It’s official: cannabis is now legal in Canada (can’t wait to see what this does for our tourism industry). Stores are popping up in plazas everywhere as people settle into the new times.
As a step-mom to a teenage boy, I’ve been curious as to how this would affect parenting strategy and school policies. Are parents talking about it? Do we leave it to the teachers?
In our home, we’re talking an open-door-policy approach to it all. We’re trying to talk openly and candidly about the transition to legalization so that it’s not that “elephant in the room” so to speak. My husband and I talk about it, with our teenager in the room, so he hears us discussing why the law changed and how different strands exist etc.
Essentially, whether you like it or not, weed is now in the same category as alcohol. It’s in stores, people can buy it, and anyone (of age) is free to smoke it anywhere that you’re allowed to smoke cigarettes. So there’s no point in trying to battle the change. The key is to adapt to the shift in societal norm.
As a mom, I don’t want to pretend as though nothing changed because it did. There are important conversations to have with kids as part of your parental responsibility. Think of cannabis like sexual intimacy and alcohol. If you bury your head in the sand and pretend it doesn’t exist for your kids, it doesn’t stop it from happening. Take a pro-active approach and talk openly about it. Discuss medical benefits, what happens when you consume it etc.
Curiosity among today’s young adults/teens is what will likely propel them to investigate it. So try to take away some of that mystery. I’m not saying, go smoke a joint with them, but I am suggesting that you make your home a safe place to discuss and explore things.
We received this note from our local school board and figured we share it with you all as some extra information:
How Does This Legislation Apply to Schools?
Cannabis remains illegal for anyone under 19 years of age. It is also illegal to provide cannabis to someone under the age of 19. This is the same as the minimum age for the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Ontario.
The Cannabis Act stipulates that it is not permitted to smoke or vape cannabis:
- at school, on school grounds, and all public areas within 20m of these grounds
- on children’s playgrounds and public areas within 20m of playgrounds
- in child care centres, or where an early years program is provided
- in places where home child care is provided – even if children are not present
Code of Conduct
From our perspective, this new legislation does not change how we currently address the issue of cannabis in our schools. Our existing policies and procedures provide the necessary steps for schools to follow when students are found to be in possession of or under the influence of drugs. There is a review cycle in place for all policies and procedures, and we routinely look at our policies and amend them, as needed, in light of changing legislation.
The Student Code of Conduct outlines expectations of student behaviour, including consequences related to drugs and alcohol. Our staff have the safety and well-being of our students in mind at all times and will continue to ensure that students are aware of the dangers and repercussions of drug use.
The following resources provide facts about cannabis, risk factors associated with use, and ways to engage youth in the conversation about cannabis.
I hope this helps alleviate any concerns you may have regarding the impact of this new legislation on our schools.