With the potential legalization of marijuana in Canada this upcoming July, the message to children about marijuana use is being refurbished. Canada\’s new message to children comes with a handbook and a worthwhile extremely large expense.
The new message to children is not about the legal ramifications of possessing cannabis, but instead about the potential health concerns associated with consumption of recreational marijuana. Education is a form of preventive measure that has long been embraced by the alcohol industry, however underage drinking is still a major concern.
When the federal government announced it was spending an additional $36.4 million over the next five years on cannabis education and awareness, educators realized they faced a big task. Not only would they have to step up efforts to get their message out—they’d also have to revise the message itself.
In June, DFK launched a national campaign to promote a booklet aimed at helping parents learn how to talk to their kids about cannabis. The Cannabis Talk Kit, which was developed in collaboration with Health Canada and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, has drawn positive reviews from parents and healthcare practitioners, said Paris.
In addition to advising parents on how to engage rather than alienate their children while talking about cannabis—describe smoking pot as an unhealthy choice rather than a stupid one, for example—the document also notes that cannabis is a controlled substance under federal law, “meaning that growing, possessing, distributing and selling cannabis for recreational use are illegal.” The booklet warns parents and their children that “if [they] are found possessing cannabis by police, [they] may be subject to arrest, and possible criminal prosecution.” That will have to be revised.
With adult-use legalization of marijuana, the responsibility will fall on parents\’ shoulders to educate their children on the potential health effects of cannabis and exactly why people use cannabis. Do you believe teenagers will seek out their parents\’ stash of marijuana, much like they often do with liquor cabinets, and sneak small amounts of marijuana away hoping their parents will not notice?