Cannabis can be a controversial topic although its legal status and chances are if you are home for the holidays, it will come up.
When it comes to cannabis and its parents, things tend to go one of two ways. Some parents want to blame the weeds for the world’s problems, while others want to stir up feelings with you.
My parents tend to get along with the former. As with most issues that arise in this world – we strongly agree. In politics, in science, about what to cook for Christmas dinner. However, cannabis is the only problem I haven’t been able to think of.
They were brought up by a generation that bought it all refrigerated madness A scam, so I don’t blame them for that. But as I approach another holiday home, I wonder if there is a way to break through their brick wall.
Ask permission before getting”the talk”
Lizzie Post, author Top etiquette, and great-granddaughter of famous etiquette expert Emily Post, has some helpful advice for anyone in this situation.
“Ask permission to have the conversation first, which is a tactic we often mention in etiquette when talking about a sensitive topic,” she notes. “Get them involved in the conversation so you don’t just talk to someone but hopefully get a chance to talk to someone.”
Boomers have grown up with decades and decades of anti-cannabis propaganda. This ban mentality doesn’t go away overnight.
Post also points out the strength of your tone of voice and the benefit of stepping back before engaging in calming yourself down and removing any defensiveness from your voice.
“I’m trying to hear in my head the voice I’m looking for before I speak – that might mean taking a minute to collect yourself.” She suggests first verifying their point of view and acknowledging the concerns they have, and then trying to ask for your view on the issue.
“Some people are still closed off, but some will try to strike up a conversation with you.”
Talking about cannabis helps normalization
The other advocate, Sheila Coenen, who runs the podcast Cannabis helps dementia. He has first-hand experience with the challenges of navigating medical cannabis use with a parent.
After years of testing different drugs, the most effective treatment she found for her mother’s dementia diagnosis was cannabis. The best way to talk to your parents about the plant, Coenen noted, is to focus on the “non-intoxicating” benefits.
“Find a story of someone they can relate to who’s benefiting from cannabis in the news, or a study to talk about,” she said. “I also bring an effective topical ointment to get rid of aches and pains, without increasing anyone’s sense of euphoria.”
Post agrees, noting how important it is to see bright examples of cannabis consumers or patients who are successful and happy in life and work.
“My parents have seen cannabis in my life, yet they haven’t seen my work slow down, or my enthusiasm for friendships and socializing slow. A lot of the impression, when drugs or any substance is seen as a bad thing, is because we see them affect life negatively,” she shares Post.
Jessica Mack, a writer and marketing specialist from Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, knew her father smoked weed, but it was something they never talked about. As a teenager, she remembers the smell in the garage that made her realize her father was a smoker, but she never came close to him about it.
It wasn’t until I started writing about cannabis as an adult that he slowly began to open up about its use. Sometimes, stirring up conversation can be a powerful tool for normalization.
“One summer I came home to visit him and he was growing weed in his garden, and he opened that kind of door because he saw I knew what I was talking about already. I bought him weed seeds for Christmas, and now he comes to me for advice on it.”
Ban propaganda had its effect
Boomers grew up at a time when cannabis use was seen as purely recreational— and prohibited.
While some baby boomers have certainly helped remove the stigma of weed, many have fallen prey to the counterculture of all of it, something they can’t necessarily relate to.
“It’s been 60 years since they’ve been told it’s not good,” Post noted. “The people who were out there in their heyday were part of the counterculture movement that was deliberately trying to dress, look, and act differently.”
Post explains how hard it is to expect someone to change their mind right away. Especially after decades of seeing only one representation of what a cannabis consumer looks like. It takes time to see the multifaceted aspects of cannabis and its role in society.
Even after legalization, the refrigerated madness Fear still plays on the repetition in their heads.
“Boomers grew up with decades and decades of anti-cannabis sentiment,” Mac told Leafly. “My father – although he is very pro-cannabis – is still afraid to talk about it on the phone or even mention it in an email.”
“He still calls them ‘tomato plants.’ I asked him if I could get him a little tube as a gift, and he said ‘No, no, no’ because he was really afraid of getting caught with tools and equipment. So I think a lot of baby boomers have all of these. interruptions about it.”
Post’s final wisdom – acknowledging that cannabis is just a plant, it is not inherently bad or good. She explains that there are downsides that are important to acknowledge, especially since it remains illegal in most parts of the world.
Trafficking, crime and people being harmed [prohibition] Bad thing – rationing [can help] Eliminate the bad things that come from it. We have legal guns, alcohol is legal, tobacco is legal, and there are so many so-called “bad” things that are perfectly legal.”
Legalization allows people to be fully educated about the risks and benefits of cannabis, without having to rely on illegal sources.
“It really gets people to understand and see the whole picture—the good, the bad, the ugly, the wonderful, the miracle—it’s all about it,” Post said.
And at the end of the day, that’s really all you can do.
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