannabis wasn’t legal in their state.
Whether your state is a marijuana state or a hemp state, cannabis in one form or another is legal in the entire United States.
So, how do you talk to you children about cannabis? When do you talk to your children about cannabis? How do you discuss how your personal feelings may differ from what they may be taught in school or different from what the law in your state allows?
Here are a few thoughts to help you get the conversation started:
· How old is your child? Age plays an important role when discussing cannabis use with your child. While you may find that it is not necessary to discuss cannabis use with a younger child, it is a conversation you will likely have well before the teen years
· Discuss the laws regarding cannabis in your state. Be sure you specify the differences between marijuana and hemp as well as outlining the type of use the law allows (medical or recreational)
· Ask them what they are being taught in school and what they are hearing from their peers regarding cannabis use
· Discuss the differences between cannabis and other drugs. Be sure to include prescription drugs in your conversation
· Discuss the various uses for cannabis. Include industrial as well as medical uses.
· If you are in an agricultural community or live on a farm, discuss the agricultural and horticultural similarities of hemp farming compared to traditional crops
· Answer their questions honestly and keep your answers simple. If they ask about your experience with cannabis or your personal thoughts, tell them the truth. Children, especially teens, will know when you are lying to them. If they feel comfortable enough to have this discussion with you, you owe it to them to be honest.
· Encourage them to do their own research and come to you with any questions they have.
Cannabis laws are likely to continue to be in a state of flux for the foreseeable future. It is important that we educate ourselves, as well as our children so that we can make informed decisions with respect to our health and wellness.