Adult recreational use of marijuana becomes legal in Canada on October 17, 2018 – and according to a survey commission by Moncton-based Organigram, parents in Atlantic Canada are feeling the most prepared to talk with their kids about this change. Are you?
Whether you answered yes or no, you’re likely to find something of interest in this week’s Pickle Planet Podcast. Jenna & Tosh are joined by Ray Gracewood, the Chief Commercial Officer of Organigram, In case you’re not familiar with the company, Organigram is the first licensed medical cannabis producer in Atlantic Canada and soon will be serving the adult recreational market. Ray speaks for the company, but he also speaks as a dad.
In the podcast, you’ll hear about resources available via Organigram’s Parent Portal; you can find that by clicking here. A few highlights you might want to know right away, from New Brunswick’s official site regarding cannabis:
- Once the law changes, it will still be illegal for people under the age of 19 to possess, purchase and consume cannabis. So, like alcohol. Illegal use can result in fines or prosecution.
- Research shows using cannabis before age 25 can have long-lasting negative effects on your brain. Cannabis can also aggravate bipolar disorder at any age, has been linked to depression and anxiety, and poses increased risks to those with a family history of schizophrenia.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers are advised against using cannabis.
Drug Free Kids Canada has produced a ‘Cannabis Talk Kit‘ to help parents approach the topic with their children; it’s a bit of a dry read at the start and geared toward parents of teens, but it has a lot of great statistical and factual information and does get down to great examples of things you can say and ways you can start the conversation with older kids.
Some basic ideas for talking with kids of any age about this issue:
- Talk to your children about the different forms of cannabis, the different ways they effect your body, and try to keep up-to-date on the words kids use to describe cannabis
- Understand how cannabis physically impacts brains that are still developing; talk with your children about why this is a dangerous chance to take with their health.
- Talk about the feelings associated with cannabis and why a teenager might consider trying the drug before they’re in a situation in which it’s offered to them.
- Let your child know you’re concerned for their health and that you’re always there to support them.
Did you know that Canadian teens have some of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world already? One in five teens ages 15 to 19 have used cannabis in the past year; it’s more common to be a daily occurrence than drinking, with less than 3% of Canadian high school students saying they consume alcohol each day, compared to up to 6% who use cannabis daily.
With all that swirling in your brain, now take a listen to our conversation with Ray and hopefully it will put into some context for you. And if you’re one of those Atlantic Canadian parents who feel totally prepared to talk about cannabis legalization with their kids, feel free to share your approach in the comments – because there are a lot of us that still would love some guidance!