Okay, let’s talk about pot. Let’s talk about it amongst ourselves, as adults, so we know what we want to say before the kids start asking questions.
After I-1183 passed, bringing liquor into grocery stores, I talked about the impact of having more alcohol our kids’ world than before. I believed (and still believe) that it is unimportant if they see it on a shelf or not. It is the parent’s attitude toward, and use of, the substance that will have the biggest impact on the child’s attitude and use of the substance.
But I drink, so I didn’t have much of a leg to stand on arguing for prohibition.
I don’t smoke pot. I have before, but all it does is make me hungry and sleepy. And as a fat lazy person, I don’t need any extra help in those two areas.
Given that, I have much more believability were I to decry marijuana legalization. Yet, I was personally thrilled that it passed. (And please remember, before you write your comment, I don’t smoke pot. You’d be able to tell. I’d be 300 pounds if I did.)
But I don’t want to talk about the law. For me, it seemed a step toward liberty and personal responsibility. For others, it was another brick lost in the wall of civilization. We can agree to disagree. The question is what impact legalization will have on our conversations with our kids.
Here seems to be gist of the cries of those parents who lost. What will we say to our children? And how will we tell them not to use pot if it’s not illegal? And especially, how will we have those conversations without sounding like hypocrites if we’ve ever used it before?
I’m sorry, but I don’t understand. I will say she can't use marijuana until she's 21, just like alcohol, because that's the law. I will tell her I hope she never uses it, because it makes you fat and lazy, and she is neither. I will tell her how I know that it does, which is because I've used it before.
I don't see the problem.
I drink. And I have absolutely no problem telling my daughter that she cannot. It’s not optional. She’s not 21. Now, I will tell her additionally that using marijuana, like drinking alcohol, is a decision for adults. Which she is not.
And how will I influence her choice once she turns 21? The same way I would have influenced her choice the first time she came in contact with it when it was illegal. By talking to her.
And if you think you had more say in your kid's decision than that before I-502 passed, you are wrong. Your words and their minds are all you have.
If you really believe that pot is a gateway drug, that it’s so much more potent than it was in the 60s, that it really is physically addictive and all the evidence to the contrary is a lie, then tell your child that.
Be ready for them to ask why pot didn’t destroy the lives of the many famous and accomplished people who have acknowledged past use. If you used, be ready for them to ask why it didn’t destroy you. Be careful. Kids are smart. They see through lies.
Be truthful. Be direct. Tell them what you think and what you believe. Tell them your honest experience. Show them Uncle Bill, who still lives in their grandparents' basement at the age of 35. Tell them why, instead of hinting about it like you might have done before.
True, you won’t have a stick of fear to beat them with (unless it’s the fear of weighing 300 pounds). You won’t have the law “on your side.” You just have the 18 to 21 years you had to teach them how to make good choices.
Tell your kids your values. And live them. They are the only real weapons you have in the war on drugs, whether the substance in question is legal or not.