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Should I talk to my kids about cannabis?
The answer is an overwhelming yes. Parents NEED to talk to their kids about cannabis. Children are learning about marijuana from a variety of sources, and those sources are VERY contradictory.
Cannabis is now legal in more than half the United States. Many children do, or will, know someone who benefits from medical marijuana. They see firsthand the substance is NOT deadly or devastating but instead offers benefits.
Kids also see cannabis use occurring without serious consequence across the media. Elon Musk smoked it on TV, and casual cannabis use is common in many TV shows. Even political figures like Corey Booker have come out against prohibition.
DARE’s Official Position about Cannabis
I have heard countless horror stories of DARE officers teaching alarmist and alienating propaganda to family members of medical marijuana patients. Unfortunately, this is psychologically damaging to the individual student because it risks alienating them from their family members. Additionally, it ostracizes the affected student and creates an environment ripe for isolation and institutionalized bullying.
I knew for sure there was a problem when I opened DARE’s resources page and saw a photo of my friend, Elise McRoberts, featured alongside a prohibitionist article with an unflattering headline.
If you would like to know exactly what DARE teaches about marijuana, here is DARE’s official position statement on cannabis. It’s not pretty. The paper is filled with flat-out irresponsible information and alarmist propaganda warnings, including support for the debunked theory that cannabis leads to more serious drug use.
DARE Teaches Against Medical Marijuana
One of the most disturbing parts of DARE’s curriculum is that they teach AGAINST medical marijuana. Their position paper states, “Marijuana may contain medical components like opium does. But we don’t smoke opium to get the effects of Morphine. Similarly, we don’t need to smoke marijuana to get its potential benefit.” They go on to instruct students to rely on synthetics, specifically Marinol which has shown to be ineffective.
This educational organization is teaching kids to ignore doctors orders. Not every patient can effectively metabolize oral cannabis. Some people DO need to smoke marijuana to get its medical effects.
DARE’s Propaganda Worksheet
DARE also provides a supplemental worksheet about marijuana for students. Recently, I’ve seen this propaganda worksheet make it’s way to NJ classrooms. Unfortunately, it’s filled with falsities and inaccuracies. Here’s the original Propaganda Worksheet.
DARE Alternative Worksheet for Families
And here is a DARE Alternative worksheet filled with actual facts and important information that kids should know about cannabis.
Print it out and use it as a guide to discuss the topic with your children.
1) Illegal; 2) Medicine; 3) Amounts, strains; 4) Brain development; 5) Smoking; 6) 400; 7) 80; 8) Doctor; 9) Panic attacks
Cannabis Education in Health Class
Keep in mind, even younger students in the pre-DARE grades are routinely exposed to cannabis propaganda.
The first exposure is usually during second or third-grade health class. It’s important for children to be taught about drug and alcohol dangers, the problem is most public school health books are severely outdated. In addition, teachers have been taught to exclusively reiterate the same ineffective propaganda that has been taught for the last 80 years.
This practice is detrimental to students and is alienating to medical marijuana patients and their families.
Not Talking to Kids About Cannabis is Dangerous
The education kids receive in school, combined with the facts kids see in the media and reality, create cognitive dissonance. This cognitive dissonance causes a lack of trust regarding all the content being taught about drugs and alcohol.
A friend of mine’s son has been battling heroin addiction. He’s only in his early twenties and thankfully he’s in recovery and doing well. But as his mom discussed the topic with him, she was taken aback when he explained how he hadn’t realized heroin was far more dangerous than cannabis. He’d been taught the fake-facts about cannabis, he saw they were fake, and this led him to assume that the teachings surrounding heroin were equally false.
This story demonstrates how not providing fact-based education can be dangerous.
Kids Need to be Prepared for Propaganda
If you’re a medical marijuana patient, it’s extremely important to prepare your child for the propaganda they’ll face in school so that when they’re provided with inaccurate information by uniformed police officers and trusted teachers, they won’t be mentally and emotionally traumatized.
Please talk to your kids about cannabis and be sure to use & store your cannabis responsibly.