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It’s Just a Plant: A Children’s Story About Marijuana, Updated Edition


A beautifully illustrated picture book that gives parents a way to discuss marijuana with children without encouraging them to use it.

$17.95 $13.46

What people are saying…

“Part of a growing category of books that attempt to explain difficult and complex topics to children, simply. Whether you’re looking at Death Is Stupid, by Anastasia Higginbotham, or A is for Activist, by Innosanto Nagara, children’s fiction is much less likely to shy away from topics that were previously reserved for those considered to be ‘adults,’ or to cloud those topics in euphemisms.”
Literary Hub, selected by Molly Odintz for LitHub Recommends

“Cortés’ book offers an opportunity for parents to discuss many aspects of the conversation around marijuana.”
High Times

“As controversial as the topic may seem for a kids’ book, [Cortés is] . . . right. It’s crucial for parents to be open and educate their kids about marijuana (and any other drugs, really) in a factual, non-judgmental way—especially if parents are using themselves. After all, keeping drugs’ existence a mystery is only going to spark curious kids’ interests further.”

“With more home schooling taking place due to COVID-19, Ricardo Cortés hopes It’s Just a Plant can spark family-friendly cannabis education.”

“We’ve all heard the sentiment that the more we keep our kids away from something and paint it as ‘dangerous’ or ‘bad,’ the more likely they are to be interested in whatever that is. The same can be said for conversations like his—if we avoid or brush off any questions relating to marijuana for our kids, they’re going to get the information from somewhere and it just feels a whole lot safer knowing they’re getting the right information from you—or a book like this.”

“The fact is, kids who have parents who talk to them openly and respectfully about tough subjects are better able to navigate the chaos of the teen and young adult years. And for that reason, I am so here for this book.”

“Talking to kids about Cannabis use is scary but having books like It’s Just a Plant can make that conversation far less anxiety-inducing as it helps the parents to be more prepared for that heavy discussion.”
Green Market Report

“Absolutely ‘kid friendly’ in tone, organization and presentation, It’s Just a Plant: A Children’s Story about Marijuana is especially recommended for family, preschool, elementary school, and community library . . . collections.”
Midwest Book Review

“A great conversation starter if you want to discuss this topic with your kids.”
Nature Moms

“We are working to normalize cannabis use and along with that is HOW we are discussing the plant with our youth. Education is the answer . . . but where to start? Well, this book is a GREAT starting point!”
High Society Mama

Included in Leafy’s 50 Stoner Books to Beat the Self-Isolation Blues

Included in Publishers Weekly’s Spring 2020 Children’s Sneak Previews!

Included in Booklist’s Spring 2020 Youth Preview!

“The book succeeds in helping parents send two important messages: marijuana has a long history and various uses, and whereas adults can use it responsibly, it is not to be used by children.”
—from the afterword by Marsha Rosenbaum, PhD

It’s Just a Plant gives a glimpse of what enlightened drug education could be.”
—Dr. Andrew Weil, author, founder of the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine

“I highly recommend this little book . . . It’s a jewel.”
—Ethan Nadelmann, founder of the Drug Policy Alliance

“Funny . . . offbeat . . . a riot, with a series of characters explaining the glory of cannabis to a young girl and her mother.”
New York Post

“Ricardo Cortés, an author and illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York, is a pioneer in the genre [of children’s books on cannabis] . . . He was active in drug policy reform advocacy and wanted a tool to help people look at pot from a new perspective.”
Merry Jane


Interest level: 2–5 | Grade level: 3 | Lexile Level: 580L | Guided Reading Level/F&P: O

It’s Just a Plant is a children’s book that follows the journey of a young girl as she learns about the marijuana plant from a cast of characters including her parents, a local farmer, a doctor, and a police officer.

Marijuana can be hard to talk about. Many parents have tried it, millions use it, and most feel awkward about disclosing such histories (often ducking the question), for fear that telling kids the truth might encourage them to experiment too. Meanwhile, the “drug facts” children learn in school can be more frightening than educational, blaming pot for everything from teenage pregnancy to terrorism. A child’s first awareness of drugs should come from a better source.

It’s Just a Plant is a story for parents who want to discuss the complexities of pot with their kids in a thoughtful, fact-oriented manner. The book also features an afterword by Marsha Rosenbaum, PhD, founder of the Safety First Project for drug education and director emerita of the San Francisco office of the Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s leading organization working to end the war on drugs.

Read an announcement/preview of It’s Just a Plant at SheKnows.

Read a preview of It’s Just a Plant at The GrowthOp.

Read a listing of It’s Just a Plant at the Ganjapreneur.

Listen to an interview with Jeff the 420 Chef, with a mention of Ricardo Cortés’s It’s Just a Plant, at Eat Well, Travel Often:

Book Details

  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Published: 4/20/20
  • IBSN: 9781617758003
  • e-IBSN: 9781617758218


RICARDO CORTÉS is the #1 New York Times best-selling illustrator of Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach, and Party: A Mystery, by the acclaimed author Jamaica Kincaid. Cortés has written and illustrated books including Sea Creatures from the Sky and A Secret History of Coffee, Coca & Cola. His work has been featured in the New York Times, Vanity Fair, New York Magazine, and on CNN, Fox News, and the Late Show with David Letterman. You can see his work at Rmcortes.com, or on Twitter and Instagram at @Rmcortes. His latest work is the updated edition of It’s Just a Plant.

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