Adult-use recreational cannabis legalization is getting closer in Canada. Does this mean that come the summer, we’ll all be reveling with joint in hand? Not quite. There are still many of us who don’t divulge our use for many reasons. One of the most prevalent hesitations is due to the stigma that has become intertwined with cannabis use, and older generations have lived through this stigma longest. And because of this, your family might not be so keen to hear you light up, regardless of the frequency. Yet we now live in an age where more information is becoming available about the plant and its many functions, so there’s no better time to talk with your loved ones about why you consume cannabis.
“Cannabis has been a major part of my life for about 30 years,” said Elan Rae, known by some in the industry as the cannabis whisperer due to his deep knowledge of and experience with the plant. “My mom was a hippie. She wasn’t really a user but a lot of her friends were, so cannabis was never stigmatized at home.”
His early experimentation has led to a successful 12-year career in the legal cannabis space. Elan is the co-founder of Oakland’s pioneering Harborside Health Center, and has provided operational support on 15 plus dispensaries. As Director of Sourcing for Marley Natural, he worked on marketing, sales, and distribution under the brand umbrella. Now Elan is consulting for the new U.S regulatory markets, and continuing to lend his expertise to the conversation around cannabis. If pot has become part of your life and you’re ready to share the news, Elan offers five tips for broaching the subject.
5 Tips for Coming Out
Educate and relate.
Ask your family members what they know about cannabis. Help dispel some of the myths by showing them facts and evidence about cannabis consumption and its merits. Share some recommended reading, including The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness, written by Steve DeAngelo – the founder of the Harborside Health Center.
Compare and contrast.
Remind them of what people generally do, such as consuming intoxicating substances like alcohol, tobacco and other prescription drugs. Discuss the effects that those substances have, and how cannabis is different, helping rather than harming many health conditions. Alcohol depresses the brain and slows down muscle coordination, reflexes, movement, and can harm the body over time. Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals and poisons – including toxins found in rat poisoning, battery acid, and rocket fuel. Other prescription drugs can limit your judgment, become highly addictive, and negatively impact your body.
Explain and converse.
Explain your level of responsibility. Talk about what products you’re using, and their potency, and why you’re using them.
Tell them where you get your herb and what it does for you. People are often unaware of the various effect of cannabis, and that many use it for health and therapeutic reasons, not simply for recreational purposes. If you’re comfortable, show them your products. Recommend they read Dan Michael’s book Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana, with a section describing the variations of lineage, and mental or physical highs that characterize certain strains, and Steve Elliott’s The Little Black Book of Marijuana: The Essential Guide to the World of Cannabis, which clarifies some of the legal and health issues associated with cannabis use.
Share and tell.
Ask them to share specific experiences in their lives – of trying things their parents were unaware of, perhaps – to help arrive at a better level of understanding.
Respect and learn.
Respect their concerns and ask how you can make them feel more comfortable with your usage. Tell them about successful people who openly endorse cannabis and consume it, including Whoopi Goldberg, Frances McDormand, Bill Maher, Susan Sarandon, Morgan Freeman, and the late Maya Angelou.
Story by Anicée Gaddis
Illustration by Elena Boils
The preceding is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to condone the use or consumption of cannabis. For more information, please refer to our disclaimer.