Kids and pot

I am a cannabis user. My kids are old enough now to ask me about marijuana. What is the best way to talk to them about cannabis?

—High Dad

For far too long in mainstream American culture, pot smokers have had to hide their cannabis use from just about everyone. Your parents, your children, your pastor and your square friends all had to be prevented from knowing that you like to smoke a little weed. Someone snitching to your boss or the cops, or your kids inadvertently spilling the beans at school or church are all very valid concerns. Fortunately, the tide is changing.

In parts of Washington, the D.A.R.E. program no longer includes marijuana in its curriculum. This is not true everywhere (yet), but it’s a step in the right direction. Weed is finally starting to be treated like alcohol, with people understanding that moderate use is fine for adults and a no-no for children.

In a recent interview with E! Online, the rapper and chronic marijuana user Wiz Khalifa, expecting his first child with model Amber Rose, had this to say: “I’m not going to be smoking right there over the baby, because smoke in general and being high is not good for a kid. None of that. But definitely he’s going to know what it is—and he’ll know the difference between being a child and not being able to use it and being an adult and knowing how to use it.”

And that is really the point. Be honest with your kids. My kids know I smoke weed. They don’t like the smell at all, and I don’t smoke it in their presence, but they know what it is and how it works.

A good resource for young children is the book It’s Just a Plant by Ricardo Cortés ( This book does a great job of explaining the history and uses of the cannabis plant in a way that children can understand.

My girl and I like to go out together, and we have a great time, but here’s the thing: I have no problem walking down the street smoking a joint or a blunt, but it makes her uncomfortable. She thinks it’s unrefined and rude to people that don’t use weed. I argue that I should be able to smoke pot just about wherever I want, and that getting high before we go eat or see a movie is my God-given right as an American. Who’s right?

—Proud of My Loud

You could always get a portable vaporizer. While I agree that pot smoke should fill the air, I can see how many people get upset by the smell of any kind of smoke, be it tobacco or pot. I love it when I walk into a club or concert hall and smell weed in the air. It lets me know that the evening’s festivities will most likely be chill and nonviolent. But your girl has a point. California has an open-container law to prevent people from walking down the street swigging booze. Should they also have some sort of “open pot burner” law? Readers? What is the best way to deal with smoking weed in public?