Dear Grandparenting: My grandson has discovered marijuana. We live in Massachusetts where pot is legal, so it’s harder to argue against using it.
Last weekend I was having my usual vodka tonic before dinner. My grandson comes in, sits himself down and lights up a joint. “We’re both enjoying a legal high,” he told me in between puffs. “It’s just different strokes for different folks, Grandpa.”
My big mistake was letting him drink the occasional beer before he was of legal age. He’s heard the stories about my drinking escapades when I was underage. So I would be a big hypocrite to turn around and lecture him about pot. He’s 17, not old enough yet to buy pot himself, but knows how to get it.
Me and a million other grandparents experimented with pot at some point growing up. I understand marijuana is many times stronger now. Any advice? Ronnie Lieberman, Boston, MA
Dear Ronnie: The floodgates have opened across America. More than half the states have decriminalized marijuana, and voters in Michigan, Missouri, and Utah have newly decided to legalize some form of marijuana. Possession of small amounts is being treated like a traffic offense in more jurisdictions.
Pot was already the most commonly used illicit drug. It’s not going away, but bears little resemblance to the marijuana multitudes of grandparents smoked.
Marijuana contained about 1 percent of the mind-altering ingredient THC in the 1970s. Now it’s closer to 10 percent, equivalent to your grandson drinking 10 beers instead of one. Many batches test out for higher THC levels, some exceeding 20 percent.
At those levels, marijuana ceases to be “recreational” and morphs into an intoxicant. Who wants to encounter young drivers stoned out of their minds on the road? The science about marijuana’s impact on the still-forming brains of youth should scare users straight.
What can you do? Educate and perseverate. Make it your mission to make grandchildren fully aware of the dangers before they become habituated, emphasizing the risks for young users. Narcotics Anonymous meetings are one place to start, and the internet contains a wealth of material on this topic. If we knew then what we know now, we suspect many grandparents would have sat it out and not so indulged.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Roberta Morton from Bakersfield, California, was watching the clouds roll by with granddaughter Anne as they finished their ice cream cones.
“I’m not sure how clouds get made,” said her granddaughter out of the blue, “but clouds know how to do it and that’s the important thing.”
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.