It’s not the birds and the bees, but for some parents, it can actually prove more challenging.
As North America’s cannabis industry continues to blossom, progressive parents across the continent are struggling like never before to have that talk with their kids.
After all, how do you tell your child not to consume cannabis when legal shops are selling it all over town? Or when politicians, celebrities and Mommy and Daddy’s friends – maybe even Mommy and Daddy, themselves – are opening up about their penchant for the plant?
According to Juliette Benz and Kris Morwood, you don’t – at least, not in the way people (read: Nancy Reagan) used to.
That’s why they created Callie Cannabis – the first in a series of family-friendly storybooks designed to help parents talk to their kids about responsible cannabis use.
Throughout the book’s 25 colourful pages, 'Callie the cannabis plant' discusses the flower’s makeup, its history, and the various legalities surrounding it. She makes it clear that while some people benefit greatly from the plant, it’s not for everyone. In fact, some people don’t like cannabis at all and work against its availability.
No matter Callie’s lesson, says co-author Benz, it’s delivered in an educational manner. This was always the mission of the series, she says.
“Kids are asking their parents ‘what’s a joint?’ and their parents don’t know how to talk about it,” says Benz, 58, adding that the problem lies in the fact that “there just isn’t much material out there for kids that has anything [objective] to say about cannabis.”
Despite having adult children at this point, it was a problem both Colorado moms recognized – and one they decided to address together, along with illustrator Corbin Hillam,
For Morwood, the book is, in some ways, a response to the ‘Just Say No’ campaign of her youth.
“When you tell kids not to do something, many of them – like myself – will go the opposite direction and go try the thing,” says Morwood, 54.
“While I don’t promote anyone under the age of 21 utilizing cannabis unless it’s for medical conditions, you have to be honest with your kids because if you lie to them, they won’t trust you about anything.”
Morwood believes some parents attempt to shield their kids from controversial subjects like cannabis, but this can often lead to problems down the road.
“A lot of parents feel the need to shelter their kids in many ways and it does them a disservice,” says Morwood. “If you hide things from your children or you’re dishonest with them, they’ll find out when they’re experimenting on their own... and may engage in some risky behaviors.”
The pair plans to release a multitude of other books in the Callie and Friends LLC series, including one on the hemp industry, one on athletes who use cannabis, and one on American medical refugees.
“There are a lot of books that we’re planning because we think it’s time people started talking about these things,” says Morwood.
“The more we discuss cannabis in an open, honest dialogue, the quicker we normalize the conversation for individuals who may work in the industry, families who may have medical needs, those who are canna-curious or trying to find basic information to share whit those who are opposed.”
You can order your copy of Callie Cannabis here.