This #WorldBookDay, there’s a new book for parents that might just make the conversation with their children around cannabis a little easier.
Ricardo Cortés is the New York Times bestselling author and illustrator who brought us such glorious titles as Go the F—k to Sleep and the more recent Stay the F—k at Home, featuring Samuel L. Jackson. While these books are considered “kids books for adults”, his latest work is a genuine children’s picture book called, It’s Just A Plant – A Children’s Story about Marijuana.
The book follows a young girl named Jackie as she learns about the cannabis plant from her parents, a farmer, a doctor, and a police officer. It is through these characters that Cortés is able to introduce the nuances of cannabis in a well-rounded, honest way, without being patronizing. And while it is certainly geared towards children and their parents, the way in which the book breaks down the various complex issues associated with cannabis makes it a book for anyone who might believe that the plant is nothing but the devil’s lettuce.
“If you’re 93 and still interested in making a change, by all means read this book and discuss it,” he says.
Cortés says his motivation to write the book was derived from his interest in justice issues around drug policy, which arose while he spent several years drawing portraits and running art workshops in jails at Rikers Island and the Manhattan Detention Complex in New York City. He has also written extensively on the topic for publications like Vanity Fair.
“I realized children were one population affected by the drug war without a voice in its progression,” says the author. “Their families were so often torn apart by incarceration for a parent’s recreational or medicinal use of marijuana. I also saw children were being targeted with anti-marijuana ‘facts’ that were both misleading and counterproductive.”
Cortés says that while he doesn’t think children should be experimenting with cannabis, “they should be equipped with responsible information about it.”
As you might expect, the author-illustrator has faced criticism from some parents for covering the subject of pot in a book geared towards children, particularly because they might be afraid it could encourage underage use. But Cortés says that telling the truth about the plant is necessary.
“I understand why many parents fear a book like this could encourage their children to experiment—if marijuana use is discussed in terms other than outright denouncement—but I think honest dialogue destroys that myth,” he says.
“I think we can deter abuse of drugs by opening channels of communication between kids and their parents. That said, I respect people who disagree with my perspective, especially when they do so kindly in an email.”
Editor, Inside the Jar
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Seed. Stem. Stash. Smoke.
Despite the perception of Canada as a cold and snowy landscape, cannabis has been grown outdoors here for generations, long before prohibition was lifted in 2018. In Rock Creek, a small town in British Columbia’s Okanagan region, an area adored for its long, dry summers and endless rows of wineries and fruit orchards, a portion of a sprawling 2,200-acre ranch once dedicated to ginseng and cherries is now filled with rows upon rows of cannabis and hemp.
“My partner and I set a goal to make the best cannabis-infused cookie we could. What we learned very quickly was that our cookie recipe was great, but the process of infusing our butter was damaging its integrity. So we set out to find a way to infuse butter—not for maximum potency—but for the best possible flavour, and to preserve what makes butter magic.”
“Weed infused in various candies, brownies, or cookies generally takes much longer to kick in and there’s inevitably a few moments half-an-hour post-consumption in which I say, out loud: “I’m not sure this thing is working.” Then, like one of Mike Tyson’s fists to the face, the full might of a deceptively delicious baked confection takes hold, and for the next few hours—I’m high. High high. And sometimes, too high.”