How to Teach Kids About Drugs
November 12, 2004 12:15 AM   Subscribe

It's Just A Plant: a children's story of marijuana "One night Jackie woke up past her bedtime. She smelled something funny in the air, so she walked down the hall to her parents' bedroom." Here's a new way for parents to teach their kids about drugs--through a brightly-illustrated children's book, not second-hand misinformation or Drug Warrior scare tactics. Parents, librarians, and booksellers, please take note. [via D'Alliance, the blog of the Drug Policy Alliance]
posted by Asparagirl (59 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I hope the kid in the story has a mother and a father, not two mommies, or else the you-know-who is going to be upset about this.
posted by LeLiLo at 12:29 AM on November 12, 2004


The site is an ad for the book with not much content substantive otherwise.
posted by Gyan at 12:38 AM on November 12, 2004


Crack: It's just a crystal!
posted by iamck at 1:11 AM on November 12, 2004


iamck, you're an idiot. comparing crack to marijuana confirms this.
posted by NationalKato at 1:27 AM on November 12, 2004


Well, the title -- It's Just A Plant -- is a weak tack. Many poisons also originate in nature. Ignore iamck's satirical slippery slope.
posted by Gyan at 1:33 AM on November 12, 2004


c'mon, it's not like crack exists on its own in nature...regardless of it's 'hidden' dangers!
posted by NationalKato at 1:39 AM on November 12, 2004


on top of that, marijuana IS just a plant. it's humans who have made it something more 'dangerous. crack, on the other hand, needed humans in order to exist. which makes iamck's 'satire' pretty short-sighted.
posted by NationalKato at 1:42 AM on November 12, 2004


With links like this, who really needs psychoactive compounds?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:51 AM on November 12, 2004


just because something is natural doesn't mean it is good/safe. Just because something is man made doesn't mean its dangerous/bad.

In the 70s a natural pesticide was isolated from a South American plant, and sprayed on crops. Only later did they find out that this natural pesticide caused cancer. Woops
posted by rosswald at 1:52 AM on November 12, 2004


The title of the book tries to exploit a still-held-quaint-notion among many that natural stuff is "Pure" and good whereas artificial isn't. The title seeks to emphasize this one attribute ('naturalness') as an adequate basis to judge its merits. Everything can be looked at from multiple angles, but in this case, whether it's just a plant or not, is irrelevant.
posted by Gyan at 2:02 AM on November 12, 2004


did you already buy the book, Gyan? can you really judge the book by it's title and first four pages?

and Rosswald, of course. you're stating the obvious. by iamck compared Crack to Marijuana. i have yet to hear anyone else supporting this claim - which, incidentally, was the purpose of my reply to his comment.
posted by NationalKato at 2:25 AM on November 12, 2004


Hemlock is "just a plant," too. Just sayin'.
posted by sklero at 2:54 AM on November 12, 2004


Tobacco. It's just a plant.
posted by jfuller at 3:09 AM on November 12, 2004


Crack: it's just a plant.
posted by NationalKato at 3:10 AM on November 12, 2004


NationalKoto: did you already buy the book, Gyan? can you really judge the book by it's title and first four pages?

I haven't bought it. I can't judge the book since I haven't read it. But on the presumption that the chosen title of a book does convey some information, my initial impression of the book is ambivalent. Maybe the intended connotation of the title is different, though I personally fail to see how. But, in common parlance, It's Just X seeks to generally downplay dangers or uncertainties on the basis that possession of that X attribute puts things in their proper perspective. Cannabis wasn't outlawed because politicians believed that it was something other than a natural plant. This 'Plant' aspect is irrelevant.

In any case, should my university or local public library get the book, I'll certainly have a look.
posted by Gyan at 3:26 AM on November 12, 2004


Cannabis wasn't outlawed because politicians believed that it was something other than a natural plant.

do tell, why was cannabis outlawed?
posted by NationalKato at 3:31 AM on November 12, 2004


I can't vouch for all the details, but this source presents a credible picture.
posted by Gyan at 3:34 AM on November 12, 2004


> do tell, why was cannabis outlawed?

Because smoking up leads directly to having intoxicated fun (and, all too often, nekkid intoxicated fun.) People should only have fun sober, with their clothes on. Remember, we did our damndest to make booze illegal too. Satan beat us on that one but we're not discouraged, back again soon for another try.
posted by jfuller at 3:59 AM on November 12, 2004


damn that Satan!
posted by NationalKato at 4:03 AM on November 12, 2004


> People should only have fun sober, with their clothes on.

And in ways that don't pose the most remotely imaginable microscopic risk to anybody. For example, playground cartwheels.
posted by jfuller at 4:05 AM on November 12, 2004


I can't vouch for all the details, but this source presents a credible picture.

Gyan, did you even read the link you provided? here's the first sentence:

First of all, it's important to realize that there is no legitimate reason why marijuana is illegal.

here are the reasons why it states marijuana is illegal:

Racism
Fear
Protection of Corporate Profits
Yellow Journalism
Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or Corrupt Legislators
Personal Career Advancement and Greed

Gyan, seems you're arguing against your own sources...
posted by NationalKato at 4:05 AM on November 12, 2004


NationalKato, I don't see "Coz it's not just a plant" among those reasons. I recommend you reread our entire conversation. You seem to think I'm pro-prohibition. And you seem to believe this on the basis that I criticqued the title of a pro-pot book. I was just arguing that the title of the book presented a flimsy argument and is irrelevant to the actual merits of the matter.
posted by Gyan at 4:23 AM on November 12, 2004


i do see the point of you last comment. understood. no anger on this side.

but do you think the book is truly trying to convert or argue towards pot's legalization or decriminalization? or is it just a way for parents to discuss (in children's terms) the same controversial topics as sex, divorce, etc.

i mean, there are now plenty of children's books about those topics...
posted by NationalKato at 4:28 AM on November 12, 2004


> Racism
> Fear
> Protection of Corporate Profits
> Yellow Journalism
> Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or Corrupt Legislators
> Personal Career Advancement and Greed

Oops, left sexism and homophobia out of the Standard List.
posted by jfuller at 4:29 AM on November 12, 2004


NationalKato: but do you think the book is truly trying to convert or argue towards pot's legalization or decriminalization?

Not having read the book, I can't say. But from the sales pitch, it would seem inconsistent if the tone of the book tended to favor the prohibitionist agenda. Obviously, a children's book is not explicitly going to argue for a political stance, especially a controversial one.
posted by Gyan at 4:40 AM on November 12, 2004


Oops, left sexism and homophobia out of the Standard List.

Perhaps because it is not a "standard list" but actually fits the facts of the case.
posted by anewc2 at 4:52 AM on November 12, 2004


Metafilter: Are you a plant?
posted by Mick at 4:57 AM on November 12, 2004


Metafilter is a blue opium poppy.
posted by casarkos at 5:35 AM on November 12, 2004


Guys, guys, simmer down. I don't know what everyone is getting so worked up about in here: it's just a plant.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:31 AM on November 12, 2004


It'a just a plant, guys. And it's great for pies, cookies and all sorts of yummy things to smoke, eeer, eat! Bom!
posted by acrobat at 6:51 AM on November 12, 2004


...and the book is a great help in explaining what it is to your kids, when you're too stoned to offer a coherent explanation by yourself.
posted by acrobat at 6:55 AM on November 12, 2004


The thing is, whether any of you are for or against the herb, it exists in our society and most likely will never go away. We can either accept this fact and deal with it in a sensible and coherent way or we can bury our heads, and the heads of our children, in the sand. Me, I prefer having a book to help explain to my children what the stuff is and how to deal with it. It's a tool, not a hindrance, that may allow my kids to make the right decisions for them. And for the record, I'm not a pot smoker.
posted by ashbury at 7:17 AM on November 12, 2004


Man, did you know that you could, like, make the same amount of paper from one acre of hemp as you could with 4,000 acres of trees? And George Washington, Robert Fulton and Plato all grew marijuana on their farms? And, like, Dow totally got hemp outlawed because some dude was about to patent a material 60 times better than nylon that was made out of hemp? Man, those death dealers totally don't want us to have it to stop war!
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:44 AM on November 12, 2004


Ho Ho! Zing! Boy, you sure showed those hemp advocates, Curley! If only they hadn't exaggerated all their claims to such a ridiculously wild degree!

Oh wait... they didn't. You did.
posted by soyjoy at 8:19 AM on November 12, 2004


Uhm...soyjoy, most of curley's statements are substantiated in Jack Herer's book, The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Herer even offers a $100,000 challenge if someone can prove what is presented in his book is wrong. Particularly his mention of paper production comes from an article in Popular Mechanics from 1938.

> The paper industry offers even greater possibilities. As an industry it
> amounts to over $1,000,000,000 a year, and of that eighty per cent is
> imported. But hemp will produce every grade of paper, and government
> figures estimate that 10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as much
> paper as 40,000 acres of average pulp land.

I am not sure if that statistic has been substantiated in recent years, but that is what Popular Mechanics had written before marijuana became outlawed. Though I am unfamiliar with curley's last statement about nylon, it would not surprise me.
posted by the biscuit man at 8:51 AM on November 12, 2004


Doh, I misread curley's post and yours. Sorry soyjoy. Hurray for me!

Yes, it would take 1,000 hemp acres for every 4,000 acres of trees for paper production, not 1.
posted by the biscuit man at 9:01 AM on November 12, 2004


It's Just a (Power) Plant: The Increidble Story of Three Mile Island.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:34 AM on November 12, 2004


The only other person I've heard compare pot to crack was a fat, stupid christian guy I used to work with, who was fired later because he was too stupid to do his job. In another conversation, the same guy declared that parents who take pictures of babies and toddlers in a bathtub were child pornographers.
Just sayin...
posted by 2sheets at 10:15 AM on November 12, 2004


Why the pile on iamck?

It was a clever little analogy, and it's not even clearly anything more than some snarkiness.

Everyone is astounded that he "compared pot to crack" -- which he did -- but when you say "compared" for some reason you are thinking "equated".

Crack is just a crystal. Pot is just a plant. There are tons of arguments made for and against either or both, but both statements are equally misleading.
posted by rafter at 10:27 AM on November 12, 2004


I'm curious to hear some sensible arguments against legalization of pot (ones that would not also make alcohol illegal.)
posted by five fresh fish at 11:10 AM on November 12, 2004


I don't think the title is meant as an argument, although it could be construed as such. Marijuana is often treated like a great evil that has power in itself to destroy lives. It's just a plant. Yes, plants can have harmful effects if ingested, and many of them aren't drugs. I'm sure you can get messed up by getting near poison ivy too, but "it's just a plant" isn't any sort of argument when referring to that.

You could view this from the other way as well: some people treat drugs as some sort of amazing thing with powers beyond the physical plane. That's not true either, it's just a damn plant.
posted by mikeh at 11:25 AM on November 12, 2004


Jesus, leave for awhile look what happens. Allow me to dismiss the ad hominem attacks by admitting my personal love affair with "the plant."

The only other person I've heard compare pot to crack was a fat, stupid christian guy I used to work with, who was fired later because he was too stupid to do his job.

Thanks.

But as it's been said above, the "it's from the earth, man" argument is a pretty weak one - but I guess when you're trying to convince a 7 year old...
posted by iamck at 11:34 AM on November 12, 2004


*sneaks in to thread with a 3-paper super spliff*
*seals all the exits and windows*
*sparks the doobie, takes a wicked rip and passes to the right, commencing hotboxing*
*watches in wry amusement as everyone gets more philosophical and friendly and less argumentative and less combative*
*exhales*
posted by loquacious at 11:53 AM on November 12, 2004


fff: if pot was legal, only non-criminals would smoke pot.

seriously, pot generates a lot of money for The Man. it brings in dollars from drug companies, lumber companies, etc. that don't want the competition. (as for cigarettes... hell, given the current bad rap we give nicotine, and the fact that pot isn't addictive, i'm rather surprised that the smoke companies haven't pushed for legalization. all they've apparently done so far is register some brand names.)

pot also generates jobs. it helps keep cops and border guards and prison guards busy. it helps keep the beds full and the undesirables off the streets.

sad thing is that the drug itself is probably one of the milder things out there. it even prevents brain cancer, yet it's illegal. ah well.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:53 AM on November 12, 2004


I think I want to buy the book so I can hollow it out and put my weed in there.

Crack and pot (though not crackpots, of which we have many here, no?) are about as similar as a block of cheddar cheese and a bag of Cheetos.

It is just a plant but, as others above have already pointed out, that doesn't make it "good". Sure, its theoretically natural but its arguable that, like corn, it wouldn't exist as it is now without man's intervention.

I hope these folks put out a whole series of books, "It's Just Doggy Style", "Its Just a Straight up Trade of Sex for Crack", "It's All About the Benjamins", "Its Just a Pimp Slap", etc.

Loquacious, we call those surfer doobs out here! Time to put on some reggae and get a little jammin' in!
posted by fenriq at 11:54 AM on November 12, 2004


(Remember, tea-heads: Pass to the right in time of war, to the left in time of peace. Also, the spliff is not the conch. If you be pontificatin', pass the grass.)
posted by loquacious at 11:56 AM on November 12, 2004


Ya'll are harshing my mellow, man. Chill. *puff*
posted by terrapin at 12:02 PM on November 12, 2004


Isn't a large obstacle to completely legalizing pot the absence of an on-the-spot test for intoxication (like, say, when driving)?

Please don't say you drive better when stoned
posted by loquax at 1:52 PM on November 12, 2004


I've never heard that argument before. I pretty sure police do arrest people for being intoxicated while driving, regardless of what substance they're on or even proof that they've got it in their bloodstream.
posted by lasm at 2:12 PM on November 12, 2004


soyjoy, I'm not suggesting that I believe that smoking or cultivating marijuana should be a crime. I just can't figure out why people who are in to recreational use of marijuana can't just say "I would like to see marijuana decriminalized because I would like to get high without worrying about being arrested."

Instead, it's always some rambling lecture about how hemp will save the environment and change medicine coupled with a monstruous conspiracy theory involving Du Pont, William Randolph Hearst, anti black-mexican-and-chinese racism, and J. Edgar Hoover. And yet proponents claim that pot-induced paranoia is temporary...
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:14 PM on November 12, 2004


I just can't figure out why people who are in to recreational use of marijuana can't just say "I would like to see marijuana decriminalized because I would like to get high without worrying about being arrested."

because that argument is similar to "I would like to see the speed limit abolished because I would like to drive as fast as i can."

while most people who want to see marijuana legalized are probably users, i don't think that the reasons are as self-centered and disingenuous as you think they are.

for example, i think that use of narcotics should be covered by the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech"

then again, i think suicide should be covered there too, so what do i know? (at least i know some lawyers who agree with me.)
posted by mrgrimm at 2:59 PM on November 12, 2004


I'll step up to the plate, Curley:

"I would like to see marijuana decriminalized because I would like to get high without worrying about being arrested."

Only, I don't worry about it.

I would like to be able to grow a personal amount without worrying about being arrested, though.

And, actually, I don't want marijuana decriminalized. I want it either regulated a la alcohol, or to remain criminal. Either way makes it far, far less likely that the cops will hassle people over personal amounts. Decriminalization just means "ticketable offense," and there's nothing cops like more than giving out tickets. Great revenue stream.

And I do want it to remain illegal to grow and sell quantities in excess of personal amounts; or at least remain illegal to do so without licensing akin to alcohol manufacturing or farm production.

Finally, 'cause I'm blabbing so much about my opinion, I'd like to see the taxation revenue explicitly funneled to education and addiction counselling programmes.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:05 PM on November 12, 2004


The title "Marijuana-- it's just a plant that has been used safely by human beings for at least 5,000 years, has never been known to cause death via ingestion, is only mildly addictive, and when used in moderation poses no long-term danger to health" was too long, so they went with it's just a plant.
posted by cell divide at 4:32 PM on November 12, 2004


Curley, I understand the suspicion of motives. There is undoubtedly a lot of that behind a lot of hemp advocates' activism, and a lot of them actually do say so (are you familiar with New Jersey's "Weedman?"). BUT the arguments about hemp's value as a plant are not some tacked-on BS that pot-smokers just cooked up over the past few decades - they're the documented legacy of this plant's use across cultures for centuries. Canvas = cannanbis, after all. And yes, there is some pretty hard evidence that pot was criminalized/demonized/xenophized in order to keep it out of competition with already-entrenched drug, cotton and paper industries. The fact that one or two people may slightly overstate this on occasion doesn't make the whole thing into a conspiracy theory.

So turning the issue back around and mocking these arguments as though they're all just extemporaneous excuses and paranoid theories - that's essentially falling for the whole scam of Hearst & co: namely, looking at this plant's legacy through the prism of one infamous usage rather than seeing that one usage as yet another reason its cultivation should be encouraged rather than denied.

Leastwise, that's how I see it.

-- Oh, jeez, sorry, I forgot I was holding this that whole time. (*passes it*)
posted by soyjoy at 9:08 PM on November 12, 2004


I'm also bothered by the tactic that a lot of hempheads take. I knew a community radio nutter that did a pro-hemp news show and constantly espoused all the medicinal and industrial uses of hemp; Most if not all were actually quite valid. All kinds of stuff can be made from it. Papers, fabrics, plastics, oils and fuels, etc.

But it's annoyingly apparent the entire time that the espouser also can't wait to get home, kick off the shoes and just spark one up, maybe even throw a little into some butter and whip up some pancakes or cookies or something.

Not that I find anything wrong with that. (*passes*)
posted by loquacious at 9:30 PM on November 12, 2004


Crazy quack liberals can't even keep their slander off the kids. I swear when they're not hugging trees or hugging terrorists it's hands across America for a stupid plant.







did i do it rite?
posted by Keyser Soze at 2:55 AM on November 13, 2004


I'm also bothered by the tactic that a lot of hempheads take.

i don't get it. how is it any differfent from activists who argue for the necessity of abortion to protect the health of the mother, or in the case of severely deformed fetuses.

if said activist also supported "abortion on demand" for unexpected pregnancies, it doesn't make his other points invalid.

even if i support the right to use marijuana recreationally, but i also work to legalize medical marijuana and industrial hemp, you can't invalidate those latter efforts just b/c of the former belief.

i suppose i'm just echoing soyjoy. it's unfortunate that people see the hemp and medical marijuana efforts as purely a cover to legalize marijuana completely, because from what i've seen, it's not true. people believe in those two issues regardless of their position on recreational marijuana.

industrial hemp would be a godsend for the former tobacco farmers of Kentucky. (legalized weed would be too, but a tougher sell to middle america).
posted by mrgrimm at 10:58 AM on November 13, 2004


mrgrimm: I never said it devalidated any of those arguments. I'm just saying hemp advocates should be honest, even though it's damn difficult to do.

Then, I guess I really shouldn't so severely limit what tactics anyone basically I agree with uses to change the laws currently on the books, considering how underhanded and slippery the entrenched anti-drug establishment is.
posted by loquacious at 1:27 PM on November 13, 2004


I support legalised hemp paper whether marijuana is legalised or not. And I don't actually partake myself - I happen to like forests, because they may be just plants, but they are very beautiful and ecologically important plants.
posted by jb at 10:10 PM on December 11, 2004


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