I had the coolest wedding. The marriage sucked, but the wedding definitely rocked. We held it outdoors, at night, below a giant tent. We had jugglers, stilt walkers, and a killer seven-piece band. We also had a smoking section set away from the crowd. Not a cigarette smoking section, but a spot specifically for smoking weed. We were brazen and blunt-smoking in those pre-baby days. In our kid-free days, we could spark up in the living room impulsively. We didn't worry about a bedtime-resistant toddler descending the staircase, or worse, a preschooler dialing 911 because they smell something burning. We also didn't worry about second-hand smoke–the worst thing that could happen was accidentally stoning our dog. Not that I condone getting dogs high—I don't—but having a kid adds a whole layer of ethical complexity to smoking weed.
After the birth of a baby, decent people's pot smoking styles are bound to change. It's commonplace and occurs for a variety of reasons. For one, do you know how fucking expensive a baby is? Seriously, these little shit-monsters eat up a ton of money. I mean after buying wipes, diapers, and a lengthy list of required infant paraphernalia, who the hell's got money left over for weed? And if you do have cash to spare, you're not dumping it all on an ounce of dope to chill with your friends–at least not in good conscience–you've got college to save for.
Many parents alter their consumption methods after popping out a kid. In our house, when my son was born, blunts were banished because let's be honest people, nobody wants their baby smelling like a blunt. Today, I'm older and more mature, I don't smoke at all. Now, I only vaporize my weed. Some parents give up cannabis altogether after having kids. Those that do still indulge tend to hide it because, well, stigma (and often the law) demands they do so. Society expects parents to be secretive with their weed. Heaven forbid mom or dad actually acknowledges getting high. But realistically, we can't blame anyone for hiding their habit. The sad reality of America is that the law is still perilous for pot-appreciative parents.
I recently chatted about this with my friend Meredith, a fellow ganja lover. "I was much more brash before I had kids," she says. "Once I even tried growing. I had a beautiful plant and right before it bloomed, my family came to visit. My partner and I carefully hid it in the master bathroom. It was fine until my grandfather wandered off during the party and used the master without asking. The entire time he was in there, I was freaking out, but if grandpa knew what my pot plant was, he never said anything. The worst part is, later, when I tried to move the plant back, the stem snapped and she died."
Shortly after the regrettable stem-snapping incident, Meredith gave birth to her son and was never brave enough to try growing weed again. She confided in me about how as a mom, she's nervous just smoking on her back patio. And it's not grandpa she worries about discovering her secret; it's not even her kids. Meredith worries about the legal implications of using cannabis.
As a parent, I totally relate. In fact, there was a period in my own life when the illegality scared me far away from cannabis. After a bitter divorce, I developed an intense fear of marijuana, I wouldn't even hang out with people who smoked weed. During those prohibitionist years, the fear of losing custody of my children over a plant spooked me. I was so brainwashed by the societal stigma that I even resisted trying medical marijuana when I really needed it. It took a severe accident, major surgery, and an irreparable injury for me to accept that marijuana is more vital to my life than I ever realized.
Today, I'm an all-day, every day, (but now legal) cannabis user. And MMJ is a hell of a lot better than the opiates and valium they used to shove down my throat. Because of the tremendous impact cannabis has had on my own life, I just can't subscribe to the idea that smoking weed contradicts good parenting. Parents continue to hide their weed, but statistics suggest that most parents are actually pro-pot. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, 71 percent of the nation's millennials and 57 percent of Gen-Xers are in favor of cannabis legalization. Most parents who are actively parenting in 2017 are from these two generations.
And if you gain their confidence, you'll hear an echo from every damn one of them. Parents who regularly consume weed profess that cannabis improves their parenting. Seth, a 33-year-old dad of four, says cannabis "creates more of an opportunity to parent better" by helping him sleep well. He adds, "Without it right now, my frustration tolerance is way too low."
I concur with Seth; one or two tokes zaps my stress. Personally, I don't know how any parent handles Legos or Minecraft without a little weed. But careful consumption is key here folks, you can't get baked, pass out on the couch, and leave Netflix to babysit your kid. That's not being a parent who smokes weed, that's being a shitty fucking human.
If you do smoke marijuana, I humbly suggest doing it in a ventilated area, away from your children. Second-hand smoke is dangerous and also pretty gross. Vaporizers are awesome. Edibles are excellent, but please consume moderately. You need to be able to function in case of an emergency. Overconsumption is irresponsible.
In September, the CDC released data that shows that parent-aged "grown-ups" (26 to 44-year-olds) are now more likely to use cannabis than teenagers. That's a positive trend, because there are risks and adverse reactions to adolescent use. So discourage underage use by hiding your stash responsibly.
My kids can't get my pot and I don't want them snatching yours either. So please don't keep a baggie of weed tucked into your nightstand; this is a federally regulated substance, not a vibrator. Move your shit to a better hiding spot. Preferably an odor-proof box with a lock. While we're at it, it's even more important to lock up your alcohol: Alcohol is more likely to kill a child than cannabis.
In short, if you're planning to pop out a tiny human, say goodbye to daily wake and bakes. Say hello to sleepless nights and Saturday morning cartoons. Your smoking habits might change a bit, that's expected. You might smoke a little less, you might consume a little differently, but the good news is that with the proper precautions and adjustments, good parents can still get high.
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