Gail Williams (gail) Wed 23 Mar 05 20:55
I posted that partly because Croz's post made me think of all the books about sex, and divorce, and gay parents, and other situations that are not easy to explain to kids, but not about pot, and not about drugs.
No hablo Greenspaņol (sd) Thu 24 Mar 05 07:18
excellent. the idea of taboo subjects between parents and children should be taboo. thanks for kicking this door open, ricardo.
Ricardo Cortes (ricardocortes) Thu 24 Mar 05 07:48
Indeed the notion of a taboo subject between a parent and their child is sad and frightening; that's one reason I knew I had to do this book. Not only have I found parents having 'difficulties' in talking to their kids about pot, but I found parents who felt absolutely stifled. The atmosphere of information surrounding marijuana education is so doomsday scenario... parents who have had a altogether more mild (even pleasureable?) experience fear stepping over a line of candor that so few seem willing to do (I'll get to one reason why in the next paragraph). The very fact that an earlier post was made anonmyously struck me as very telling of the situation. Why must adults be so secretive when admitting the realities of their marijuana use and their often positive experiences? Of course, because of the legalities surrounding this issue and the fact that parents can go to jail and lose custody over their children over this! It's a critical, critical situation. The other reason parents are so hesitant, is the fear that being honest will "open the door" to drug use and encourage their child to experiment (this was Bush's justification for hiding his own use; "Dad, the President smoked weed, why can't I?"). Still, I think Gail's excellent story above highlights my belief that children will in fact be more responsible with more info, not more carefree. I believe there is a way to safely educate children about drugs by satisfying their intellectual curiosity but without piquing an interest to try them. Next post I'm going to talk a little bit about the organizations currently in charge of marijuana education (Office of National Drug Control Policy, et al..), and how THAT seems to be working.
Ricardo Cortes (ricardocortes) Fri 25 Mar 05 10:52
Wow! Time flies, and it seems as if my time here at the Well is up. Thank you for the opportunity to speak about my book, "It's Just a Plant." I had fun and enjoyed your questions and comments. For my last entry, I thought I'd post the formal response that I submitted to the Congressional Record. It came as a response to Congressman Mark Souder, who picked up my book before a subcommittee hearing on drug policy at Capitol Hill and blasted it for "encouraging marijuana use for children." I think the piece sums up my feelings pretty well, and also points out a bit of the failures of contemporary models of marijuana education. Here it is.. and thanks again for speaking with me here at the Well. Ricardo ______ In response to Congressman Souder's allegation (2/16/05) that my book, It's Just a Plant, advocates marijuana use to children, I respectfully respond with a statement to the contrary. It's Just a Plant provides information to children about marijuana. My objective is not to promote marijuana use. In fact, I believe we will deter early use and abuse of drugs by opening channels of communication between children and their parents. It's Just a Plant explicitly addresses the potential harm of drug abuse and insists that marijuana is something not to be experimented with by children. Nevertheless, most children will encounter marijuana in their lives and I believe they should be prepared with a thorough education about it. Some might argue that the federal government is already doing an effective job in educating children about marijuana. In fact, recent advertising campaigns by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONCDP) contain extensive misinformation passed on as "drug facts." Websites sponsored by ONDCP such as Freevibe.com, theantidrug.com and Drugstory.org preach against marijuana with blatant disregard to scientific data, putting morality and politics before the ultimate health and safety of our children. One headline posted on Drugstory.org ("Hard Facts. Real Stories. Informed Experts.") is "Marijuana Smoker Beheads Two Women." This type of sensational fable should have been discarded in the years of "Reefer Madness." Freevibe.com states, "[Marijuana] can make you look like a gritball. People who smoke dope can look a little-well, skeazy." Is this "drug education"? More importantly, how do such scare-tactics affect our children when they grow to learn of the inaccuracies of "drug facts"? Targeting youth with misleading information is irresponsible and dangerous. Intimidation is a weak substitute for education; at worst, the method creates false understandings of drug use and is counterproductive in alleviating abuse. One alternative is reality-based drug education, which, as researcher Dr. Marsha Rosenbaum explains, provides honest, science-based information, distinguishes between the use and abuse of mind-altering substances, and puts safety first. It's Just a Plant is modeled as such; it is a story for all concerned people who want to be involved in an honest education about the effects, the dangers and even the potential benefits of adult marijuana use. Some are trying their first "hit" of marijuana at 10 or 11 years old, and awareness of the plant begins even earlier for many. I prefer that a child's first awareness of drugs come from dialogue with their parents. I believe there is a way to safely educate children about drugs by satisfying their intellectual curiosity but without piquing an interest to try them. It's Just a Plant is a vehicle for parents to use as such in conversations with their children. Hopefully, we can help lower instances of drug abuse amongst our youth, and perhaps even aim to stop the crime and violence associated with the prohibiton of marijuana. Surely, Congressman Souder and I are in agreement with these important goals.
virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Sat 26 Mar 05 05:27
Ricardo, thank you for joining us this fortnight. It really has flown by, you're right. Although the "spotlight" has shifted to a new discussion, this one will stay open, and you're welcome to hang around here as long as you'd like to continue this conversation. Thanks, again, to all of you who have contributed here.
Gail Williams (gail) Sat 26 Mar 05 11:08
It's been great!
David Gans (tnf) Mon 28 Mar 05 09:03
I hope you'll stick around, Ricardo!
No hablo Greenspaņol (sd) Tue 29 Mar 05 15:34
Me, too. You think funny. I like that.
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