With the approaching legalization date for cannabis use in Canada, many people are working to ensure a smooth transition and adopting of the legislation. What’s interesting about the new cannabis use law is that much of the talk about how businesses are going to prepare for the “influx” of cannabis use at work. It’s hard to know what that is going to actually translate into at work, but there is another side of the conversation that is being missed: the one at home. If you are a cannabis user, or you may become one after the legalization of it in Canada this summer, you might have to field some questions from your children about it. Here’s how you can explain cannabis use to children in the coming months and after cannabis has been legalized.
Compare and Contrast
Despite cannabis’ legalization, there is still an opportunity for people to use and abuse the substance, just like alcohol and cigarettes. While many people would argue that it will be easily to regulate and keep control over, we know that is not true because of the sheer number of people who suffer from alcoholism and smoking side effects. So, then, there needs to be a conversation happening at home about the differences between cannabis, alcohol, and smoking cigarettes, as well as a conversation about use and abuse. If you already use cannabis or intend to start when it becomes legal, it’s going to be important to have those conversations with children about proper use and the risks of abuse.
If you are someone who is strictly against the legalization of cannabis in Canada this summer then your conversation with your children might be very different than someone who is in favor of the new legislation. Whether or not you plan to use cannabis when it becomes legal, we all have a responsibility to educate our children about the risks and yes, the benefits, of using cannabis. Despite cannabis being sold in public places coming in 2018, people will still be buying it on the street. That means there could be an increased risk of lacing or tampering with the substance. Either way, it’s important to have that conversation so that your children are prepared to handle the responsibility of the substance. Much the same as you would with other drugs, alcohol use and cigarette smoking.
The Laws Will Be Broken
Despite our best efforts to wrap this legalization up with a neat little bow, things are bound to happen that are going to set us back and cause problems. There will most certainly be a lot of “told you so’s” being thrown around when someone misuses cannabis in a way that is newsworthy. It is all of our responsibility to decide for ourselves what this legalization looks like and how we want to interact with it after the fact. While we can’t make choices for our children as to whether or not they will use cannabis, legalization or no legalization, the conversations need to take place.
Ask Questions. Don’t Assume.
Finally, when talking to your kids about cannabis legalization and use, don’t assume anything. Approach them from a place of interest and ask them questions about their thoughts. Ask them what they think about it – don’t tell them what to think. As a parent it can be hard to avoid doing that, but you probably remember what it was like to be faced with new information and hated it when your parents told you how to think. Plus, if they are underage, they will just make up their own mind when they come of age anyway, so your best bet is to approach cannabis use from a realistic standpoint and be frank about it so everyone knows where each stands.
Whether or not you agree with the pending legalization of cannabis in Canada, it’s happening. There’s always the chance that it will be delayed – we’re talking about the government here, after all, but you can bet your bottom dollar that even if it doesn’t happen this summer, it’s coming. Don’t put off having those conversations with your family. It makes all the difference in helping to create a supportive environment and helps to keep everyone on the same page. Plus, when you find a glass bong in your son’s or daughter’s room, you don’t have to be upset about it: you will already have the skills to have this kind of conversation.
Author Bio: Sarah Coulter is a freelance writer and content manager for the online headshop, Badass Glass. When she’s not writing about the cannabis industry, you can find her on nature hikes with her energetic black lab, Kona.