It is now legal to buy marijuana for recreational use both in Colorado, and as of this week, Washington State. Diane Fornbacher, a long-time cannabis activist and mom of two boys, 11 and 5, would like to clear up some common misconceptions about parenting and using pot.
1. No, I don’t deal weed out of my house.
I live in Colorado, where I can safely and legally purchase cannabis as a responsible, tax-paying citizen in a safe environment at a licensed facility that has a security team, checks my identification to see if I am an adult, and tests their cannabis for quality, molds and pesticides. The taxes from my purchases go to our state’s schools to improve education. That makes me a happy, conscientious customer.
2. No, I won’t sell you weed at school when we’re picking up our kids.
Some joker saw me on the news and thought it was amusing to ask me, loudly, the next day at the elementary school during pickup, if he could get some marijuana. Not funny. While some activists are parents who have dispensaries and do sell it legally, I am not one of them and I most certainly would not even think about doing that at a school. Time and place, buddy.
3. No, I don’t just want to legalize cannabis because I like getting high.
I mean, I do like to consume cannabis, as it is enjoyable, but mostly it helps me control the anxiety, hypersensitivity and depression that comes with Complex PTSD. It also helps me with migraines, premenstrual dysphoria and cramps. I'm not exactly Cheech, Jeff Spicoli, Kumar, or whatever your cultural image of a "stoner" looks like.
4. No, I am not going to corrupt your children.
I don’t want your kids to consume cannabis if they are under the age of 21. I don’t even want them to use it as adults if they don’t want to. What I do want is for them to be able to make that choice for themselves when they reach age 21. If they want to engage in the safer choice for recreational or medicinal substances, that should be their right. That’s a real American situation right there — the freedom to choose!
5. No, I am not going to judge you for drinking alcohol.
If you are a responsible drinker and don’t wreck your car into my family, steal from us, beat any of us up and just want to chill with any alcoholic beverage on your own time at a bar or your home, that is really none of my business. I also engage in a drink or two myself. Who am I to judge? However, let’s agree that by comparison, the possibility for unsavory incidents is a lot higher with alcohol than it will ever be with cannabis.
6. No, I do not get high with my kids.
They don’t even see me medicate or consume cannabis. When we lived in New Jersey, my kids never saw anyone do it, but since we’ve moved to Colorado, they have seen some people use a vaporizer across a yard from them at a barbecue, and also walked into a kitchen where a patient was vaporizing. Neither person tried to coerce my children to join them. My children showed no interest in joining them. They also did not spontaneously combust or turn into heroin addicts through some imaginary pop-up gateway to the dark underworld of hard drugs.
7. No, I don’t smoke weed all day.
I actually don’t smoke cannabis all that often. Once in a while, like when I am at a cannabis competition such as the High Times Magazine Cannabis Cup, it might happen, but nothing crazy occurs — unless you count the nice 15 minute nap I took. Or the shiitake mushroom burger I ate with an organic kale and apple shake after I woke up. Mostly, I prefer to vaporize hash oil, or eat a small bit of a medible (medical edible) or have a 10 mg dose of a tincture twice a day — if I choose to consume that day at all.
8. No, I don’t use cannabis to cope with my kids.
I spend much more time around my children without ingesting cannabis than I do after consuming it. I am a good parent. We read together, play in the park, hunt for minerals in the Rocky Mountains, use miniature construction equipment in the sandbox and ride bikes together. They eat well and wear clean clothes that fit them nicely. However, I have also been around my children after I have consumed cannabis legally. It didn’t affect my interactions with them adversely. In fact, it didn’t change how I felt about them or the way I treated them, just as they felt no differently toward me. Cannabis did make Play-Doh, coloring books and Legos much more interesting to me, though.
Diane Fornbacher is the publisher of Ladybud Magazine, a lifestyle publication with a focus on cannabis reform. She is a member of the board at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), co-founder of the NORML Women's Alliance, and a Member of the Board at the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey. Most importantly, Diane is a mother to two young sons and wants them to live in a more compassionate and sensible world.