Educating your kids about legal pot
Now that cannabis is legal, many parents are going to need to educate their kids on the drug, and that means having some frank conversations.
The last time weed was legal in Canada Sudbury police dressed like this:
And even though the almost 100-year prohibition on pot ended at midnight on October 17th, the only place to legally consume, smoke, or vape cannabis is inside of a residence.
That means, you can’t just spark up a joint on the sidewalk, yet. Soon you will be able to, once a new provincial law that treats smoking pot like smoking cigarettes takes effect. And that'll bring cannabis use out of the shadows in a big way. So, questions like “daddy, what’s that smell?” will need some good answers, because legalization could also bring normalization.
"We really want to normalize the conversation around cannabis and not the consumption." said Brenna Eastick, a nurse for Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
Public health officials say the effects on a young brain aren’t good.
“The human brain is still developing until about age 25. And when youth use cannabis, it actually kind of alters that natural brain development." said Eastick.
Research even links cannabis to mental health disorders like psychosis and schizophrenia.
Experts say parents need to talk about weed with their kids, but it can’t be all ‘fire and brimstone.’
“Make sure that parents talk about the benefits, the rewards, as well as the risks. If they just talk about how bad it is, the kids will stop listening to them." said parenting expert Doone Estey.
Schools also have a role.
A new policy at the Rainbow District School Board states:
"Cannabis is prohibited for students regardless of age, to use or be in possession of, on school property or during school-related activities."
And teachers are hoping for new guidelines from the province on how to talk about cannabis in the classroom.
For teens who are inevitably going to try the stuff, some practical advice on how to stay safe.
"By staying with a group, looking out for your buddies, make sure you're not driving, don't get in a car." said Doone.
Pass it along, because like it or not, we’re about to see a whole lot more of ‘the green leaf’ and our kids will too.