It’s a fact: Marijuana legalization is on the rise all over the United States. With Illinois having been the most recent state to legalize it recreationally, marijuana is becoming more and more mainstream — which means easier access to kids and teens.
Fact vs. Fiction
Don’t do what your seventh-grade health teacher did when you learned about weed by using scare tactics. Explain the facts about weed to your kids — its harmful effects as well as its benefits.
- Talk to them about methods of obtaining the herb: While you need to be 21 years old (or 18 in some states) to purchase from a legal dispensary, the product is likely safer than what you buy from some rando. Weed farms are subject to rigorous distribution testing, whereas you don’t exactly know what you’re getting off the street.
- Acknowledge that yes, the news hypes up only the good things about using marijuana recreationally, but that there are harmful effects to starting use at an early age.
- Avoid using the words “gateway drug.” It is an outdated theory and science is proving it is bogus. Try to give them the cold hard facts without leaning too far in one direction or another.
Once you’ve said your piece, ask them what questions they have. If you don’t know the answers to all of their questions, use it as a teachable moment to look up the answer together.
- Expect eye-rolling and impatient huffs from teens; after all, they already know, right? Whether they ask you any questions or not, at least you know you’ve done your part as a parent. Your words sink deeper than you might think.
Talk to your kids early on about the facts and potential harm of using marijuana at an early age. Open the door for any questions and conversations down the road.