As cannabis becomes increasingly popular, more parents are partaking. According to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2002 to 2015, 7 percent of parents used cannabis in the last month (up from 5 percent in 2002). The survey also reported that fewer parents are smoking cigarettes. But those who already had a cigarette habit were four times as likely to use cannabis as well.
Although cannabis is considered safer than some common household products (industrial strength cleaners, prescription medicines, etc.), parents should take extra precautions to store cannabis safely. Keep in mind that pets are also at risk for accidental consumption and the following tips can help prevent a trip to the vet.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
One of the dangers of edibles is that they often come in flavors that would appeal to children – brownies, gummies, chocolates – can all tempt kids. Store cannabis, especially edibles in area that can’t be easily accessed by children. Choose high cabinets or shelves and consider getting childproof containers.
In 2011, Colorado made progress by requiring childproof packaging for cannabis products. These locking lids, jars and bags were required to be difficult for a child to open yet not too difficult for someone with mobility issues. This unique design challenge led to a line of slick and useful package design and containers with resealable zippers and screw top caps.
This year, lawmakers in California added that cannabis products should come in tamper-evident packaging – similar to the blister packs that hold prescription medicine – and not have labelling that is “attractive to children.”
But, if you grow your own cannabis or cut your edibles in half to save them for later, it makes sense to invest in childproof containers of your own. Store these containers away from kid-friendly snacks and clearly label them to avoid confusion among adult guests.
Out of Bounds Areas
Confine cannabis to certain areas and restrict use to certain times. Consider using cannabis in only one area of the house like the porch or your bedroom and setting a time when it’s permissible. If your cannabis-safe zones are the porch after the children are in bed, there’s less of a chance that a little one will accidentally happen upon a joint.
Make sure other adults and houseguests follow the rules you’ve outlined for cannabis use in your home. Offer childproof containers to your guests and let them know when and where they can use cannabis.
Talk About It
When your children are old enough, talk to them about cannabis. Although studies suggest that “Just Say No” programs aren’t effective at reducing drug use. These zero-tolerance policies became popular in the 1980s during the federal government’s “war on drugs, “ most famously the D.A.R.E program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education).
Talking early and often about drug use and addiction can help reduce substance abuse among teens. Cannabis is readily available and it’s likely teens will be exposed to and have access to before college. Providing accurate information about cannabis will help keep children safe after the childproof containers are no longer necessary.