Pot + Parenting
“As soon as it became legal I told my daughter I smoked, she was around 11 at the time. My youngest is 9 and he has pretty much grown up with it being normal. I think it is important for them to be educated to begin to dissolve those stigmas around cannabis. “
-Amanda, Renton Airport Store Manager
Pot + Parenting. Two words most Americans probably have thought of- that is because if you look at the statistics, 65% of parents say they have smoked as parents themselves. But a better-known fact is that there has always been a stigma against the cannabis user. From being dubbed lazy and stupid, to slow and irresponsible; the list is endless and many terms I may never know, being one those ‘stoners’ myself.
Yet, we do know that these stereotypes do no justice to our culture as a whole, nor do they accurately represent us as individuals. While our industry continues to grow, I am confronted every day with individuals who consume cannabis in a multitude of ways- from crèmes for arthritis to vaping for anxiety or migraines, it is these same individuals who are breaking down the barriers so our business’ can succeed with passion and professionalism, today and in the future!
But what if your number one responsibility is to teach, protect and set a good example for your children? Being a cannabis consumer as a parent can lead to even more criticism, as it is often unjustifiably linked to dangerous behaviors or a perceived lack of responsibility.
If ‘stoners’ or avid cannabis consumers get a bad rap and face never-ending negative stereotypes, then we can only imagine how much harder it is to be a pot parent.
Pot Parents is the new term for those guardians who may enjoy a toke in their garage versus a few beers at the bar after the office.
Pot Parents have been around since cannabis has, so for centuries, yet this term is relatively new. Information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention even reports that middle-aged parents may be more like to use cannabis than their teenage children. Not overly surprising but great facts to support the claim that more people consume cannabis than previously believed, and there is nothing wrong with that!
While this comes as no shock, many still hide in their green closets, largely due to our society being much more accepting of parents drinking than consuming cannabis.
My daughter is in dance, and while I have seen many moms and dads sporting their Budweiser tees and hats, I still remember the daggers I got from the fellow dance moms when one Wednesday when I walked in wearing my WeedSnob t-shirt without first remembering to switch my shirt inside out.
-Ashley, Assistant Inventory Control, Auburn
As much as we wish this wasn’t the case, it is going to take time through experiences with one another for the taboo to start wearing off and the reality to surface. Most people who have tried it or use cannabis regularly are people who look like your best friend and relatives. They are no different from you and I, they just prefer a smoke from a joint or a bite of a cookie over liquor!
So while talking to your kids about cannabis may seem daunting, an even bigger challenge is the stigma and pushback parents face every day, if they choose to disclose their cannabis use during personal time to others, outside of the (cannabis) community or outside their home.
Our employees share their experiences as pot parents, giving insight to the daily hurdles faced as well as their shared hopes for the future of cannabis.
- What is your relationship with cannabis; Are you a daily toker or weekend blazer? How did you get involved with cannabis and what do you enjoy about it? Reasons for your consumption?
Lee, Store Manager at Auburn location
I love cannabis! I have had a passion for cannabis and its many uses since the early 90’s. I am definitely a daily toker, usually in the evenings. I got involved with cannabis personally during my teen curiosity years. After trying most of the go to drugs in High School including Alcohol, I realized that cannabis made me feel good, I never made a decision I would not have otherwise made and I was never hungover the next day after a night of smoking; where otherwise alcohol made people do things they would not otherwise do, they would black out, throw up and feel horrible the next day. Once I realized the pros and cons, Cannabis became my go to recreational substance. From there I began to do more research into it and began to use different strains for different functions. For example, I have CBD Concentrate in place of my Ibuprofin, I love to smoke a nice Sativa and go into my workshop and make stuff, it provides a nice, creative, uplifting high that helps me get into a productive groove. When I cannot sleep at night I go to a heavy indica flower or Deep Sleep Tincture.
Amanda, Store Manager Renton Airport
I’m a daily smoker. I started smoking in high school, I remember the first time like it was yesterday. At lunch, me and my BFF went into a random backyard in a broken down shed and smoked out of a pop can.
I like how cannabis helps with my anxiety and aids my sleep without forcing me to take any medication. My brain doesn’t like to shut off at night and if I don’t smoke before bed I cannot sleep. I use to take over the counter sleep aids that made me draggy when I woke up, weed does not make me feel yucky in the morning.
Vee, Assistant Store Manager, Auburn location
I am a daily, all day, all night and weekend toker. At first it was brought to me for help, then turned into enjoyment and interest. I use it though now for helping my way of living. It helps me manage my chronic pain as well as helping keep my calm. The list goes on and on!
Lanell, Assistant Store Manager at Renton Airport
I’m in love with cannabis, and almost everyday I learn something new about it! It fascinates me- all that you can make with just one plant. I’m a daily toker, of course, lol. Like many of us, I’m sure, I started when I was a teenager, experimenting. Cannabis helps relax me. I also enjoy how CBD works for me. I love how each strain has a different type of high (hazy, clear, euphoric).
Tara, Budtender at Renton IKEA District
My relationship with cannabis is rather extensive. Over the last year I have realized it was really part of my culture. There was a grow-room in my childhood home so cannabis was normal for me. As an adult, I smoke cannabis often throughout the day and have so for many years. The reasons I smoke vary. Sometimes it is for medicinal purposes, other times it is just to feel high.
My first experience with cannabis was when I was fifteen and at that time I wanted to know why it was everywhere. Once I tried it, I found that my mind was more at ease so I smoked even more. By the time I graduated high school I smoked every day and was known for persuading others to try it too. Then, and now, I believed in the positive, mind altering properties of marijuana.
Since my teen years cannabis has been a regular part of my life.
Ashley, Assistant Inventory Control, Auburn location
Mary Jane is literally my best friend! I definitely always have to find time after my busy day to light up. Between 40 hours at work and a busy 5 year old, I cherish nothing more. When I first started smoking it was all for fun but these days its my getaway.
- Growing up, what was the understanding about cannabis in your household? How did your parents view it and how did they pass on that knowledge, understanding and feeling towards the plant, on to you?
Lee Cannabis was hardly considered a drug when I was growing up. It was in our household, the bong was kept behind the leg of one of our tables and there were about a hundred plants in our garage, which I was raised to call tomato plants. They never talked about it and I never asked or touched it. I knew it was a grown up thing and just never messed with it.
Amanda My parents acted like they didn’t smoke. I don’t think my dad did, I know he was exposed to it though. My mom on the other hand, I found her yearbook from high school with comments in it about smoking weed from her classmates.
Vee My parents never talked to me about things in depth and didn’t speak to me about cannabis other than it was very bad and against our Faith. (I was raised in a very strict Christian Mexican home.)
Lanell The view in my mom’s house growing up was that cannabis was bad, the ‘typical stoner stereotype’ or worse. At my dad’s house (parents were divorced) it was viewed as being fine. Since my dad smoked and also grew at one point in time, he did pass on a little bit of growing knowledge to me.
Tara Ever since I was a small child I was exposed to cannabis. My mother and former stepfather used to smoke it around my younger sister and I when we were five and six. We both knew not to tell anyone because it was “bad” and the cops wouldn’t like it.
Even though I was exposed to it often, I did not smoke it until I was fifteen and lived in a calm home where it was grown. By that time I had a father who was kind and respectful so I became more interested in what he was interested in. His brother and he had both grown marijuana ever since they were fifteen, so I thought it would be interesting to try. At that time, marijuana was everywhere in the house but we all knew to still keep quiet about it.
Ashley Growing up marijuana or rather any drugs were a big no no. My family sufferers from drug addiction so I grew up fearing I would turn out like them. As I got older and finally experimented I realized it was far from anything like that.
3. What do you think your kids know about cannabis?
Lee My son just turned 4 years old and he has not crossed paths with it yet, that I am aware of. I only keep it in my garage and he never sees me smoke. Everything is locked in a cabinet and if I am on Daddy Duty I refrain from smoking.
Amanda My kids know a ton about cannabis. I feel it is important, especially for my 16-year-old daughter. The more she knows the less “curious” she will be. We have great conversations on why she should wait to partake until she is older, and the importance of staying focused in school.
Vee Gosh, that’s hard to answer. My boys are very young but they have seen it and they know that it helps Mom with her chronic pain. Better than Ibuprofen!
Lanell I know for a fact that my children know a lot about cannabis. We are very honest with our boys; they know we smoke. They also know I work at a recreational marijuana shop. We have answered a lot of questions for them since the boys are 16 and 18.
Tara My children know a lot about cannabis. They know I work in the industry and that I will use it until I die. They understand it is to be used by adults but the plant also has medicinal properties which could benefit anyone, even other children.
My sixteen year old is least interested in it. He wants to work in the aerospace industry and knows there are tests done for THC, so he does not wish to ever use—even though he has friends who do.
My middle son is very indifferent about it. He likes the fact his father’s PTSD has subsided due to the use of cannabis and that my back doesn’t hurt when I use it. Other than that, he doesn’t say much about it.
My youngest is ten years old and he is the most interested in cannabis. There are many days I wish the plant was used even more medicinally so that I could help calm much of his anxiety and anger he has due to his disorder (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). He often tells me he wants to work in the cannabis industry when he grows up.
Ashley My daughter is only 5 so I don’t think she knows much other than to not touch it. Although I do not ever partake in front of my child, I don’t want her thinking it is bad or something to be ashamed of. I think when the time comes I will explain it as simply as I would alcohol.
How do you plan, or if you have already, how was the subject broached with your kids?
Lee When he gets old enough to start experimenting or he or his friends start to talk about it at whatever age, I plan to have an open conversation about it. I will certainly encourage him to wait until he is of legal age to use anything, but I think an open dialogue is necessary.
Amanda Before it was legal I would go outside to smoke or hide in the second bathroom, and blow it into the vent. As soon as it became legal I told my daughter I smoked, she was around 11 at the time. My youngest is 9 and he has pretty much grown up with it as being normal. I think it is important for them to be educated to begin to dissolve those stigmas around cannabis. The one thing I have to be respectful of is when the kids have friends stay the night. We are super discreet due to the fact that I don’t want to cause any reasons for anything uncomfortable between me and the other parents.
Vee I plan on using myself as an example, as well as how my children’s father got started, as an example. Two different ways we got into it and why, and explain what happens if it is used responsibly or not. I want to stress that I rather it be brought up to me so that I have a chance to educate properly and to be able to have them safe around me at least, rather than quiet and somewhere else.
Tara The subject was slowly introduced as a normal activity. It is not done in the house and they are not allowed out in the garage, where it is done, so there is never an issue. By the time any of them knew about cannabis, it was already medicinally legal so there was no need to hide it.
Ashley Being a cannamom of a 5 year old definitely has its stigmas. For the last 20 years we have been taught to look down upon the people who smoke while we encourage people to drink alcohol. My daughter is in dance and while I have seen many moms and dads sporting their Budweiser tees and hats I still remember the daggers I got from the fellow dance moms one weedsnob Wednesday when I walked in without first remembering to switch my shirt inside out.
Along with just the normal stigmas of smoking I also am faced with the questions from some that ask how I can possibly support my child while working at a “weed store” or the comment of what do you tell your daughter what you do for a living.
5. Have you faced any stigmas or negativity responses from society or your family, friends or acquaintance due to your cannabis use as a parent? Share your experience.
Lee Nobody has directly said anything negative to me, but I have gotten a couple of sideways glances in public if I am wearing my Evergreen Gear with my son in tow. It is what it is, I think it is up to us to change the stigma of irresponsible stoners into professionals, parents and productive members of society that choose to use adult use cannabis as a means of relaxation or alternative medicine. So I do not shy away from it and I am open to have a conversation with anyone about the topic.
Amanda The stigmas and negativity haven’t been too bad now that it is becoming more accepted. At first, friends were uncomfortable smoking in front of the kids, if we were out camping or rafting. Now when we have parties and family get togethers it is normal for us to light up. I don’t let the kids sit in the room and get hot boxed! We have a “smoking room.”
Vee Every day of my life so far now that I work in the Industry. Many people judge me for being a mother in the industry. At first my family wasn’t for it. Now that CBD is catching on they seem to accept it more and think less dangers of it being around my kids.
Lanell My mom and stepdad are pretty much against smoking cannabis. When I got this job I finally had to tell my parents that I smoked marijuana since I was 14, I believe they always knew but not from me until then. My mother was very upset at first and would say to me about the boys” you know they learn what they live,” as if we smoked in front of them or something.
Tara The only negativity I have received is from my ex-husband’s mother, who tries to find any reason—real or fabricated—to take my children from me. She sees cannabis as a drug which ruins lives and any exposure will cause you to be a criminal. There was even a time when she called Child Protective Services claiming we were cooking drugs when I made infused brownies. This was in 2015, after cannabis was legal and my current husband held his medical marijuana card as well. Needless to say, the investigation came up as an unfounded report. Her negative views and her actions surrounding them are the only issues I have ever faced.
Ashley Some moms like to drink wine to unwind from their days and well, this mommy chooses marijuana. I hope that in the future it is seen as just as acceptable.
How do you hope society changes or adapts in the future to allow acceptance for cannabis use amongst parents?
Lee I hope and believe that over the next decade the stigma behind Cannabis, not just with parents using it, but overall will subside as the general public gets more educated on the actual effects and almost unlimited uses. I am proud to be at the forefront of the cannabis movement and be working for a company that promotes the education, celebration and elevation of cannabis overall. It is the next step and takes a large, connected, and responsible tribe to change the public’s perception.
Vee I hope that it changes for the better and that people become aware that it’s an alternative (safer at that) way to be able to treat things rather than the worse things out there. Cannabis saves.
Lanell I hope in the future society sees cannabis like a glass of wine or a beer, that it’s not that big of a deal, we are getting there. And hey, sometimes you have to relax before you yell at your kids!
Tara My hope for the future is that cannabis is seen for all its uses, and not just something you use to “get high.” I hope all cannabinoids are cultivated even more so parents can use the medicine produced from them to help treat not only themselves, but their children as well. Wouldn’t it be great for a parent to be able to have a natural, effective solution that is not in the form of a caustic pill full of chemicals for their little ones?
If it were not for the negative view of my former mother in law I would use CBD or CBG to help my son. However, if I did do that and she found out I would lose him. It breaks my heart that I could shove a pill in him which would ruin his stomach, or cause other, more serious issues, but I can’t give him a natural tincture which would be even more effective. Someday, maybe the powers that be will understand and support cannabis more fully.
- How old were you when your parents found out that you smoked? Did you tell them or were you discovered? What was their reaction?
Lee My mom found out I was smoking weed when I was 15, there was not much of a reaction other than do not get into a car with someone who is stoned or drunk. A few months later she found out I was smoking cigarettes, that one made her really angry.
Amanda I think my parents had suspicions but never really asked.
Vee I told them this past year when I got in the industry. Up until then I have been silent about it because I knew how they felt. They weren’t as angry as I thought, a few things were said, but ultimately it was civil.
Lanell 14 years old, I had gotten a joint from my dad. Got busted by my mom- she was pissed when she found the joint. I was grounded.
Tara My parents found out I smoked when I was sixteen. Both of them were told by me since it seemed stupid to hide it. My mother thought it was funny I thought I had to hide it for a year and insisted I smoke with her. My dad said he would like to be disappointed but he couldn’t since he didn’t think it was that bad. Overall, there was no issue and I ended up having access to better marijuana.
8. Do/did you ever smoke weed with your parents or a relative? How old were you when you first found out they smoke and how did you find out?
Vee I have never smoked with my parents. My Uncle though was another story. We were in the garage and i hit it a few ways.
Lanell My biological father let me know he smoked at 14 years of age. He asked me if I ever smoked, at the time I had only smoked once before that, so he smoked with me. I also smoked with one of my uncles one year at Thanksgiving when I was 16 years old. They approached me and asked if I smoked. I also smoke with my brother in law, sister, and sister in law. It is amazing how smoking a bowl can be such a bonding session.
Tara My mom makes me infused butter, honey, and oil all the time and gives me joints every time I see her. My father works out of the country but I make sure he has his nugs when he comes home, and am the first to smoke with him when he does. Recently, I found out my biological father and stepmother smoke as well and have smoked joints with them too. Cannabis has been a bonding item with my family. When we get together we pass the pipe around and share stories. In the end we are happy and give out hugs. There is never a bad day when you share a joint or a bowl with a family member.
Looking for advice on how to talk to your kids about your cannabis use?
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