“Sit down, son. I’d like to talk to you about a difficult subject. No, not sex. No, not why all the rock stars are dying off. I want to talk to you about marijuana. Now that it’s legal in Canada, you may be tempted to try it for the first time.
“When you finish chuckling, we’ll continue.
“Now, I have a lot of experience with marijuana. I’m not saying I ever tried it. That would be wrong, because it used to be illegal to possess marijuana. But it’s also wrong to lie, so I’m not saying I haven’t tried marijuana either. There is a possibility that I may or may not have tried marijuana at some point in my life, either on purpose or by accident. Let’s leave it that it is within the realm of possibility that someone may have pushed me mouth-first against some burning marijuana-like substance at some time.
“What I really mean by ‘experience’ is that I’ve lived my whole life being told pot is dangerous and wrong and the worst thing you can possibly do to break your mother’s heart, because everyone knows that smoking pot leads to brain damage and art school.
“But now, all of a sudden, marijuana is legal, and everything I thought I knew is untrue. Or only half true. Or still true but not important. Just one more thing I need to get used to, like gender-neutral bathrooms and President Trump.
“I can’t stop you from smoking marijuana but I can dissuade you, although that didn’t have much effect when it came to your piercings.
“Anyway, just because you can buy marijuana doesn’t mean you should buy marijuana. Why not? Because it’s a drug, and all drugs are dangerous. Yes, that’s true, I did let you start having a little wine at Christmas when you were 14. And, yes, also true that we probably got you addicted to caffeine by caving in to those slick promotions for iced cappuccinos and other training coffees. But we never let you smoke! Aha! Marijuana is a dangerous drug like cigarettes, except smoking cigarettes is socially acceptable and marijuana isn’t. Or is it the other way around now…?
“What’s important is knowing what you’re getting into with marijuana. For instance, not everyone responds the same way. For some, there’s an overwhelming feeling of well-being, while for others there can be a heightened sense of paranoia. Granted, now that I think about it, buying an illegal drug behind a Seven-11 from some sketchy guy who’s in his eighth year of high school and may have laced your pot with Dustbane, maybe that’s where the paranoia came from…
“But, yes, there are many risks involved with marijuana, which I’m sure the federal government will inform us about through campaigns paid through taxes reaped from the sale of pot. It’s especially risky for young people. Yeah, I know you’re not a kid anymore. But just because you’re 25 doesn’t mean you’re making good decisions. Remember, the brain doesn’t finish fully developing until age 21. And then – whoosh! – it’s a quick decline to stupid again. I make more and more bad decisions every day. Starting this conversation is probably one of them…
“Actually, if my brain is declining anyway, it could at least decline with a dopey grin on my face…
“Wait. Who? Me? Start smoking pot? I have a hard enough time concentrating as it is, and I already watch too much TV. And the thought of eating all those Cheetos…
Still, I do have a lot of aches and pains, and glaucoma does run in the family. Plus, I wouldn’t be doing anything illegal… so… maybe?
Just, please, don’t tell your grandmother.
A version of this piece originally aired on CBC Radio’s “Breakaway.”