DON’T SMOKE THE MESSENGER: Talking to your kids about the birds and the bees…and the weeds
On a planet, not too different than ours, a young girl’s parents are gardeners. They grow a special plant many revere for its medicinal properties, as well as for the way it makes them “feel silly,” but the “Kings” think it is bad. And so is the story of “The Gloops and the Special Plant,” a children’s book by J.R. Fox, written to broach the subject of discussing cannabis with children.
It’s a story that hits home for many Southern Oregon families. From parents that grow cannabis, to ones who use it for pain relief, or simply enjoy it the same way one would a glass of wine, many are doing their best to find a reasonable way to explain it to their children.
Fox describes one of the inspirations for the book: a friend expressed discomfort at having their children over because they knew cannabis was present in the home. It struck Fox that there would likely be no qualms if there was knowledge of wine or whiskey in the cupboard. With a background as a children’s behavioral therapist, Fox set out to create a tool to help parents talk to their kids about weed, in an entertaining format. The main goal: cannabis is a plant of many uses, is a normal part of some families’ lives, and it does not need to be feared.
A follow up book about safety is planned to be released in January. “The Gloops and the Special Plant” is currently available at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland, at a variety of dispensaries around the Valley, as well as on Amazon.
For many, talking to children about cannabis is important so they can avoid it, just as they would avoid alcohol or pharmaceutical drugs, especially since some edibles look exactly like the yummy treats. This is the first generation of children in recent US history that won’t be living under marijuana prohibition. As Rep. Peter Buckley stated at the recent Oregon Marijuana Business Conference in Ashland, federal legalization will be here sooner than any of us expect. There are currently 23 states, plus Washington DC, that have Medical Marijuana programs. Mexico just announced that marijuana is now decriminalized for adult consumption and cultivation.
Regardless of the substance, children will know what is okay or not by the behaviors they see in the adults in their lives. Straightforward conversation from parents is the most effective way. Responsible behavior to keep children safe from accidental consumption, or from learning bad habits early are also up to parents. Sites like The Parents Corner on Fox’s website thegoopsandthespecialplant.com, or other books like “It’s Just a Plant” by Ricardo Cortés, author of “Go the Fuck to Sleep”, can offer useful tools and resources to help parents find the appropriate way to frame the conversation.