Monday, February 10, 2014

But what about the children!?

First off--if you are kind enough to follow my blog...I apologize that I have been delayed in writing this post. Im sure there are thousands, if not millions of you, anxiously awaiting each and every post :).
But, truth is--I have been drinking from the proverbial firehose. Ive described being in this business as a little like being stoned--nothing is linear. There are a million thoughts, ideas, opportunities swirling around in your head all day long. And it makes me want to put my head on a pillow and go to sleep by the time Im done with the day.

But, that's not what THIS post is about. No, this post is about the kids. I mentioned in my first update that this move was a difficult decision. And it was made worse by the discussion with my two boys (I didnt share it with daughter who is five). Im here to tell you that our schools/public education systems must be doing a good job because when I finally broached the subject of my job change with the kids, they responded with tears. Actual tears. No doubt about it in their minds..drugs are bad, m'kay? They were so upset that I was actually going to be doing something so horrible. They were fearful for me, and the stigma around how people might treat me. And they also had some slightly irrational fears--would I contaminate them by bringing drugs into our house? Would I become a drug addict? Would I smell like it? And of course, fears for themselves--what would the kids at school say? My 12 yr old went so far as to tell me he used to be proud to say to his friends that his Dad's company did X, Y or Z ad campaign or billboard. And that now he would be ashamed. Yeah. It was that bad.

But, as I felt the pangs of guilt, and questioned my decision based on my two crying boys who I love dearly...I had a vision of the conversation I would have with my older boy when he was 21, marijuana is federally legal and is huge business and I say to him "yeah..I almost got in on the ground floor of that industry, but you guys said not to, so I didnt." And he would look at me with even greater incredulity than when I told him I was going into the business and he would say to me "What the hell is the matter with you? Why would you take career advice from a 12 yr old??"  

Thus, I came to my decision despite their objections. But here's the good news--they know that drugs are bad and not for them. And yes, actions speak much louder than words. Which got me to thinking about the messages we send our kids about not just marijuana, but alcohol as well. That my wife and I dont give it a second thought to bring them into the liquor store, to open a bottle of wine with dinner, to drink a few glasses of bourbon or vodka over the weekend (ok..not every weekend mind you). I began to notice how bomarded they are with commercials, sports sponsorships, billboards, etc. advertising the glory of alcohol. Suddenly, not only was I hyper aware of my own behavior, but I also felt compelled to shield them from everything else they are exposed to.

The bottom line is this. While Nancy Grace, and the awesome SNL parody that followed were both a little over the top in regards to kids and marijuana--it is a real concern. And one that I share as a parent of three. Whats ironic is just how many other parents with young children I have met in the industry--most of whom are responsible, loving parents (so far as I can tell). Being in the business now actually forced me to have a dialogue with my kids about marijuana. A good conversation that we continue to dialogue about as they see things about the NFL looking at it as potential replacement for opiates; or they hear/see more and more stories on the news (some of which now star daddy...:).

The point is this--Dixie Elixirs, and Joe Hodas, are both very much for public education, for proper packaging and safety precautions related to kids, and for a hard-line approach to "adult use only" for those 21 and over. However, with personal freedom comes personal responsibility. Each of us, whether we are marijuana consumers or not, should be keenly aware of the messages we are sending our kids either through active behavior or the sin of omission.

We as individuals, together with government, companies and marketing/advertising...are ultimately responsible for our children and our communities. Together, we should work towards public awareness and education. But I also urge you to get personally informed, think about the messages you send your kids and engage in a healthy dialogue about marijuana, alcohol, other drug use--really anything that might derail their fragile trajectories. And for my end of things, I promise that I will do all within my power and that of my new company to support as much education and collaboration as possible so that we can all enjoy the fruits of additional tax revenues that will lead to new schools, better roads, etc--with as minimal collateral damage as possible.