DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter has attended various anti-drug lectures at her school, and she believes that marijuana is an illegal drug that is bad for you. I am lost for words on how to explain to her that pot is no longer "that bad," because 23 states have approved the medical use, while four states have okayed the recreational use of marijuana. Do you have any suggestions on how I can tell my daughter that some people partake of it in a responsible manner? -- Up in Smoke, West Orange, New Jersey
DEAR UP IN SMOKE: Slow down. While marijuana has been recognized for its medicinal purposes, which is great, there is no good reason for you to encourage your daughter to smoke it. It remains a mind-altering substance, not necessarily something you want your child to do. In terms of legality, it is still largely illegal for recreational use. Yes, those laws are changing, but where you live, it is still against the law.
More, though, is the reality that smoking anything is not a recommended choice for anyone, especially a child. You can encourage your daughter not to be judgmental of others' choices. You can explain to her that there are legitimate health reasons for people to use marijuana. You can add that the laws are relaxing for recreational use. This is a good conversation in terms of perspective as it relates to what unlawful activities receive what types of sentences. Many people believe that the sentences for possession of small amounts of marijuana are too high. This is a complicated topic that deserves ongoing discussion with your daughter. Yes, you can tell her that it is the right thing for some people to do. I recommend that, at the same time, you have this discussion without encouraging her to consume.