The Talk Part II
The Talk is a three part series on the discussion regarding cannabis, with your kids. In this blog, Brenna Anderson daughter of founder Jeff Anderson, shares her experiences on growing up in a time before cannabis was legal and how her family has made the transition, using open dialogue & candor in their cannabis talk.
“I strongly believe that even though weed may be perceived as a negative in society, it is a life force, motivating and bringing people together.”
The first time I learned what weed was, I was in the second grade. I already knew what cigarettes were. I knew that alcohol killed people. But this was foreign. Illegal, at the time. Some kids at school had older siblings who smoked it or talked about it, but I’m the oldest child in my family. My parents tried to preserve my “innocence” for most of my childhood, yet whenever I asked a question about sex or drugs or anything of the sort, they would answer honestly and directly. I came home from school one day, knowing the term ‘weed’ from a boy in my class, but not what it meant. I asked my parents and they answered with candor and clarity.
The first time I smelled weed, I was in the sixth grade. I was on a field trip with a few girls in my Girl Scouts troop, on a public bus in Downtown Seattle. One of the other girls commented that she knew the smell; I, being a goody-two-shoes, didn’t. I inquired what it was. She had been to many concerts where people had smoked, and told me. I put two and two together. When I got home, I asked my mom, as she was on the trip with us – was that really weed? If you’ve ever been downtown, not only in Seattle but wherever you live, you are likely familiar with the whiffs you get. She told me a bit more; including that it was very illegal and had a very strong scent.
The first time my dad told me about The Evergreen Market, I was in the ninth grade. We were in the car together, as he was picking me up from school. There is no feeling in life quite like when your dad says he’s opening a weed shop! It was a combination of hope and confusion, thoughts swimming around in my head. I didn’t know that much about weed still, and it’s been quite the learning experience. My friends asked me a lot of questions. Why the hell is your dad doing this? Do you smoke weed? Are you able to get me some? These were the three most common questions. It seemed like everyone inherently imagined that since this was a new business my father was in, that my whole family used; even my then, eleven year old sister. I felt ridiculed. Although it’s not a bad thing to smoke for over 21 year olds, the preconception I had of weed was that it was only for desperate people. Now I know that isn’t the case whatsoever, but as an innocent freshman, I thought being associated with marijuana was like being cursed.
Everyone experiences learning about weed in different ways; whether it’s talking about it or smelling it or using it. Parents can only do so much in censoring what their kids learn, and at a certain point, it’s better to just tell your kids about weed than having their friends tell them. But, as we all know, the world isn’t a perfect place. There is no requirement for sitting kids down and having a “weed talk,” a close relative of the infamous “sex talk.” If anything, introducing young adults to marijuana in an overly structured setting may lower their willingness to listen. Letting them come to their parents and ask questions is likely a better bet; however, it is important for the parents to be honest, otherwise, what is the point of asking?
“But there is something special that happens when marijuana is involved with these people in my life. I see the effect it has on others. It is social. It is uniting.”
There are people in my life who smoke pot, not because they’re “bad” people or because they are dependent on it. They have always been there, whether or not I have known they used pot. They are some of my best friends, my mentors, people that have made a difference in who I am; my cousin, one of my friends from eating disorder treatment, a girl in my biology class, a past boyfriend, my grandparents, a teacher. Although some of these people are underage, I realize that illegal things happen, and I am not promoting under-21 use in any way. Yet, I strongly believe that even though weed may be perceived as a negative in society, it is a life force, motivating and bringing people together. I have a very addictive personality and am under 21, so I have never even tried weed. I am easily enthralled by things that aren’t always good for me. But there is something special that happens when marijuana is involved with these people in my life. I see the effect it has on others. It is social. It is uniting.
I am and always will be, grateful for weed. Not because I’ve ever used it, but because The Evergreen Market has changed my family’s life. We went from a family based in depression and worry, to one of transparency and hope. We did this through setting boundaries around pot, such as where my parents’ weed was to be kept in our house (a locked box) and what the consequences would be if my sister or I used it.
“Speaking about marijuana out of the shadows, will open doors for honesty and acceptance.”
If I could go back in time, I would ask more questions. Not only about what it feels like to be high, but big ideas like people’s motivations for using and nuances such as the difference between THC and CBD. I believe that to de-stigmatize pot, there needs to be open conversations about these things, about consequences for smoking when underage and the family’s general views about marijuana. If there is more talk, the stigma surrounding cannabis will continue to disappear: legalization can give way to normalization. Maybe some revelations will happen. Maybe not. But speaking about marijuana out of the shadows, will open doors for honesty and acceptance.
Written By: Brenna Anderson
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