Susan Soares is setting out to normalize conversations about marijuana between adults and children with her new book, What’s Growing In Grandma’s Garden. The idea materialized when Soares was playing broom hockey, which led to a concussion and a ruptured eardrum.
The injury initiated a 2-year-long headache that no prescribed medicine could help treat. Desperate, she opened her mind to new possibilities when her neighbour offered a different kind of medicine straight from her garden.
Soares’ headaches subsided, and she felt like a new person from the use of marijuana, quickly developing new perspectives regarding the plant. As her neighbour’s cannabis garden grew, so did Soares’s passion for the community, quickly becoming a strong voice and activist towards cannabis use.
Prior to her passionate advocacy, Soares was originally anti-cannabis and an active Mormon leader. When she debunked the stigmas and negative theories related to cannabis her community, church and even family disapproved of her treatment. However, she moved away from the old Susan Soares, becoming a liberal democrat and continuing her advocacy work in cannabis, ultimately merging into cannabis education and leadership, establishing the non-profit group Cannabis Awareness Rallies and Events (CARE).
Nevertheless, for an individual so adept with words, she was left speechless when asked: How do you talk to your kids about cannabis? “His question bothered me,” Soares says. “I started asking people inside and outside of the industry and I found out nobody is talking to their kids about cannabis.”
The lack of available resources led Soares, now a grandmother, to write and publish, “What’s Growing in Grandma’s Garden: A Book to Help Grownups Have a Conversation With Children About Cannabis.”
In the book, the story is told in the voice of a boy learning about gardening from his grandmother. The grandmother explains that most of the plants are for eating or for medicine, but there are some which are “extra special to her” locked in her backyard greenhouse.
The book is a helpful tool in guiding parents to explain how the plant can be used to help heal someone, but is only intended for adults. “Grandma’s Garden” shows how not hiding cannabis from children, but rather setting boundaries, is an effective way to be both a cannabis enthusiast and a good parent (or grandparent).
Spoiler Alert: The story ends with the family having a barbecue in the backyard where “someone’s drinking a beer and somebody else has some wine. And Grandma is sitting downwind with the wind blowing in her hair and she’s smoking a joint,” says Soares.
In the past few years, recreational pot has changed Soares’ home of Long Beach as shops pop up all over the city. Since the city legalized adult-use sales in a local ordinance last summer, 19 shops are open for business. However, despite the increasing availability of legal cannabis, Soares notes that there are still a number of parents who smoke pot but are remaining hesitant in speaking to their children about marijuana.
If you’re a parent yourself, or know an adult who can’t find the right words in explaining cannabis to a child, the book can be ordered via Amazon.