The Cannabis Talk

The Cannabis Talk with Your Kids

Talking to your kids about cannabis is just as important as sex and alcohol.
Talking to your kids about cannabis is just as important as sex and alcohol.

Now that cannabis is gaining legalization across the nation, it might be time to bridge the topic with your children and have ‘the cananbis talk.’

A challenge facing parents today is finding the right dialogue to discuss a matter, that for years, has been demonized and stigmatized by the government and our media, as well as the many adults that children come in contact with.

Cannabis has been marketed as a “gateway drug,” leading people who use it to nowhere or the worst place imaginable. Yet, it has healed people, helped with seizures, epilepsy, PTSD, mood and emotional issues as well as pain management.

For children, this might lead to confusion. Their parents and the government has condemned the use of “drugs,” many times with a laser focus on marijuana; our own country has scheduled it in the same category as heroin and meth!

After working in medical and recreational marijuana, I’ve heard many versions of ‘the talk’ or the discovery, by now. From the extremes of kids running into their parent’s grow rooms by accident, to the oblivious; who have no idea what it is, does, or smells like. The other extreme side are families who pretend that alcohol and drugs do not exist to their children, even if the parents partake.

amsterdam canals evergreen market travel cannabis
Amsterdam- where cannabis has been legal for 30+ years for adults 18 and older.

But like the Netherlands, (you can read our previous blog about it here) we are starting to distinguish between hard drugs and those that adults can use with good judgment, such as tobacco, alcohol and now, cannabis.

Personally, cannabis in smaller doses is like a coffee or cigarette, focusing me and allowing for more engagement and creativity of the mind. This can also be considered micro-dosing, which means you use small amounts of cannabis to get therapeutic benefits without getting overly stoned or high. Alcohol on the other hand, leaves me with less inhibition and energy.

I grew up like most of us, “don’t drink and don’t do drugs” was the common expression in our household. As I grew older, my dad changed it to “make good decisions.” If I did have children, that would be one way I would lead into the talk.

Make good decisions. I think it encompasses the message, especially if you have had an open line of communication with your children regarding any questions they have on cannabis, as well as your own parental concerns of their environment and what may come across on their day to day.

Growing up, my mom was very forward about all things. Even by the age of 7 I had children’s book on sex, and being born in Russia, alcohol was around but not something that I was tempted with, cannabis wasn’t even on the radar.

Although difficult and a little contradictory, I believe having the cannabis talk with your kids is nothing different than the sex talk or the alcohol talk. We all know eventually they will be old enough to legally engage in these activities, but before then, their curiosity will probably be sparked. The best feeling will be knowing the information your kids have is correct, and you can ensure this by having the talk yourself. Don’t be afraid. Life is a journey, it is always changing, so are laws, our society, culture. It is ever-evolving and it becomes our responsibility to evolve with the times and make sure our rhetoric accurately matches the current situation.

One of the Founders of TEM, Jeff Anderson

Interview with Founder Jeff Anderson

What was the opinion about cannabis in the household when YOU were growing up?

It was a drug and drugs are bad. I was a product of the D.A.R.E. program and my parents followed the expectation that I shouldn’t do drugs.

What was your first experience with cannabis?

My first day of college. I barely stepped foot into my dorm room before meeting my great friend Geoff Ecker who proceeded to ask me if I wanted to partake. I was away from home and said, “Heck Yeah!”

Do you remember what your parents told you regarding cannabis? Alcohol?

My parents didn’t really talk about cannabis at all. Alcohol was socially acceptable in the house for adults, but of course not for me. That didn’t stop me from doing my duty to be a teenage rebel…

How many kids do you have?

Age and genders: 13 year old girl (Audrey) and 16 year old girl (Brenna)

How have you spoken to your kids in regards to cannabis?

I started really talking to them after I-502 passed and I became interested in applying for a license. I figured the conversation needed to be open and honest. The new industry was appealing to me and since it was legal, I figured I needed to start the dialog. It went something like, “Now that it is legal for adults over 21, I am going to explore what it would look like to be in that industry.” Countless conversations have occurred since as it has been a focus in my family.

Have you faced any difficulty in discussing this matter with your kids? Since legalization? Has your rhetoric about this changed since I-502 passing?

The most difficult thing has been the reaction of my children’s friends and family. As you know, not everyone is on the recreational cannabis bandwagon. Those who have deeply rooted negative opinions around cannabis have kept my kids at an arms-length. I don’t believe they have lost any friends because of it, but it has definitely thrown a wrench into their life.

How does your spouse feel about cannabis?

She is coming around. She is beginning to see the positive affects in herself and others. I don’t think cannabis has changed her life in a drastic way…yet.

Does the conversation about cannabis differ between you and your spouse as it pertains to your children?

Yes. I am more aggressive and pro-cannabis and she is more cautious. I understand her perspective and agree with the stance to keep cannabis out of the hands of those under 21, particularly if it is not needed for a medical condition.

How do your children perceive cannabis?

I think they are accepting of it as the industry that pays the bills. They also like to shock their friends that dad has a marijuana company, especially since as a family, we appear to be buttoned-up.

Do they feel differently about cannabis from one another?

I think they feel about the same.

How did your kids first find out about cannabis? (That you know)

I think it was from their peers and health education in elementary school. They were told it was bad and that is about it.

If you could change anything about how you have approached this topic with your kids- what would it be?

I would have liked to be the first to discuss it with them. I think there is a large misperception in the world about cannabis that has occurred over the past 50-100 years. I am happy to be a small part of the conversation that is taking place all over the US and world.

Written By: Masha Brown

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