Have you been hiding your marijuana use from your parents? Talking to your children about pot could benefit from an open talk with Mom and Dad first. (Kathryn Scott Osler, Denver Post file)

Parenting: The big reveal — Telling Mom and Dad you partake

Opening up to family is an important step for a cannabis consumer. Many people feel closeted by their choice to smoke or eat or vaporize weed. I know I’ve been there, and many of you have written to say you’re there now. I can’t say that it’s well-advised or necessary for everyone to shout from the rooftops about their penchant for pot, especially where marijuana prohibition is still in full force. But I can share thoughts on talking to your fam about using legal marijuana.

Talking to kids about weed is an increasingly popular conversation topic. Fear that your own children will be flooded with negative cannabis propaganda weighs on the minds of pot smoking parents everywhere. But it is important that before you talk to your children about marijuana as a medicine or legal intoxicant that you are able to open up to your own parents and family about your views. Making sure your “company line” is honest and consistent is vital to starting the discussion with your children.

So the first step is declaring to your family that you are what you are: a smoker, or eater, or whatever it is that you do with ganja. That can be the hardest part. How do you talk to your PARENTS about using marijuana? I could compare it to jumping into an ice-cold pool — just close your eyes and do it! It’s almost an out-of-body experience and can be very comical actually. It’s surreal, telling your parents something you’ve been hiding or trying to hide. Finally letting it out is an overwhelming, cathartic and hopefully positive experience.

My family sort of just grew into knowing I smoked weed. In between apartments I stayed with my parents. After their bedtime I would sit in the garage with the door open and smoke a little joint of schwag. They had to have smelled that in the morning. Years later, on a trip home (before my son was even a twinkle in my eye) my husband and I decided that hiding it was no longer something we felt we needed to do.

We simply asked my parents if they would be OK with us having a smoke in the backyard. And it was just fine by them. That simple request opened a floodgate of conversation about cannabis. After finally talking openly about marijuana with my parents, I learned that my mother’s first husband grew weed in their kitchen window, and my father had once been a pot smoker himself.

Chances are if you have a decent relationship with your family members, they are going to accept your marijuana use — as long as you are responsible about it.

Another step should be to give them some marijuana facts to work with. The campaign against cannabis has been in effect since the 1930’s and so much misinformation continues to be spread — including the report of 37 marijuana overdoses in Colorado on Jan. 1 when Colorado’s recreational sales began. So try and provide a little perspective. There are no substantiated reports of someone dying of a marijuana overdose, and it is often regarded as a cure-all.

Explain why you choose marijuana over, or in addition to, all other choices. I don’t like the taste of alcohol, simple enough. So if I drink it I usually slam it down and I’m not great at controlling my intake once I start. Marijuana is the safer option for me as far as recreational use goes. In addition, I utilize the medical values of marijuana as a natural remedy. It makes my tummyaches go away and boosts my appetite, it eases back pain, it helps to calm my overly analytical and anxious mind and it can be prescribed by a doctor.

They will likely have some questions. Some less-experienced family members might have a genuine interest in finding out more information. Give them a chance. They might want to know how you handle your use around your children or how you use cannabis. Be willing to be transparent and honest.

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As an integral part of this discussion, it’s also necessary to outline how you would like marijuana to be discussed around your child. I want my son to know it is a medicine but that adults can use it like alcohol or cigarettes. I don’t think knowing the facts is going to make him any more likely to try it one day. And I believe honesty is the best policy.

Ask that they respect your wishes in regards to how to speak to your children about marijuana. If they are uncomfortable with this, tell them to please defer the child’s queries to you, “that’s something you’ll need to ask your mommy or daddy about.” I don’t think anyone who doesn’t believe in marijuana should be forced to detail its attributes. At the same time I don’t think it’s Grandma’s or Grandpa’s place to form my child’s world view when it’s different than the one I am helping him create.

When it’s all out on the table you should feel confident that your family members are prepared to field any questions your child may have about pot in a way that you approve of. Opening up to your parents can be a positive step toward talking to your own child about marijuana.

This week I will be taking my first step with my son by introducing a book called “It’s Just a Plant.” I hope you will check back next week to see how it went.