What’s the best way to talk to your child about marijuana?

With cannabis due to become legal in Canada next year, some parents may be concerned about how to talk to their kids about the drug.

Geraint Osborne, a sociologist at the University of Alberta, has twin 17-year old boys and says it doesn’t have to be a difficult conversation.

The key is to start early, he told the Alberta Morning News on Sunday.

“It becomes kind of more of a gradual topic of conversation [that way],” he explained.

“It doesn’t seem as daunting that way if you’re kind of introducing them to little pieces of the equation. That’s the way I find is easiest to go about doing this.”

Osborne said his boys opened the dialogue by coming to him with questions, and he responded by giving them basic ground rules for responsible cannabis use.

But if you aren’t sure where to start, Osborne advises to educate yourself first.

“Do a little digging around, find some evidence-based information — you don’t want to resort to that ‘reefer madness’ kind of information that is out there. So there are a lot of online sources at[parents’] disposal these days.”

When actually talking to your kids about cannabis, Osborne said it’s just as important to highlight the pros along with the cons, like the benefits of medical marijuana.

The easiest way is to explain to your children to use cannabis responsibly like you would with alcohol, and to determine what constitutes responsible use.

“And that should be the same kind of discussion parents are having already with their kids around alcohol,” Osborne said.

“So, using in moderation, using in a safe place, not driving under the influence, knowing what kind of product you’re using. And obviously don’t let your use of the substance interfere with your day-to-day responsibilities.”

The federal government intends to legalize marijuana by July 2018.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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