How to Properly Address Teaching Kids about Cannabis
With cannabis legalization quickly becoming a reality everywhere in the world, the issue of educating kids has always been a top priority for parents and the government. While in the past, the government thought scaring kids away from drugs would be an effective deterrent, the results showed the opposite to be true.
You can’t lie about a substance and expect that to be enough to make kids not want to do them. All it takes for that approach to fail is for one kid to say, “fuck it, I’m gonna smoke this shit!” and to find that everything they have been taught about the substance was a lie. What else did they lie about?
This brings us to the question, “how do you teach kids about drugs”?
Denver has an idea
Colorado legalized weed back in 2012. Since then, some of the tax money has been dedicated to educating kids about cannabis use. Understanding that D.A.R.E programs like “just say no” did absolutely nothing to deter kids using cannabis, the city of Denver decided to go a different route.
“Weeded Out” is a new approach to educating kids about cannabis from Denver’s Department of Excise and License. The approach is to tell kids the truth about cannabis. Of course, the message is “refrain from smoking while you’re young”, they aren’t showing kids clips of other kids ruined by the evils of marijuana.
Rather, this fact-based approach aims to converse with children as adults. Kids hate being treated like kids. They hate it when the truth is sugar coated. They want to know what’s going on and if you’re not going to tell it to them straight…they’ll go and find out for themselves.
As Ashley Kilroy [The Director of Denver’s Department of Excise and License] said, “We feel like that whole D.A.R.E. campaign, and the Just Say No campaign used scare tactics that didn’t work. We saw that that sort of negative messaging and fear tactics do not work for this group. Youth want to be talked to like adults — they don’t want to be lectured…”
She’s got a point. Kids don’t want to be lectured, they’d much rather play. Thus, turning the learning experience into a Game Show is actually a brilliant idea.
If you guys have been reading my articles over the years, you’d know I’m the type of dude to call out a bullshit approach when I see one. This time, I’m actually pleasantly surprised.
The fact of the matter is that we have to teach kids about drugs irrespective of how you feel about drug use. They will be exposed to it somewhere down the line. Best to be prepared with facts and make an educated decision about their own lives.
Some kids will still try to smoke weed even with these types of educational programs on the books, however many others will make an informed decision to abstain until they are older.
Irrespective of their choices, they would be equipped with factual knowledge about cannabis and cannabis consumption. This is the most the government can do to deter kids from smoking weed, except you know…arresting douchebags who would sell to kids and so forth.
Where Drug Education Should Start
If you have kids, you shouldn’t rely on the government to educate them on drug use. That is your responsibility along with teaching them how to wipe their own asses.
It’s ultimately every parent’s responsibility to prepare their children for life. The government should always only play a minimal supporting role. They can help teach them about facts, but it’s your responsibility to teach them to know what’s beneficial to their lives and what isn’t.
As you know, I’m a major advocate of cannabis. I have been for 20 years. However, I still believe that kids should abstain from these substances until they have established a solid self-identity that can’t be swayed through the use of substances.
Once this core “self” has been established, the individual will begin to make decisions to benefit the self. Think of it in a similar fashion as you denying yourself another drink at the party because you have responsibilities in the morning and don’t want to be hung over.
You understand the core value of your “self” and know your own limitations when it comes to using a particular substance. This is what needs to be taught to kids about drugs. Their limitations.
You have to understand. Drugs are great! It’s a chemical alternative that can temporarily render all your existential problems non-existent. However, this trip doesn’t come without consequence and if you’re ignorant about substances…then you would be ignorant of the consequences.
That’s why I applaud the efforts by Denver with their game show approach. It’s fresh, it’s taking the topic with facts and empowering kids to become informed and learn about their own limitations.
I truly hope it provides some positive results down the road.