There's no place like home for the holidays. And when better than the festive season of hope and joy to have an awkward conversation with your parents about your pot use?
Yes - while the talk might sound like the Nightmare Before Christmas, the reasons to come clean in 2016 are more compelling than ever. First: do you really want to spend all Christmas nervously hitting the pipe out the bathroom window? Such deviousness is beneath you - especially since you probably have a steady job, don't even live at home anymore, and may even have kids of your own. Second: legalization is a political issue. It's important for successful, well-adjusted pot smokers to speak up about why weed works for them. Honesty is the first step to fighting moldy stereotypes.
If you're ready, remember: fortune favors the bold. But also, consult our tips for a drama-free big reveal to your conservative folks.
1. Accept it's going to be awkward
Lighting up is 100 percent normal - for you. Your parents, by contrast, could be coming from zero/limited firsthand experience, no cannabis-friendly friends (that they know of), and decades of exposure to War on Drugs propaganda. Given these differences, realize delivering the news could be an emotional rollercoaster. Be ready for stunned silence. Yelling. A GES (translation: Ghastly Emotional Scene). Tears. Also possible: laughter, as they witheringly inform you they've known for years, and ask you to break out your stash.
2. Tell your story
Tell them your history with the plant. Use "I" statements, e.g. " I find cannabis gives me more energy and makes me more productive." Not even the staunchest anti-drug warrior can argue with that since it's what you, personally, have experienced. If you're using cannabis for medical reasons, explain what else you tried before finding cannabis relieved your symptoms. People unversed in the plant often don't distinguish between medical and recreational users - make sure they get the difference.
3. Cite good role models
Name-dropping is usually lame; however, referencing a few famous pot-smokers your parents may already admire can boost your credibility. Barack Obama's tried it. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau wants to legalize it. Even Martha Stewart has bragged about her joint-rolling skills. Pulling out a few examples of successful, smart people - who also happen to smoke pot - can give people parents pause before they conclude you're wasting your life.
4. Address worries with facts
"But marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol! It's a gateway drug! It's worse for your lungs than smoking cigarettes!" No, no, and no. Try to anticipate these arguments, and head them off by sharing what you're doing to mitigate any risks: that you're vaping instead of smoking, for example, not looking after their grandkids/driving/jumping off cliffs while under the influence. Have some stats to back up your defence.
5. Set rules for talking to the kids
If you're a parent yourself, you've probably already thought about how you want to broach the topic of cannabis with your kids once they're the right age. The last thing you want is Grandma scaring them in the meantime with horror stories about mommy and daddy's "special cigarettes." Build into your chat with your folks how you'd like them to respond when/if their grandchildren ask about marijuana. A simple "maybe you should ask your mom or dad about this" might suffice for now.
6. Be confident
Don't get browbeaten into apologizing, or saying you regret trying it if that's not how you really feel. This is an informed choice you're making as a rational adult, and hopefully that means you're secure enough to stand by it in the face of pressure. That being said, don't be a jerk. If the conversation gets heated or otherwise unbearable, be willing to drop it - but let your parents know you'd be open to further discussion when everyone's more chill.
7. Be ready for further chats
See above: unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), letting the cat out of the bag means you should steel yourself for weeks, months, even years of further chats about your cannabis use. Also: tons of bad pot jokes every time you bring over brownies. Those will never stop.