Lisa Willis

I marched in Carpinteria’s Holiday Spirit Parade in December as part of entry #20 representing the city’s cannabis industry. One member drove a shiny red 1947 tractor, which had been beautifully restored by the Carpinteria High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) shop program, as are many of the refurbished workhorses dotting local farms.

The tractor, with an FFA sticker on its rear, pulled a lovingly handmade sleigh filled with faux presents. The parade is a fun event, even more so for the adults than the children. It’s also one of those few times where you can touch bases with lots of people you haven’t seen in too long a while.

A couple of days after the parade, I received a call from a colleague who said a school district official called her because a parent wanted to know if FFA was working for cannabis growers.

Okay, okay, now that we all have had a good chuckle, allow me to borrow a popularly prescribed parental phrase from a generation or so ago, “What a perfect teachable moment!”

Let’s look at how legalized cannabis provides a perfect platform for discussion with the 18-and-under set, particularly in the agricultural community of Carpinteria and even more particularly at Carpinteria High School, whose legacy of alumni cannabis use is deeply rooted. And I ought to know; I went there.

Simply, clearly, and generally speaking, there are cons to early cannabis use. They include hindrance of cognitive functions, problems with memory and concentration, worsening of existing mental-health challenges, similar breathing problems as with cigarettes (coughing and wheezing), and interference with prescribed medications, among others. A growing body is not enhanced by cannabis.

Cannabis, however, could prove to be a safer alternative to some anxiety medications. That’s something to discuss with your child’s doctor.

Cannabis is mainstream. It’s the darling of Wall Street. It’s grandma’s aches and pains medicine. It’s the dollars making up philanthropic donations. It’s headline news with more and more states electing to legalize it and politicians reversing their once rabid stance against cannabis. What it is, is time to rewrite the way we talk to our children about the pros and cons.

Because conflicting information is so readily available, saying cannabis is “bad” is no longer believable. Not to mention it’s very irresponsible and uninformed. Make sure your children know that cannabis use comes with responsibility. Maybe you want to share your experience with it and your views on it. Cannabis facts are important, as is sharing them with your children. Think about organizing a learning session at your school or nonprofit organization.

If your child is partaking, the very important question may be “why?” Peer pressure? Loneliness? Like father like son? Maybe it’s time to start the conversation and rewrite the dialogue.

Let’s keep the learning process going, as an education is never wasted. If you have any cannabis-related questions, please write to us at Questions of a private nature will be held strictly confidential, as would any medical question.

In the spirit of Carpinteria’s traditional parade, I hope you had a very merry holiday season, and here’s to a very happy New Year!

Author Tina Fanucchi-Frontado and partners Leigh-Anne Anderson and Amy Marie Orozco have formed KopSun to provide education and information to support and safely explore the new cannabis culture. To learn more, visit


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