At one point before legalization, 4/20 Day was a significant counterculture protest in Canada.
Since legalization, the marijuana industry has become a growing business and 4/20 celebrations are an opportunity to promote the industry and its products.
It’s similar to alcohol companies using St. Patrick’s Day or Canada Day to push new products and brands.
The events in Vancouver can often bring local celebrities, influencers, and companies pushing brands and products. It’s hard to ignore these events’ influence as the industry continues to grow.
Parents should be aware of this and have constructive conversations with their kids about marijuana and its associated risks.
“Age matters the first time someone uses marijuana. Prevention and education efforts are effective. It can ultimately prevent drug use altogether. It also provides reliable information to help people make informed decisions,” said Marcel Gemme, owner and founder of Addicted.org.
Statistically, British Columbia students reported the fourth-highest prevalence of cannabis use in Canada. One in three grade 7 to 12 students reported using it once or more per week.
The conversations that parents have with their kids about marijuana can have a real tangible impact. Consider some of the following tips:
• Lots of little talks are more effective than one big talk. Talking often also helps build trust and a stronger relationship.
• When speaking about underage marijuana use, make your rules and values clear. It’s OK to disapprove and reinforce why they should avoid it.
• Be a reliable source of factual information. Listen to their opinions and answer their questions. The conversation goes both ways.
• Avoid lecturing, threatening, or using scare tactics.
• Lead by example; actions speak louder than words.
• Help them build skills to avoid and manage peer pressure.
Teens are more likely to avoid underage marijuana use when they have a strong and trusting relationship with their parents. Get into the habit of chatting with them regularly.
The reality is that THC has addictive properties that young developing brains are more susceptible to. The teen brain is actively developing and continues to develop until age 25. There is an increased risk of mental health issues and addiction when marijuana is used at this age.
4/20 Day is not as widely celebrated in Canada as in the USA. Still, most major cities have large events taking place, especially in Vancouver. These conversations have a real tangible impact and help teens later in life make responsible choices.
Jody Boulay is a mother of two with a passion for helping others. She currently works as a Community Outreach cordinator for Addicted.org to help spread awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.