Dear Annalee,

I’m a middle school counselor and am more than appalled at the lack of oversight some parents have regarding their children and cannabis. Perhaps these parents don’t get it, so I’m writing to you to help pass this important information along.

Cannabis GummiesRecently, a couple of kids (on 2 different occasions) were giving out THC gummies to their friends. These are 12-year-olds! They all had to be taken to the hospital. Thankfully, they are all okay.

We found that, in both instances, these children found and raided their parents’ stash – without their knowledge or consent. Twelve years old is just too young to experiment with any kind of medication or recreational (legal or illegal) drugs.

Now I am no novice to cannabis. In fact, truth be told, I occasionally share a joint with my wife and friends. But the importance of parents protecting their kids seems like it’s being taken too lightly.

Can you please spread the word that parents need to keep their weed and booze under lock and key?

– Protect your kids

Dear P.Y.K.,

You are right. As a rule, children should not have access to cannabis. (Unless your child has been prescribed cannabis as a solution for epilepsy or some other illness, children should not have access to cannabis.) And, I say this as someone who started their own use at the age of 13. But that’s a different story.

We are in a transition. While it is socially acceptable to have an alcoholic drink in front of your child, it is not socially acceptable to take a hit off your bong or joint. Not yet, at least. It’s fantastic that you added booze to your suggestion. Both alcohol and cannabis should be off-limits to your children.

My opinion is based on whether weed is legal in your state.

In legal states, if you choose to smoke weed (as you would a cocktail) in front of your kids, it’s vital to explain responsible adult usage to your children. It is your responsibility to relay how this is an adult activity and that it is not for kids. Relay that when they are old enough, they get to make their own decisions, but for now ‘hands off’. Just as you do for alcohol!

In states where cannabis is illegal, you should abstain from exposing your children to your illegal activity of using the awesome weed. You are modeling behavior and clearly, using an illegal substance, no matter how great, is ill-advised.

I strongly encourage cannabis-using parents to responsibly normalize their cannabis use. Talk with them about it in age-appropriate terms.

From my point of view, both alcohol and cannabis should be treated equally and at all levels. We are slowly moving in this direction. But we are not there yet. Responsible parenting regarding all drugs, will help your children in the long run.

Keep Your Cannabis Securely Stored

Parents: Keep ALL your cannabis products (and alcohol) under lock and key when you are not using them. Aside from the horror stories about child protective services taking children away from their families, it’s your duty to protect your child. And they are just kids. Children are naturally curious. Instinctively they will see you and mimic you.

Dear Annalee is written by AnnaLee Xander.

Annalee cuts through the BS to offer solid and timely advice in this complex world of ours.

Email Annalee with your questions. While we read all of our emails, it is impossible to personally respond to each letter.