The subject of cannabis use as a parent has to be one of the most heavily debated and contested in the western world right now. As more nations, states and regions give the green flag to both recreational and medical cannabis, questions are being asked as to the appropriateness of using cannabis as a parent. Or more specifically, how, when, where and to what extent it is sensible and responsible to use cannabis as a parent.
In order to look into the matter a little more closely, The Guardian in the United Kingdom reached out to its global contingency of readers for their own comments and suggestions on the issue. They were primarily looking to answer the same questions any responsible parent with a taste for cannabis will probably have asked on more than a few occasions, such as:
- When exactly should I be using cannabis?
- Should I tell the kids?
- Where should I consume pot?
- What method should I use and how much should I consume?
- Does cannabis make me a better parent?
- Where should I keep my stash?
- Am I setting the right example?
The list goes on, but what became conclusively evident when the answers started coming in was the way in which that there are clearly diametrically opposed opinions from one parent to the next. Many seem to be in full agreement on certain issues, but there are some very interesting conflicting opinions out there that serve as food for thought if nothing else.
Where and When To Smoke Pot
On the subject of exactly where cannabis should be smoked as a parent, something absolutely everybody seems to agree on was the importance of never smoking in the presence of children. The vast majority spoke of at least leaving the room, should they choose to smoke cannabis during a time where their children are still up and about.
“I do not smoke near my daughter. I smoke in a room at the top of the house well away from her. It allows me to be more patient and less irritable. Smoking cannabis during the day makes me less active and I don’t play as much as I normally would. So I like to keep it to a night thing.” – Tannis, Halifax
Other compare their choice to use cannabis later in the evening to that of any other parents who instead drink wine or beer after their kids have gone to bed.
“I light up a spliff when they have gone to bed and I’m outside with my husband. I don’t get totally blitzed out of mind. If parents can sit about and have a moderate drink of wine or beer around their kids then smoking a joint shouldn’t be classed as anything different.” – Merry, London, UK
It seems that the general consensus was formed on the acknowledgement of the fact that not only is second-hand smoke not particularly healthy for children, but that by keeping things out of sight, you also avoid setting the wrong example at the wrong time of life.
Whether to Tell the Kids
For the most part, it seems that parents prefer to keep their cannabis use a secret from their kids. That is, at least those who have kids of a younger age, who believe that it is best to keep these kinds of things quiet until they get a little older.
“We never, ever would allow our kid (age 12) to know we occasionally partake. It’s not impossible that once he’s quite a lot older (18?), we might be a little less shy about it, but it seems unlikely to me at this point. We have, once or twice, eaten a cookie or something when out at a music festival or lounging by the pool in a hotel while he is with us, but we would never get “totally baked”. I’m a control freak so I’d never be comfortable being really stoned and unable to cope with what might come up when he’s around.” – Max, 51, Los Angeles, California, US
There were also some who stated that when the time did eventually arise to talk about cannabis, they would actively discourage their children from using it. Nevertheless, others indicated that with changing attitudes and the growth/development of their children, they thoroughly enjoy partaking on a regular basis with their kids.
“I didn’t smoke weed around my kids when they were younger, not because I was ashamed of my drug use, but because it is illegal and I didn’t want to encourage them to break the law. Now that they are grown up, and have discovered weed on their own, I smoke with them.” – Steve, 40, Aberdeen, Scotland
Does Weed Make You a Better Parent?
This is perhaps the most heavily contested matter of all, as there are plenty for whom the idea of using any kind of substance like cannabis as a parent is simply abhorrent. Nevertheless, cannabis advocates insist that any such cries are unfair, unfounded and hypocritical to say the least, given the way in which nobody bats an eyelid when parents have the occasional or even a regular glass of wine or two.
For the most part, respondents seemed to comment on the way in which cannabis makes them calmer, more interactive and more playful – all of which can benefit their kids.
“I find it helps me relate to my daughter on her level. I’m more playful and silly and I really enjoy playing dolls, or crazy dancing, or pretend scenarios, or exploring in the woods. It also slows me down and removes the constant goal-reaching aspect of sober adulthood. I don’t rush her around or constantly direct her, and instead I ease back and let her run the show.” – Shawn, 30, Springfield, Massachusetts, US
In fact, some went so far as to say they severely regret not smoking more cannabis when their kids were younger, as a means by which to both reduce stress/anxiety on an everyday basis and connect with them on a much more personal, intimate level.
Then again, there were those who stated that they always attempt to keep their cannabis use confined to times when their children are asleep.
“I rarely smoke when my son is awake, it’s always after he has gone to sleep. I would never smoke marijuana in front of him, and I hide my supplies out of his reach. On the rare occasions when I do smoke during the daytime, it is always minute amounts, and only when we do not have plans to drive anywhere, as I would never drive impaired.” – Anonymous, 31, Maine, US