Alcohol, Cannabis, and Kids: Rethinking Substance Policies for Our Youth’s Safety

Alcohol, Cannabis, and Kids: Rethinking Substance Policies for Our Youth’s Safety

In New Orleans, where our culture is as vibrant as the lives we’re raising, we face a pivotal challenge: navigating the complex world of substance regulation while protecting our children. As mothers, we’re thrust into the forefront of this debate, not just as caretakers but as advocates for fairness and truth in how our society approaches cannabis and alcohol.

Senate Bill 237 has ignited a crucial conversation, spotlighting the potential overhaul of Louisiana’s approach to consumable hemp products. This isn’t merely a legislative concern; it’s a matter deeply intertwined with our values and the wellbeing of our families. The bill’s implications force us to confront the disparity in how we regulate substances, revealing a glaring inconsistency: the stringent stance on cannabis versus the comparative leniency towards alcohol.

The argument that our children must be shielded from cannabis, used by some as a justification for such strict regulations, rings hollow when we consider the pervasive marketing of alcohol to younger audiences. This double standard is not just troubling—it’s a clear misuse of our children’s welfare as a scapegoat for policies that fail to address the more significant issues at hand.

Incorporating insights from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at Boston University, it’s evident that our concerns over substance regulation and child welfare are more urgent than ever. CAMY’s research into alcohol marketing strategies reveals a disturbing trend: the targeted exposure of youth to alcohol advertising, contributing significantly to underage drinking. Their efforts underscore the importance of stringent regulations to curb the influence of alcohol marketing on young people, reinforcing our call for a balanced approach to substance regulation. By advocating for policies informed by such evidence-based research, we strengthen our argument for a fair and rational regulation of both alcohol and cannabis, ensuring our children’s safety is prioritized without resorting to spreading fear. For more detailed insights, CAMY’s work can be explored further here.

In my previous LinkedIn article, “Unveiling Hypocrisy: The Double Standard in Protecting Our Youth,” I delved into empirical evidence debunking the myth that cannabis legalization increases its use among youth. This evidence prompts us to scrutinize the contrasting narratives between cannabis and alcohol, where the latter, despite its significant risk profile, faces fewer cultural and regulatory constraints. Such findings underscore the need for our substance regulation policies to be based on factual data rather than unfounded fears, advocating for a balanced approach that genuinely protects our youth. For an in-depth analysis, the article offers a comprehensive look here.

As a mother of three very young children, I am not advocating for unregulated freedom but for a rational, equitable approach to substance regulation. If we’re genuinely concerned about the impact of substances on our youth, then let’s apply a consistent standard across the board. Let’s demand that alcohol be scrutinized with the same intensity as cannabis, ensuring that our concerns for our children’s safety are genuinely reflected in the laws and policies we support.  Both alcohol and cannabis need to be regulated, there is no denying that.  But please, stop using the children as the scapegoats excuse, to try and ban hemp outright, without educated data backing it up.

It’s time to push for a dialogue that places all substances under the same microscope, advocating for regulations that protect our children through informed policy, not fearmongering or selective oversight. As the backbone of our families and our community, we have a voice, and it’s crucial now more than ever. Let’s use it to advocate for a future where our children are truly safeguarded by balanced, fair, and evidence-based substance regulation.

If you are in a position of fear for your employment or other reasons to advocate or discuss this matter openly, send anonymous emails and messages. Find folks that are in a space where they are able to have these discussions, without repercussions. I am one myself, but I’d be happy to connect you with more.

Monica Roerig Olano
First, a wife and then a mom to three under three, born within 18 months amidst infertility challenges—my life's chaos is my strength. Beyond family, I left a successful corporate career to launch my own digital marketing consultancy. Diagnosed with ADHD later in life and navigating postpartum struggles, I've turned these challenges into superpowers, fueling my mission to start a sober-ISH revolution. Through my podcast and initiatives, I aim to expose the truth about alcohol and enlighten society on healthier alternatives. Visit my website linked above to dive into my journey, resources, and more. I'm not just about words; I'm about action—changing views, one honest conversation at a time. Embracing my unique journey, I lead with resilience and determination.


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