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As legal recreational pot goes live in Massachusetts, new questions arise. Should parents who smoke it talk with their kids about pot? Is it OK to smoke in front of them? Also, how does one politely convey one’s rules to visitors, and find out others’ house rules?
Yes, talk to your kids about whether and how you use marijuana, and don’t sneak around like your children are your parents and it’s Nancy Reagan’s 1982 again. Since when do secrets and hypocrisy and stigma ever teach children the right lessons? Since never, that’s when. That doesn’t mean toking up in front of them — from both the parenting and pothead perspectives, there are reasons that might be a bad idea. It does mean age-appropriate honesty.
Marijuana is merely another variable, not a whole new social experiment, so guesting and hosting doesn’t change. Hosts set the house rules and communicate them clearly; guests, like The Dude, abide; and both sides strive to be their best selves. “Please smoke on the porch” remains a good principle, and for the rest of today’s panoply of marijuana-delivery modes, hosts may request that guests use the least noxious. Anyone with kids or dogs needs a stringent security policy around edibles. When your kids visit other people’s homes, ask about marijuana as you would guns or Internet access or swimming pools or any other concern.
Don’t make assumptions about who uses, don’t apologize for your own preference, don’t judge other people’s behavior to their faces, and you won’t have awkward moments.
And haters, take heart! Legalization also means the increased availability of vaporizers, terpene cartridges, tinctures, and many other less-stinky options. Lighting up a big smelly joint may, let’s hope, come to be seen as simply gauche.
Weed etiquette and mores will evolve as the novelty wears off. In the meantime, we can choose to talk openly about marijuana, or continue being weird and paranoid about it. Let’s take the high road!
Miss Conduct is Robin Abrahams, a writer with a PhD in psychology.