The stoner’s guide to hanging with the folks


You’re a big kid, it’s about to be 2016 — hello, legalization! — and it’s time to stop hiding your perfectly acceptable habits from the ones you love. If the family can have white wine and brown liquor, you’re entitled to green.

Here are our tips for productive conversations about cannabis with your non-consuming loved ones.

To thine own self be true 
Make sure everything is right in your own house before you go green to your family. Are you comfortable with how much marijuana you’ve been consuming and how being high has been making you feel? If the answer is only “kind of,” you might not in the best place to be a cannabis use advocate. Take a pass on discussions that have the potential to be emotionally taxing (maybe you can focus on the inequities of drug sentencing rather than personal habits) … and remember that you can use this trip home to take a break from a steady diet of gravity bongs.  
Choose your moment 
Remember when your mom found the Zig Zags and lighter in your dirty laundry and came at you with (verbal) guns blazing? Let’s not have a dramatic high school throwback moment. Approach these convos from a place of love because your goal is communication, not confrontation. Make sure everyone — including yourself! — is well-rested, sitting down, calm, and fed when you stage your check-in. You want everyone to be in a good place to receive the knowledge that you’re about to drop.
Appear informed, not obsessed 
Wait, but what will you talk about? Positive marijuana news isn’t just for stoners, it’s for anyone who is looking to stay on the ball about what’s happening in global politics. Take a step away from bemoaning the rise of Trump and focus on forward progress: Canada is about to legalize, Mexico just authorized its first medical marijuana patients and recreational users, and in the United States, nearly half of the country has legalized medicinal weed. Not to mention the retail stores in business in Seattle, Denver, and now Portland!
Read up before you go home to have interesting “I’m not a brain-dead stoner” anecdotes to sling about the house. Bonus points if you use one to cover up the awkward silence following the exhibition of your brother’s ambitious new neck tattoo. 

Maintain your chill 
People don’t always agree, and you’re not going to convince everyone of everything. When your uncle starts talking about marijuana killing brain cells, cannabis causing crime, or some other line from Reefer Madness, consider it your advanced-level Zen training. Take deep breaths if things get tense, and remember that really listening to the other person’s concerns can be more important that getting in all of your talking points. Keep in mind you’re trying to counteract a lifetime’s worth of anti-weed propaganda from mass media — and that you are also earning your post-convo smoke.

Be prepared to compromise 
I don’t care if you hate the thought of pie without weed, it’s someone else’s house, they make the rules and you might not get to light up during dessert. If your fam is so incensed you won’t be able to smoke on premises, it might be cute to ask Dad to drive you out to whatever accessible nature or green space is around. This could be the spot you used to drink as a teenager, it could have a view, and it could be the best place for you to talk about how relaxing a nice joint is away from the peanut gallery.

Bonus round: Bribes 
People enjoy presents. Take a page from my friend Martha’s playbook and bring your arthritic grandmother some weed-infused muscle ointment (we like The Original Kind Rub, the 50 ml jar goes for $29 at The Apothecarium, www.apothecariumsf.com). It’s all about showing your love … in the most Machiavellian way possible. And be open and bring enough to share. You may end up seshing with your family — which could be its own world of awkward, for which you’re on your own.

Photo from Dollar Photo Club