Marijuana has changed. The laws around it are in flux; as of this writing, marijuana for medical use is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia; two of those states (Colorado and Washington) have legalized recreational use as well. The stuff itself, once green, leafy and intended for smoking, has undergone a transformation that I’ve written about before: It may be a drug, but it looks like candy.
Those changes in themselves are not cause for alarm (nor is the idea of rogue marijuana-using households slipping their $8 THC-laced gummy bears into trick-or-treaters’ buckets). It does mean that the way we talk with our children about marijuana needs to change as well.
The phrase “smoking pot,” while far from entirely outdated, is no longer necessarily an accurate description of the way our children are likely to first encounter marijuana. The legalization of marijuana in all its complexities shifts marijuana more in the direction of alcohol when it comes to talking about how the people around us (and parents themselves) may use it. Yet while many parents may give a child a sip of beer or wine, it’s hard to imagine even the most enthusiastic embracer of legalization offering a nibble or a puff. For the time being at least, marijuana still occupies a different space in most people’s minds.
So how do we talk about the maybe-legal-for-some-people-in-some-contexts-but-not-for-you drug that can now be munched, smoked or drank? I’ll be asking just that on Twitter tomorrow from 9 to 10 a.m. Eastern time, in a chat with Dr. Amy Sass, medical director of the Adolescent Clinic at Children’s Colorado; Becky Updike, vice president of Child and Family Services, Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains and formerly Colorado’s first appointed child protection ombudsman; and Dr. Kelly Caywood, clinical psychologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado (which organized the Twitter chat).
I’ll be asking questions like: “My friends use marijuana. My child plays at their house. How should I start the conversation about that, and what should I ask?” And yes, I know that question sounds silly if you replace “marijuana” with “beer,” but should we and do we equate the two, or are there other concerns?
Other questions: “If I’ve used marijuana, do I admit it to my kids?” and “What are some signs that my child has been using marijuana — now that I might not smell the smoke?”
By KJ Dell’Antonia - NY Times Blog/Oct. 21, 2014
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No Longer Just Mommy and Daddy's Marijuana Talk, So What's to Say?