When my mother caught my little brother smoking pot in the basement—proof that I'd failed to educate him on the clandestine tactics of smoking in your parents' house—she broke down in tears.
"Am I a failure as a parent?" she called and asked me. I have to admit behind my sympathetic tone was an urge to giggle.
"Of course not," I told her, before reminding her that I started smoking at the same age and somehow turned out pretty OK. (And that was even before my budding career as a pot columnist.)
It's a point in every pothead's life that we must face: confronting our parents about the truth of marijuana. To help you navigate this potentially perplexing parley, I've compiled some tips that are sure to ease your parents' transition to accepting the leafy, green goodness.
Step 1: Make sure you're not an unproductive a-hole
Every parents' worst nightmare is that their child is going to turn out to be a burden on society. Don't be.
Before breaking it to your parents that you occasionally (or regularly) digress into a blissful haze of content, make sure your personal development is on the rise, or at the very least at a point that you or society deems acceptable.
If you can do things like go to work, pay rent and buy your own food, then pot probably isn't holding you back from anything important.
The goal here is to break the stigma that all pot smokers are lazy, uneducated, mindless meat-sacks gorging themselves on junk food and B-comedies. Show your parents that it is a compliment to your already colorful existence.
After all, some of the world's greatest thinkers derived inspiration from our lovely leaf: Carl Sagan, George Washington and Miley Cyrus, just to name a few.
Step 2: Tell them all the things you enjoy while high and why pot makes them so much better
OK, maybe not all the things—let's keep it PG here. They are your parents after all.
Tell them about the time you got stoned and decided that a gallon tub of fish oil was a reasonable purchase, because you're mindful of your health. Leave out the part where it's been sitting atop your fridge for the past nine months.
Tell them about the moonlight hike you went on with your significant other where you had the epiphany that there is no physical barrier between you and the moon. You could touch it if your arms were long enough.
Tell them about the time you had a half-hour conversation with your dog, and even though you later realized that he wasn't actually talking back, you're pretty sure it was the best belly rub of his life.
Smoking pot isn't something to do, it's something to make the other things you do better. Whether you're hanging out with friends, watching a movie or just eating, tell them about how your use enhances your life.
Step 3: Vote to legalize it
I swear, this one is not a plug. It's what finally turned my mom into the amateur cannabis connoisseur she is today.
Wrapped somewhere in most people's brains is the idea that if it's illegal it must be bad, which is true in a lot of cases. However, when it comes to marijuana, we know it's mostly because of stereotypes and racism. As modern society lifts this legal burden, it turns out more people are willing to try it. I know, it baffles me too.
The cool thing is, if you do a good job of convincing your parents that maybe pot isn't so bad, they'll vote for it, too. Eventually we can do away with this silly routine and it will no longer be admitting to your parents that you smoke pot.
We all have a part to play as ambassadors, but the best thing we can do is show others, including those closest to us, that their perception might be skewed, starting with setting a good example.