Why Doesn’t Oregon Tell Parents Not to Drink in Front of Kids?

"Treat Marijuana Like Alcohol" means adult use of marijuana should not be demonized while alcohol is celebrated.

OLCC Alcohol Kids Warning
Why doesn't OLCC require every purchase of alcohol to come with this warning?

To the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC);

When I purchased some marijuana recently at a licensed retailer, it came with a small scrap of paper.

It read:

MARIJUANA CAN MAKE KIDS VERY SICK.

You can keep the children in your life safe and healthy by storing all marijuana products in a locked area that children cannot see or reach.

According to the OLCC website, under the heading “Consumer Health and Safety Information,” the law requires the retailer to give me this scrap of paper “with each sale of a marijuana item.”

I applaud the state for including this warning. We all want to keep harmful substances meant for adults out of the hands of children.

However, I take issue with the next part of the warning, which reads:

Children want to be like their parents and the other adults in their lives. When you use marijuana in front of them, they may want to use it, too. You can keep them safe and healthy by not using marijuana when kids are around.

OLCC Marijuana Kids Warning-min
Actual printed warning every licensed marijuana retailer must include with every marijuana purchase.

Modeling healthy behavior for children is laudable, but the suggestion that seeing their parents using marijuana endangers the children is preposterous and unconvincing.

Many parents using marijuana are doing so for medical reasons, even if they don’t register with the prohibitively-expensive Oregon Medical Marijuana Program. To suggest they go hide when they use that medicine but not when they use their prescriptions is discriminatory.

I have never been handed a scrap of paper when I make a prescription drug purchase in Oregon that tells me to keep it locked up, away from children, and don’t let them see me use it.

Why is that? After all, while “marijuana can make kids very sick,” prescription drugs can actually kill them.

Hiding one’s marijuana use would also deprive their children of first-hand observation that cannabis isn’t just an adult recreational substance, it’s also a healing herb.

Seeing parents use marijuana responsibly and maintain functional lives would be modeling healthy behavior for those children if they decided to use marijuana once they became adults.

Even the parents using marijuana for personal reasons, to relax and unwind, should not be treated by the state in any different fashion than those parents who might drink a glass of wine or pop open a cold beer in front of their children.

However, when I perused the OLCC website for “Consumer Health and Safety Information” for alcohol, there was nothing like the section on marijuana.

The closest thing I could find as far as warnings mandated by the state regarding alcohol and children are the signs that must be posted in bars warning that pregnant women should not drink alcohol.

I have never been handed a scrap of paper when I make an alcohol purchase in Oregon that tells me to keep it locked up, away from children, and don’t let them see me drink it.

Why is that? After all, while “marijuana can make kids very sick,” alcohol can actually kill them.

It’s time the OLCC – which controls both alcohol and marijuana – followed the will of the voters and started treating marijuana like alcohol. If the state is not telling alcohol consumers to hide from their children, there’s no reasonable basis for telling marijuana consumers to hide from their children so they don’t model their behavior.

One could make an argument about not smoking marijuana in front of children to protect them from secondhand smoke. If that’s the case, then there’s no call for handing over that scrap of paper for purchases of edible and vaporized marijuana products.

I have never been handed a scrap of paper when I make a tobacco purchase in Oregon that tells me to keep it locked up, away from children, and don’t let them see me smoke it.

Why is that? After all, while “marijuana can make kids very sick,” nicotine can actually kill them.

While adults smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, popping pills, and even eating fast food is modeling behaviors far more likely to lead to negative health outcomes for their children, the state of Oregon wants to waste a scrap of paper on every marijuana purchase to tell adults to hide their use of it from their children?

That’s nothing more than a cultural bigotry against marijuana consumers. I will be contacting my representatives to demand that mandated public health warnings regarding marijuana and alcohol are equitable.

Thank you for reading my complaint.

Russ Belville
About Russ Belville 199 Articles
Russ Belville - or "Radical" Russ, as he is known on-air - hosts The Marijuana Agenda, a live news and talk radio program for the cannabis community, weekdays at 3pm Pacific on MJAgenda.com.  The show is based in Portland, Oregon, but "Radical" Russ has traveled over 300,000 air miles in the past five years, bringing his show to report live from hundreds of cannabis conferences, marijuana expos, hemp festivals, and legalization events in over 70 North American cities.