Pubdate: Thu, 21 Sep 2017
Source: Gananoque Reporter (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Gananoque Reporter
Author: Michelle Hauser
Page: 6


When it comes tomy son's possible future use of marijuana, I'm not
sure if "It's legal, mom!" will have a material impact on my response.

I have imagined this conversation, and others like it, about life's
many potentially addicting substances and behaviours- alcohol,
prescription and other drugs, gambling, speeding, texting and driving,
pornography, sugar, etc.- because I know the kind of world we live in
today and that the values of the majority are less and less aligned
with the old-fashioned values espoused at my craggy old kitchen table.

Even when those values feel like a fruitless cause that might better
have been taken up in a cloistered community, I try not to give in to
pessimism. There's what happens out there, in the world, and there's
what happens in here, within the walls of my home, and I am happy to
do my part to contribute to a climate of uncomfortable difference
between the two.

Managing the fallout from the legalization of marijuana, and making
sure it doesn't wreak havoc on my son's developing brain, will be an
inside job.

It begins with accepting that the night I discover my son smoked pot
will most likely happen. And as much as I will want to blame the
Trudeau government, I will have to face the reality that such a
conversation was probably unavoidable long before legalization.

This doesn't mean surrender, by the way. My best effort to promote
prevention and abstinence today will still be a best effort. But I'd
be an arrogant fool to think my family, in this highly permissive age,
can escape the inevitability of such an encounter.

And so I imagine that the right words will be helpful someday, and I
lay awake at night trying to come up with them, working on the script
I'll need when my son is older.

Strangely, in my imagined pot play I'm always wearing rollers, even
though I never go to bed with rollers in my hair, and a pink chenille
bathrobe, even though I don't own a pink chenille bathrobe. Joe has
come home late. He smells funny and is acting funny while tearing
through the pantry looking for pita chips.

I start asking questions to which I already know the answers.
Eventually there is yelling and blustering enough to awake my husband
and he, too, stumbles into the kitchen in his blue bathrobe (that
one's for real) and then someone (I can't say who) has the sense to
put the kettle on and eventually we all calm down, take our seats in
the kitchen, sip tea and talk.

If you can wade through all the toolkits and PDFs online about helping
children and youth deal with drugs, legal or otherwise, and all the
potentially toxic non-human friends who will try to make their
acquaintance, talking-starting some kind of dialogue and keeping it
going-seems to be the best remedy.

My son is only 10 years old. Conversations about drugs feel like a
long way away, so right now my one-act play only has cast and
location. When I try to write beyond the aforementioned Trudeau
Exemption, rollers, bathrobes and tea, though, the scene immediately
gets bogged down by a tennis match of contradictory and obfuscating
facts-the same one that has the rest of the world, including the
journalistic community, tied up in knots.

It's a little frightening, actually, that as a writer I could very
easily exploit the startling lack of consensus about the dangers and
risks of marijuana and write an anti-pot column, citing credible
scientific sources that confirm my bias against it. And yet just as
easily, on the very same day, I could write an equally convincing
pro-pot, nothing to see here, column that is also science-based.

The lack of agreed-upon truth is troubling, as is the cultural
tendency to invoke binge-drinking statistics in an attempt to deflect
or, worse still, silence the conversation about the harmful effects of
marijuana on young brains. Binge-drinking is a huge problem, but let's
deal with that as its own problem. If marijuana disproportionately
impacts the teen brain, then for our kids' sake let's get the facts
and the record straight.

My son is a smart kid and will probably be an even smarter teen and
will likely come to our kitchen table someday armed with a mash-up of
blurred truth about why pot isn't a big deal. How we will find common
ground about the dangers of marijuana when conflicting science would
keep us worlds apart scares me even more than the "It's legal, mom!"

Ultimately, my script will need to include some larger wisdom to guide
the narrative, to move us beyond the tennis match into more meaningful
territory. It will have to be a no-holds barred dialogue that
incorporates personal history and brutal honesty about my own family's
reckoning with the realities of recreational substances and addiction-
primarily alcohol and food.

Whatever words I use, in the end, they will be well researched and
they will be my own. Like I said, keeping my kid drug-free is an
inside job.
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