Children growing-up in the post-cannabis legalization world need a new understanding of what marijuana is.
Kids today are guaranteed to see marijuana in a way that is much different from previous generations, says Ashleigh Brown, founder of SheCann, a platform where women can share their experiences with medical marijuana. Because it's legal across the country, Canadian youth will think of cannabis more like alcohol then any illicit substances. As such, they should be educated about marijuana in the same ways they would be about booze.
This means that they shouldn't be sheltered from cannabis; rather, they need to understand it as a substance for adults. If you don't talk about marijuana with your kids, you're likely to continue reinforcing existing stigmas about people who use it, says Brown.
"There is a difference between discretion and hiding," Brown told The London Free Press. "Hiding encourages stigma because it is something that you keep from people. Having discretion is about responsible use."
Brown has been using medical marijuana since 2016 and taught her children about the medical aspects of the plant. Once it became legal for recreational use, she said she had to explain that people use cannabis for a number of reasons. She also had to explain why she keeps her own cannabis products out of reach.
"It's maybe not that I don't trust my own kids. I keep it locked and away from them so that they understand that it’s an adult-use product."
As more research points towards the potential risks associated with cannabis consumption among young people, it's important to educate children and teens using up-to-date science.
"My job is to be a responsible user and store it responsibly and have these conversations," Brown said. "I want to have a dialogue with my kids about this."