My 7 rules for being a responsible stoner parent

Guest post by Lisa
By: John MorganCC BY 2.0

“Mama, Mama! Let’s play Candyland!”

“Okay, honey! Just give me a moment. I have to use the restroom.”

Candyland is so much more fun baked when you’re an adult. In fact, marijuana makes a lot of things more bearable and even fun. Pot can make you patient and relaxed. I get it, and so does a sizable portion of society. It’s completely understandable to smoke weed even when you’re a parent. That being said, there are some rules I chose to follow as a pot-smoking parent.

By: PabloEvansCC BY 2.0

The needs of my children come first

Don’t buy weed if your kids are going hungry. Don’t run off to smoke a doobie every chance you get then spend an hour or more hiding from your kids so they don’t figure out you’re stoned. It would probably be smart to have a “backup adult” in case you have a bad high. Get a babysitter, have your partner there sober, or wait until the kids are asleep or at school.

Also, this should be obvious, but don’t smoke weed with your kid. If your kid is under 18 definitely don’t share a doobie with them. Over 18, well, then you decide… I guess.

Know the local laws

Do you know how much weed can land you in jail? If the laws in your state are strict, you might want to try a legal alternative. If you allow your teenage/adult child to smoke weed in your home, be aware you could end up with legal trouble. The goal: staying out of jail.

Know when to abstain

Are you looking for employment? Are you currently going through a custody case or other legal battle? Then don’t be a dummy. Stop smoking pot. Do you have other responsibilities? Are you using marijuana to procrastinate? Are you smoking pot out of a crumpled soda can you found in a pile of trash and debris on your floor/table? Be real with yourself. Either get productive when you toke, or reward yourself with reefer when you complete your project, errands, and chores.

By: Hammerin ManCC BY 2.0

Don’t toke and drive

This is another that should be obvious, but isn’t always. Just don’t do this. In some areas you can actually get arrested for a DUI for simply having any amount of marijuana on you while driving, and DUIs are no joke.

I get my supply from a reliable source

Don’t find a dealer on Craigslist, and don’t allow toxic people into your life (and/or the lives of your children) just because they can provide the pot or because “Hey, they like to smoke pot, too!”

I don’t let “Pot Smoking Parent” become my identity

If you feel like you’re smoking too much you might want to consider backing off. If somebody suggests you’re smoking too much you may want to consider taking a break from the bong. If people start asking you “Are you high?” every time they see you, marijuana moderation may be called for.

I hide my shit!

Don’t leave baggies and pipes laying about. Head shops sell lots of nifty safes you can use to store your stash. Invest in one of them. You don’t want your kids to get into your ganja.

I realize my kids will eventually figure out what I’m doing

Do you preemptively talk to your kid about marijuana? Do you let your child silently come to the realization? Do you wait for the day you get called out by your kid after DARE presents a program at their school? Well, that I can’t decide for you.

Eventually, whether or not you discuss it, your kid is going to figure out you smoke(d) marijuana. How you plan to discuss it is entirely up to you.

Comments on My 7 rules for being a responsible stoner parent

  1. I’ll start this by saying I don’t smoke pot. I did a LOT of it in my mid to late teens, but my psychiatric illnesses and the medications I need to take for them mean that cannabis is not an option for me. This is a shame, as I also have fibromyalgia and have heard great stories about the use of cannabis as a pain reliever, but there you go. If it wasn’t for my mental problems, you bet your arse I’d be toking with some regularity.

    Thank you for this post, for advice which other parents struggling with reconciling their stoner status with their status as a responsible parent, and I may come back to it in the future if this ever becomes an option for me again!

  2. As someone whose parents were drug-doing hippies, let me just say: expect that your kid is probably gonna have to become the adult you aren’t, if you’re getting stoned while they’re awake, even if it is just to make playing Candyland more bearable.

    (Getting high while your kid is asleep or away for the day, I can more easily tolerate. But as a person who remembers my mom being high around me, and remembers what that felt like, when I was five? Yeah. That wasn’t so cool.)

    I’m aware my attitude makes me prudish.

    And I am fully in favor of legalization. But (again, as a result of my childhood) I won’t ever be toking.

      • She did mostly follow those rules, as far as I recall. I wouldn’t necessarily call her an addict (although as the child of alcoholics, she definitely has some addictive tendencies).

        She did the best she could, honestly. (Her family history is really fucked up.)

        But she *was* high/ drunk/ on X in front of me. Not a lot, just occasionally (and AFAIK she quit when I was about 6 and didn’t start again til I was an adult – and I think she’s quit again).

        She’s always told me about how I would react (crying and asking her to stop) to her being high/ drunk. (And the person who posted about her mom’s cigarette use? My mom did that, too, and I successfully got her to quit when I was about 10. I am asthmatic, she shouldn’t have been smoking anywhere near me!)

        What wasn’t cool about it? I always had to be the adult in the house, from the earliest age I remember. She was not. She wasn’t present and I knew it, I could feel it.

        Even when she wasn’t smoking, her memory has been shot since I can remember. It’s cumulative.

        Negative impact: who can say. Considering my history, I am doing very well. I am stable. I graduated college (first in a generation in my family). I’ve been in a stable, extremely awesome relationship for 18 years. I’m mostly happy and healthy. I’m committed to activism, to making the world a better place.

        I’m not perfect. And I know no one is, but the *choice* to be stoned/ drunk/ impaired in front of a child is a choice I don’t agree with and wouldn’t personally make.

        BTW, in case you were wondering, I differentiated my parents as “drug-doing hippies” because I also actively identify as a hippie — albeit a more post-punk hippie. Some hippies did drugs, others don’t. Not everyone who tokes is a hippie.

        Probably most people who first meet me assume I’m a stoner, because of my dreadlocks (I’m white) and environmentalist/ anti-consumerist/ artistic/ radically liberal (hippie) lifestyle.

        I do drink occasionally, but only if there’s another parent around and mostly only after bedtime, or a half a glass of wine with dinner. I can count on one hand the times I’ve been hungover. I tried smoking pot three times in college – everyone I knew was smoking (I grew up in Northern CA) – and felt nothing and the third time I had a near-fatal asthma attack.

        What would my life have been without me having to become an adult so early? What would have happened if I hadn’t taken on so much care-taking and felt so much shame?

        I have absolutely no idea.

        I do agree with harm-reduction and my comment wasn’t saying I didn’t think this article shouldn’t have been posted.

        Parenting IS rough. I’m not disagreeing with that. (I have my own internet addiction to deal with, that’s how I personally check out. Sigh.)

        I’m also not denying pot is a good recreational (and medicinal) drug for some people.

        What I’m saying is that if you make this choice, there may be consequences. Who can say what they will be in every case. I only know what the consequence was in my case (and in several friends cases).

        (And the consequence of the oldest kid becoming an adult too early is probably the lesser of the consequences I know about, but the story of my younger sibling is not mine to tell.)

        • (I have my own internet addiction to deal with, that’s how I personally check out. Sigh.)

          This. THIS. THISSSSSS. Times fifty bazillion. If we want to talk about destructive parenting behaviors, this is the one that concerns me the most in myself. Yes, my work on the internet is how I support my family, but in terms of addictive/damaging behavior, I see my son’s life WAY more impacted by my own unhealthy internet time management than any recreational inebriation.

          • I’d like to say I have a set of rules in place to help me on this issue, but I don’t, not really.

            Well, I have a few. I mostly only use my iPod and not my desktop when he’s around. I put the iPod away (I keep it tucked into my bra which is kinda funny, when I set it down, my son brings it to me to “put away” LOL – like many ASD kids he has strong feelings about order) when he’s interacting with me, unless we’re taking pictures together. He gets it to play with sometimes, too.

            I have tried taking internet sabbaticals, but it really doesn’t work for me since 99% my socializing (aside from my husband) is done online.

            And my brain craves the distraction of games sometimes.

            Since my kid is now in full time school, it’s easier to be present when he’s around but the constant (I mean constant) barrage of sound from him triggers my noise sensitivity.

            (And that’s not even getting into the marital issues.)

            Sigh. For real this is one of THE issues of our time.

        • Wait you have dreadlocks and are an adult? Like a real one? Or a 30 year old McDonald’s employee adult? Honestly your story seems like you have no idea what your saying u just said u had to become an adult too early bc of your mom smoking pot but then you said she stopped when you were 6 and didn’t start until you were an adult. That just seems like she was that kind of parent and you were that type of kid. The weed had nothing to do with it? Or am I wrong?..

        • I’m glad you metioined the other evils, namely drink and X!?

          Wow! I would never take X in front of kids.

          I smoke weed but function normally on it; work, home etc all easy and run of the mill.

        • Sounds like your mom was using marijuana in a very unresponsible way. If she was consuming it along with alcohol and X, that tells us all everything we need to know about your mom. Most parents who smoke marijuana responsibly don’t have any issues raising their children in a healthy and happy environment. It seems to me that your mom had other behavioral (possibly mental) issues and suffered from addiction. To blame the use of marijuana is irresponsible.

          I’m a veteran going to school full time with plans to return to the workforce without any issues. My wife is a nurse and has 0 issues working. We both use marijuana as a way to relax and take the edge off of a long day so that we don’t react in an unhealthy way around the kids due to stress. Perhaps your mom should have been working full time, and she should have kept busy. Most responsible adults that use marijuana equate it to a glass of wine (not a bottle). If you’re getting stoned to the point that you can’t function, then you shouldn’t be around kids. If you don’t know your limits, then you shouldn’t be around kids.

          That being said, you should be more objective about your situation versus what most people experience. It’s pretty obvious your mother had some serious issues which affected you, and it doesn’t seem like marijuana was the culprit. She was probably just lazy, hated life, and needed to be intoxicated to deal with it. Again, not healthy and not normal.

    • Speaking as the child of two stoner parents, when I was three, I managed to seriously cut my hand while they were high. I don’t know how DFAC wasn’t involved as it was to the tendon.

      The message you are inadvertently giving to your kid when you have to light up to play with them is that you have to be high to enjoy spending time around them.

      • My son seriously cut his finger open requiring stitches and physical therapy when he was 2. I was not high, nor drunk, nor impaired in any way. Accidents happen.
        I don’t think anyone is saying that the only time they can play with their kids is when they partake. I love spending time with my kids – depending on the activity. Sometimes it’s as boring as a mofo. And no, I don’t smoke.

        • In this case, my parents were high and *they admit* their judgment was worse because of it. It was the first in several things that got them to quit by the time I was 7. My dad spending money on weed that they later needed to take me to the doctor was the final straw- but in their judgement, their parenting was significantly impacted by being stoned.

    • I grew up in a large scale grow house that was part of an even larger grow operation. I mean we were living in the dark so our electric bill wouldn’t be so suspicious, blankets and foil over the windows so the lights couldn’t be seen from the outside, crazy insane air filters so the neighbors wouldn’t smell. My parents weren’t just hippies smoking pot, they were felons.

      I do support the legalization of marijuana, but i agree, I became the adult my parents couldn’t be. I smoked pot maybe twice in high school, hated it every time. I absolutely hated that I couldn’t have friends over and hated that I couldn’t just be a normal kid. Honestly, it’s sad we live in a society that doesn’t like pot, but we do and i think our kids deserve to grow up without feeling like I did.

  3. I stopped smoking pot when we found out I was pregnant with number 1 . Since I breastfed, I didn’t partake again for nearly two years all up. Tried one after I stopped nursing and it blew my bloody mind! Decided then and there I wouldn’t make a good stoner mum, so haven’t had any since. Bout 9 years ago now.
    My husband still puffs almost daily, and is the most loving attentive dad my kids could hope for. He leaves the house about 5 each morning for work, and is home most days before the kids get home from school. We do homework and reading together with the kids, then dad takes all four on their bikes to the local playground while I get dinner ready.
    We haven’t figured out how to talk about the subject yet, but I guess since honesty has worked with every other question they’ve had, we will do the same with this one.
    And yep, kids needs always come first. Mortgage, groceries, fuel, school excursions, sports teams, the list is almost endless. But when it does finally finish, mum and dad time.

  4. I’ll leave my opinion on this to myself, mostly because I never enjoyed smoking weed and can only go on my own experience with what it’s like to smoke it. But I will say though that if you (not ‘you the author’ but the general ‘you’) are smoking weed or using other drugs (including alcohol) while hosting a playdate or otherwise watching someone else’s child, it is your responsibility to let the other parent(s) know that this is something that will be going on around their kid. The author didn’t address this (perhaps because she wouldn’t do it herself–but this came up on another site and things got quite heated) but I would certainly want to know if the supervising parent was stoned around my kid. I mean, it’s really none of my business what someone does around their own kids, but everything changes when it concerns mine.

    • I think we share the same life! Everything you just said is exactly what I went through, am going through and how I will deal with it when I do. I think now a days, especially in Canada IMO, pot isn’t such a big deal. I think I get more negative reactions to my hands and knuckles being tattooed as a mom then my friend who is a legal grower and *gasp* a wonderful single mother. I haven’t smoked pot in years but I have nothing against it as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. I’ve seen first hand the affects of alcohol and grew up with alcoholic parents and even seeing parents at the bar I would much rather my husband come home and smoke a bowl then have a drink. As long as it doesnt become an issue…

  5. I love that this article was posted not because I am a pot smoking parent myself but I totally support the legalization of weed. I have gotten a ton of grief from my husband about drinking and being a parent but like the aurthor wrote, you have a set of rules. I would never breast feed drunk, don’t drink more than one beer if I am around my older kid, never drink if I am driving, etc.

    I used to be a nurse for a methadone clinic and was surprised to hear even heroin users set similar rules. For one woman, she made sure her kids were bathed fed and at school on time before she got high and did small amounts so she could be able to care for them when they got home. A break from the rules was how she knew she became an addict and needed help, she was getting high in the bathroom and asking her eldest son who was about 8 to care for the younger siblings.

    What is really important is knowing limits, don’t be in denial about your abilities to function, and LISTEN, don’t be defensive, if someone tells you hey you are going too far. I am a firm believer that people can be occasional users without being addicts. Its just a blurry line at times.

  6. As a mom who was raised by drug addicts/alcoholics, I am really sad about this post. It was NOT cool when my parents were drunk or stoned around us. I remember finally just starting to play alone because I didn’t want to be around them.

    Also, to add to the ‘your kid will find out’ bit, when they do, you will have to explain to them what laws are ‘ok’ to break and which are not. In my experience, for children and teenagers this can be a very scary area. You will also run the risk of them outing you to school officials or other police–“wait, my mommy does that! Its not bad, she says it’s fun!” slippery, slippery slope.

    • I want to address this head-on: this is NOT a post about being an addict or an alcoholic and raising kids. It’s a post about responsibly using a substance while raising kids. NO ONE is advocating that someone gets so stoned they can’t be around their kids. I’m sorry for the experiences you had growing up, but it’s totally possibly for a parent to responsibly use a substance and be an amazing parent all the time.

      As for the second part: the comments in the post How are you going to talk to your kids about drugs? really touched on this.

      • I totally understand what you’re saying Stephanie, but based on my experiences of knowing a whole lotta people who enjoyed various drugs in their day, there is a *large* number out there whose perception of their own actions while high or drunk is totally out of step with how they’re actually acting. So in the realm of this discussion, I think it’s a valid question to ask regarding one’s condition while around their kids. I’ve known far too many stoners who went about their day thinking that no one could tell they were stoned, but to most it was painfully obvious. Others cope incredibly well or even better while high. But it’s a slippery slope to assume that each person who chooses to use drugs while “on-duty” with their kids has the self-awareness to be fully aware of their behavior and actions.

      • Stephanie, I think that your comment that it is “totally possible for a parent to responsibly use a substance and be an amazing parent all the time” is opinion, not fact. I also think that being an amazing parent is very different from being a responsible parent.

        • What is your argument against her opinion? Is it just your opinion or do you have something to add that could make her opinion change?
          First you need to define what a responsible parents is and then explain how an amazing parent would not be classed as responsible? Is a responsible parent one that plays with their kids, educates them, goes to work to make sure they are fed, clothed and have shelter? How does consuming cannabis stop a parent from being responsible?

          • I have no argument against Stephanie’s opinion, it’s her opinion – what’s to argue? I did, however, feel that she was moderating Adrienne’s comment in an attempt to invalidate it.

        • Likewise, everyone has SOMETHING they “need” to get through a hard day. These thing can include coffee, tea (even herbal tea), chocolate, milkshakes, a glass of wine, cupcakes etc. And yes, there are hard parenting days as there are wonderful parenting days because that’s what days are like. Am I suggesting that a little marijuana or a glass of wine is as innocuous as a cupcake? Yes I am. As many people have said, different people react differently to different substances. Some can handle their marijuana very well. Some gets tummy aches from cupcakes. I also want to point out that a lot of people who are mentioning that they have had bad experiences with substance-abusing parents have also mentioned OTHER substances in conjunction with marijuana. On a personal note, my mother was a teetotaler and I have MANY, MANY dark memories from my childhood. I honestly believe that if she had smoked the occasional tea stick, things would have vastly improved.

          • Yup, agreed.

            A lot of what’s ‘acceptable’ to you is based on whether you think cannabis is worse than alcohol or not. (Or indeed worse than cupcakes.)

            Ultimately everyone has to make this decision for themselves. There is often legislation, you can read the scientific research, you can know your own and your family’s needs. Up to you.

            Personally, I’ve never used cannabis, but I bet it can be treated responsibly, as alcohol can be. (Using something along the lines of the rules of the original poster.)

          • Yes to this! I can have a beer to take the edge off no problem, but if I do the same with sweets or junk food, I’m looking at a 50/50 shot of having to lie down for the next half hour while my stomach settles. No biggy most of the time, but now that I’m a parent that can be a serious handicap!

    • This post made me sad too. A friend of mine had pot-smoking parents, and it always made me really uncomfortable. They weren’t out of control – I’m sure they had similar rules – but still. I didn’t feel good or safe around it as a kid. What parents do on their own time, away from kids, I have no problem with. But doing around/in front of the kids is a different story. As a kid who was in that position – it wasn’t good.

      • I have a lot of friends and family in recovery, and I totally recognize that there are many of us who cannot use substances moderately. That said, I also recognize that many people CAN be responsible about their substance use, and I strongly feel there needs to be room for discussing the wide space between complete sobriety and addiction.

        • Agreed. My dad (and I assume my mom on occasion) was a very regular smoker when I was a child and still is. He also owned and operated a business, had an active social life with non-smoking friends and devoted his life to my mother and me. I was a teenager before I knew he smoked (you’d think I would have realized his tin snowman “Snowy” was his stashbox) and when we talked about it he was always very frank and honest with me. As an adult I’ve smoked pot occasionally though not since becoming a parent. I know that our honest communication is a huge reason that I have a healthy relationship with pot use. Neither my childhood nor adulthood were negatively affected by my dad’s regular smoking. There’s no reason any other responsible user can’t have the same outcome with their kids

          • I’m glad to see this. My parents both smoked while I was growing up and were very responsible about it. They had rules much like this. They were always honest with me about it when I was old enough to understand. I never saw any difference between them having a beer or a smoke in the evening.

            I know that addiction and substance abuse can be really touchy topics but I think Ariel’s right about the need for discussion in the space between complete sobriety and substance abuse. It’s a continuum. I’d much rather see discussion about responsible pot use than comments damning anyone who’s ever taken a hit or had a beer while around their kids.

          • My dad smoked (amongst other things!) during my childhood and I had NO IDEA until I was in my mid-twenties. I would assume that was because of rules like those in this post.

          • Agreed. My mom and dad both smoked, and once dad took off my mom sold (not huge amounts, but enough to cover food). I knew about it from the time I was 10 or so, and never really thought twice. I didn’t try it until I was 21 and I also never got drunk, tried cigarettes, or partied as a teenager. Besides the typical teenage drama and the fact that my dad eventually left for another woman never to be seen again (totally unrelated to pot) I had a pretty happy, healthy childhood. I have six very well adjusted siblings, too.

            Not everyone ends up like that, of course.

            My boyfriend and I both smoke, he more often than I do, and we will once the baby’s here too. To me it’s the same (better, really… my stepdad drinks and it’s a big issue) as alcohol. I wouldn’t get trashed when I’m taking care of him and I won’t be stoned either.

  7. My wife and I are very disappointed this article was accepted to be displayed on this website. To claim it is OK to be impaired in front of your children is irresponsible and in my state illegal. Its depressing to hear the author prefers to be impaired by marijuana when she plays with her daughter, and that marijuana makes parts of her life bearable. The advice given in this article is dangerous and immature. It honestly sounds like the ideas 16 olds would come up with to justify being high with their kids. has lost my viewer ship and I hope they will make better decisions in the future when they chose which articles to post.

    • I totally respect that this may be a divisive post for some folks, but I’d urge readers to allow that not all moderate use of substances constitutes abuse.

      Ultimately, this post is what’s known in public health circles as harm reduction. Abstaining from smoking pot is an awesome choice — but this author is exploring ways to make a different choice, and do so responsibly.

      That said, as a publisher, I totally recognize that Offbeat Mama can’t be a perfect fit for every reader. I completely support y’all finding sites that feel like the right fit with your values.

      • Ariel, I get where you are coming from, but I kinda think that this should perhaps be on OBL? Instead of OBM? I get what saying this, implies towards my personal opinion on the subject matter; and you aren’t wrong. But will it seriously offend the people that this is “harm re-ducting” for? I think it would help placate the people that are…disturbed by this post. It would certainly make me feel less disturbed.

      • I feel like a diverse post like this needs viewpoints from different angles. Maybe someone else should write another post form a different perspectives? I am a bit sad Ariel that you suggest, just because some of your readers disagree with this article, we no longer are part of the offbeatmama-team! I mean… I am not even against smoking weed as a parent (I am a non smoker though), but just … setting rules seems like this is rather a serious habit, and therefore got out of control, no?

        • Yeah, just to reiterate this: I haven’t suggested anyone leave. Jake said we had “lost” his “viewer ship” and I simply responded the same way I respond to anyone across any on any of my websites who announces they’re no longer reading. (And I’ve dealt with literally hundreds of flounces like this. They don’t rile me up at all, because it’s just part of publishing websites dedicated to nontraditional stuff. Not everyone’s going to like it, and that’s totally fine.)

          I stand behind publishing this post, and I’m not interested in placating anyone. If this post makes a reader decide Offbeat Mama is no longer a good fit for them, then it’s certainly not my place to argue with them or convince them that they’re wrong. I respect people’s values, even when they’re not a fit with what we’re doing here on Offbeat Mama.

      • Ariel, I just wanted to pop in and say that I love how you bring articles on board without judgement. I think that’s the foundation of this site: all kinds of parents in a judgement-free zone. I love reading all the articles, including the ones by those whose views differ from my own.

  8. I’m disappointed that we really even went here. I understand the point that this is not about being an addict, but somehow being responsible and using drugs around your children (to play a game with them), seems at least to me, like completely skipping out on the reality of enjoying your kids.

    I have used in the past, and have spent a long road getting my life into focus… I also had horrible parents who chose their vices over me many, many times…

    Supporting an article that is pro- “how to hide your weed” is just plan disgusting to me. Also, for the fact that you can replace ‘pot’ with your drug of choice here.

    My opinion: In life we have a choice, and being a parent should be one that doesn’t include checking out of it with drugs.

    • I guess my issue is with this assumption: that we all CHOOSE to be a parent. I didn’t, I was young, ON birth control and didnt have the family support for adoption or abortion. That being said I did not drink until I was 20(my son was 2) and I didnt try pot to a few months after that. Since then i have learned I HATE drinking, and that I love to play with my son if I’ve had a little smoke. I know it sounds like I can’t deal with reality, but real, I’m facing depression, an increasingly hard internship, and a challenging 3 year old. I strive to make sure my smoking is never when he is around, but if it does overlap with when he is home my fiance is there, sober!

  9. Thank you for this post! It is totally possible to smoke pot and be a responsible parent. I follow all the above rules except I always wait until the kids are asleep to smoke. I take a few hits and watch episodes of The Office or The Walking Dead. I compare it to some mothers who have a few glasses of wine in the evening, except I’m not hungover in the morning.

  10. I love this post. As a child of two pot smokers, both with great jobs, (my mother designs highways for the Ontario gov’t and my father is a highly paid electrician) if you have a set of rules, and it works for you then have at it. I currently don’t have any kids, but when my husband and I do get our chance, it will be something we talk about. He prefers beer over pot, and I vice-versa. My parents still smoke on a regular basis, and they did hide it from us for a while (given I do live in Canada), but she explained to me that if I ever wanted to try it, to do it first at home. My husband and I already know how we’re going to introduce these things into our kids lives when they get to the age, where most kids are trying new things, much my my parents did.

  11. I’m totally amazed by the response to this post. Surely, in an era where 42% of Americans have admitted to smoking pot and where there are 18 states with pending marijuana legalization discussions are happening, we can talk about RESPONSIBLE pot smoking.

    It’s also not like this is some sort of new issue — many of us having kids now were raised by parents who smoked pot, and sure! I get that some people had shitty experiences (substance abuse happens, and it sucks balls) but there are also millions of us who didn’t. My parents smoked pot every once and a while — as a result, I refused to even TRY smoking pot until college. It was something stupid for old hippies!!

    I don’t smoke pot, but plenty of my parenting friends do — parents who also have fulltime jobs, go to grad school, and are otherwise functional, awesome members of society.

    I just can’t believe that we’re still in a place where marijuana use is so controversial!!! Especially on a site about non-traditional parenting. WTF?!

    • I think the issue that most commenters have raised (and my problem too) is the difference between being a parent and occasionally smoking pot and being high while you’re with your children. Kids aren’t stupid, and impaired adults (on any substance) are NOT fun. If you want to get stoned or drunk as a parent, then guidelines are great, but I think that rule #1 should be not in front of the kiddos.

      • Like Becca, I’m surprised, but unlike her I am a parent, and I occasionally smoke pot, and sometimes around my kids. I choose not to smoke in front of them, but I have been known to have a tiny puff while hanging out with my children.

        I’m also an ivy league graduate who works a demanding full time job. I grew up with parents who smoked a little bit too. I knew they were stoned every now and then, and it just wasn’t a big deal. In other words, my experience has been different from some other commenters here who have dealt with addicted parents and parent friends who abuse substances. Newflash: people on the internet have different experiences! Not big deal.

        What IS a big deal is commenters saying that because they had a different experience with a stoner parent, that the author of this piece wrong. People: YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY. This is a pretty common theme on this website: what works for this parent may not work for you. It’s not a big deal.

        I’m all for people drawing their parenting boundaries differently, but I’ve always admired the members of Offbeat Mama’s community for their remarkable ability to tolerate viewpoints that differ from our own. Like Becca, I think I’m just surprised because I’m just not seeing that tolerance in these comments.

        • I think that this piece wouldn’t be nearly as controversial (or not even controversial at all) had it been a personal essay about how one parent chooses to smoke pot and the rules she sets for HERSELF. As a non-smoker myself, I’d actually be really curious about what that lifestyle is like. What bothers me about this piece (not hugely, but some) is that it sets “rules” without giving context. It’s hard for me to express why that’s so different, but it is.

          The headline also seems like a trigger. Maybe I don’t understand how “stoner” is used, but to me “stoner” implies someone with a serious habit, not a recreational user… I’d be equally bothered by seven rules for “alcoholic” parents.

      • I am not a pot smoker, but I know I can have a beer, or even two or three and not be “drunk.” I can achieve a slight buzz which will make otherwise monotonous or puerile activities more entertaining (like simple board games). Can you not achieve a similar buzz with marijuana? Are your only options sober and stoned with no variation in between?

        • You can definitely be just a little stoned. Having just a puff is similar to having a glass of wine. It’s a much more pleasurable and functional state than being really stoned is, IMHO.

          • Tolerance makes a HUGE difference in this case. After smoking daily for months most people build up to a level where they are just buzzed rather than ever really rolling on the floor laughing, etc. Many people seem to have only smoked a few times in their lives and found themselves incapacitated – that’s really no comparison. That’s like looking at how you drove the first time you ever got behind the wheel and extrapolating it to all drivers everywhere, no matter their experience.

  12. Thanks for this post – as someone who rarely drinks, but is a daily smoker, I do enjoy reading positive articles about responsible use.
    It seems like many people are still hung up on the “hippy-trippy lazy stoner with the munchies” image, while there is a far wider group of people who do partake. In my country, a whopping 33.5% of people have toked, and we’re still waiting to see medical cannabis made available. It would be madness to assume that all of these people do not use responsibly. I know from experience with my friends that it is possible to have a toke or two and still be able to be ‘on call’ for the kids – and I know that none of them will ever use in front of their children.

    Glad to see OBM continuing to tackle controversial issues, this is just another reason why you have my continued readership.

  13. I don’t smoke pot at all because it just makes me sleepy. But if pot had the effect on me that it does on most people (like… my husband), I can totally see how this could not only make my anxiety around children lessen, but how it would actually keep me interested in the boring things that kids do/say/want to play with over and over again, etc.

    I also want to thank you guys for running articles like this. The diversity and openness to many schools of parenting is what makes Offbeat Mama the best.

  14. I grew up with an alcoholic mother, and that sucked too, but far be it from me to suggest that all parents should therefore be teetotallers. I think the same rules apply with pot for sure. If you use it responsibly, then (besides the legal factors)I don’t honestly see how it is any different to a glass of wine in the evenings, or even the occasional wild night while the kids are elsewhere.

  15. As someone who doesn’t and has never used marijuana, I thought this was a respectful article about one person’s experience using a controversial substance in their home in a responsible way.

    There are plenty of legal drugs out there– cigarettes, alcohol, and prescription meds– that are used in moderation or abused by people who are parents. Marijuana isn’t much different.

    I have a feeling that the author used the opening with a sense of humor, a bit of tongue-in-cheek to get readers’ attention. I think most people would laugh if someone made an offhand joke about needing a drink to get through Candyland. It’s a pretty dull game.

    If you actually read the article, you’d see that she doesn’t really recommend getting high while the kids are around.

    Thanks to the editorial staff for always encouraging discussion.

    • I completely agree with Nelle. I personally don’t like marijuana, but I truly don’t believe smoking a little marijuana is any different than having a glass of wine with dinner (which a large percentage of parents probably do).

      It seems that some readers are offended/have been affected by addiction and this hits a nerve with them or they’re misintupretting the article or they find an issue with marijuana being illegal. The author clearly states that you need to know how laws are in your state. Some states are much more casual about it.

      I appreciate this article like I appreciate the rest of Off Beat Mama: it makes you think and takes some people out of their comfort zone. As a reader, you always make your own choices on what you decide to do. This is just a glimpse into what some people are doing.

  16. I’m totally not a pot smoker (I’ve tried a couple times and HATED it), but I get where this post is coming from and am a little surprised by all the “disappointed” and “sad” responses. I don’t support getting stoned in front of your children, or being so baked that you can’t function as a parent, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking a hit now and then after the kids are asleep or at school. To me, at least, it’s no different than a parent who chooses to drink a beer or a glass of wine after the toddler is in bed. Or the parent who chooses to duck outside and have a quick cigarette. There’s a HUGE difference between indulging a little bit and going crazy.

    That said, I do live in California, where the stuff is effectively legal (medical marijuana is legal, and it’s stupidly easy to get a medical card for it)… so I might have a different perspective than those living in an area where it’s more likely there will be a scary legal consequence.

    I wouldn’t do it, personally, but as long as it isn’t negatively affecting your kids’ lives, then I don’t see any harm in it. If it DOES start to have negative effects on you or your child’s life, then clearly it’s time to reevaluate.

    • I see the only “bad” things being the potential legal issues, and that’s how this is different from alcohol or cigarettes. Parents who smoke pot should make double sure that they aren’t running the risk of going to jail, or having to pay fines they can’t afford, or whatever.

    • My “sad” response was based solely on the author referring to getting high while being actively with her children. I have absolutely no problem with parents doing whatever they want on their own time – I know that once I pop out this kid, I will absolutely be returning to my first love: craft beer.

      I responded because the author talked about smoking pot *while playing with her kids*. As a kid who was around parents that were high, I thought my perspective might bear some weight here. There was no abuse, no addicts, nothing like that. But my friend’s parents were high around us nonetheless, and as a kid it made me profoundly uncomfortable. That’s it. No judgment towards anyone who likes smoking pot – I just think it’s worth hearing about the perspective from the kids. My perspective: it really sucked.

      • Perhaps you were in a very different situation than I, but I felt very much the same around any adults that were drinking, but took a different lesson from it. These weren’t bad situations – there were sober adults, the drinkers were not alcoholics, and they didn’t drink enough to be wacky drunk, but maybe enough to get just a bit louder and sillier. I felt really weird and didn’t know what to do around them, and even though they were happy to talk to me and play with me, I just didn’t want to deal with it. A few times, I walked home from my friends’ houses if their parents were drinking.

        My awkwardness and discomfort and confusion, though, were almost entirely the product of my upbringing. I had parents who NEVER drank in front of me, didn’t keep alcohol in the house, and made it clear that even though OTHER (not as good) people might do those things, WE (morally good) people don’t do them. They also didn’t really make subtle distinctions – sure, drinking and smoking cigarettes were legal and drugs weren’t, but it was all in the same category of “stuff good people don’t do.”

        So for me, sure it sucked at the time. But for me, it leads to a desire to be more transparent with my own kids (when I have them). I think that it would have been fine if I wouldn’t have been so confused by those grown ups, who by all accounts were fine, decent people, but who also did this thing that I was trained to believe was really wrong. If I would have understood more about what alcohol did, why people might drink it, why they behaved a little differently afterwards, and what “moderation” meant, I think the discomfort would’ve been gone.

        • I think this thread brings up another question that should be right up there with “How will you talk to your kids about it?” Specifically, “How will you deal with your children’s friends in regards to it?” Will you be (even a little high) around them? Will you discuss the drug with them? Will you admit you smoke? Etc, etc.

      • I must admit that while I am very “to each their own” about this, I was super uncomfortable around adults who were drinking or high. My parents are really square so I’d never seen it until getting a ride home with the DD after babysitting, when the parents in the van were falling over drunk.

        I agree that it might be good for kids to be exposed to adults who are partaking responsibly, but I probably won’t be comfortable smoking pot around my kids, and I’m slowly giving up alcohol anyways because it’s bad for my anxiety (though I will still have one drink on occasion). They’ll be exposed to it through my brother and his fiancee and I’m ok with that.

  17. My Dad smokes pot every day, which is something that I didn’t really figure out until I was in college. I remember telling my brother, and he was like, “Yeah. I know. And?” My Dad and I have never talked about his marijuana use, but I do suspect that he has the same issues with anxiety and depression that I do, and I can’t blame him for self medicating throughout my childhood. I remember him being totally chill and relaxed when I was a kid, so I guess his pot smoking probably left me with better memories than the alternative!

  18. I was a late-blooming stoner — I didn’t start until my late 20s. Before that, I’d been so brainwashed by the propaganda of the war on drugs that I believed smoking pot made you an uncontrollable maniac. In reality, it makes me and my friends REALLY ENJOY sitting on the couch watching TV.

    I love this post. The evil face of marijuana has been manufactured by propagandists, and just isn’t truthful. While it can be abused, most people can be responsible with it, and this post is a good guide to being a responsible user.

  19. Well, this is one of those subjects I’m on the fence about, and I can see both sides.

    First, I agree with some other readers who had issues with the author smoking in order to play Candyland. I think you can use responsibly, but to smoke before playing with your kid? I don’t think that’s ok. You get so little time with your children, why waste any of it baked and trying to figure out if King Candy and Queen Ice Cream are separated or just “taking a break”? That is 100% not ok, and violates what I think should be Rule 8: “Don’t do it in front of your kids”.

    But on the flip side, I appreciate that she urges parents to listen carefully when others say, “you have a problem”. That’s pretty important, if so many people notice you’re out of it, you should probably rethink what you’re doing in your downtime.

    Basically, I don’t think it’s cool to be stoned around your kids, even if they don’t notice. Personally, I’m not a fan of doing anything illegal around your kids either: if someone finds out, you could lose your kids. That’s something no one’s really talked about, and I think it needs to be seriously considered before you decide to be a stoner parent. Little kids, as someone else said, will spout off what they see to other people, it’s just what they do, but that could spell disaster if you’re doing illegal things that they happen to see, even if you take every precaution. Overall, I think any parent partaking needs to weigh the risks between what they’re doing and the possible consequences it could have on their family.

    • I understand and totally get adults participating in adult behavior. But I agree that doing something illegal around your kids, regardless of how I feel about the legality of that substance, is a really difficult thing for me because of this issue of losing your children over it. It’s just not worth it to me. Kids DO talk (I always joke that they tell on you, because wow, do they). And even if they didn’t, the chance of losing them is just too big.

      I’m also very uncomfortable with the concept of drinking, smoking weed, or other downer type of drugs while kids are sleeping. My kids’ dad (my ex) is simply a heavy sleeper and a cop (so no drugs involved here), but when he wouldn’t wake up one time his six year old called 911 and they busted in his door.

      It puts you in a bad position to possibly miss an emergency or not be able to handle it correctly…or just to be an extra heavy sleeper that particular night with the authorities breaking in your house unexpectedly. I know everyone is different, but so is every trip and many of us can’t predict things like that. For me personally, that would be enough not to do it so my kids aren’t in danger. Or so I don’t get a surprise visit from the cops over just being extra sleepy and scaring the kids to call for help.

  20. Wow! This was quite the post today. I have really enjoyed reading all the replies as well.

    Personally, I think that smoking and being with your kids is unacceptable. Just as I would not drink around my kid, I would not smoke either.

    I think that the people who say when kid is asleep or kid is away, that is a WHOLE other animal but imagine getting stoked/drunk/whatever and playing a game with your kid and kid whacks his/her head on the table and needs stitches.

    You can not drive, do you really want to call the cops? This could lead to actual CPS cases (which I have seen even in our lovely state of California where weed is decriminalized in most areas).

    I think that smoking and then being with your kids falls under the irresponsible smoking category but again, that is just me.

    • This would be my concern too, Jessica. What if something happens and you need to drive your kid to the hospital, call the police, perform CPR, stop your child from choking, or deal with any number of random things that can happen to a child? Every parent knows how fast things can happen…how many accident stories start with “I had just turned away for a second…”? This is why I would never allow my daughter to be supervised by anyone under the influence of anything unless there was someone sober around. It’s just not worth the risk.

      • While I can’t speak from a parents perspective, I have successfully administered first aid/CPR and/or contacted emergency services while stoned, rolling and tripping. I have had far more trouble doing the same things while drunk – it’s unfair to tarnish all drug-users with the brush of irresponsibility.

        • I wasn’t tarnishing anyone, I was asking questions. My point was, if you are high while watching your kid and needed to call the police, would you do so? Even knowing that if they came and sensed you were high there would be a risk that you could lose them and/or be arrested? What would you do if you had to get in the car with your kid and drive somewhere? And even though you might have been able to administer CPR/first aid while high, do you really think everyone is capable of doing so? In my experience that’s hardly the case. All I’m saying is that shit happens and a perfectly normal situation can change in an instant, and being high may suddenly make the most responsible drug-using parent incapable of reacting the best way.

        • And I think that’s actually where many of the replies are coming from. If you are the person in charge of children, you shouldn’t drink or do drugs. (Obviously this is just my opinion, but I like to use the ‘babysitter test’ – would you trust a babysitter who was getting high/drunk while in charge of your child? Probably not. So why would you if you were the person in charge of your child?)

          I agree it gets somewhat confusing when it’s “just” a glass of wine and doesn’t actually make you drunk, so nothing is 100% fast and true.

        • If you’re saying that no parent should be drinking to the point of any intoxication while on sole duty of their children or anyone else’s children, I totally agree. Because that’s what I’m talking about…behavior while taking care of children.

    • The writer doesn’t say that she is the only adult in the house. For all we know this is an after-dinner game and her sober partner is sitting in the room setting up the board. Supported I think by the fact that she can get away from a small child long enough to go to the bathroom for a few minutes uninterrupted – how often does that happen without help?

    • All I could think of when reading this article was how using an illegal drug in the presence of/while caring for children can easily result in a report being made to Children’s Aid (or your local equivalent). In fact, if your kid indicates that this happens to their teachers, youth workers, etc. those professionals are often legally obligated to report you. It doesn’t matter how “responsible” you are with your consumption – if someone finds out (and kids often suspect or know more than parents think they do), you are opening your family up to the risk of a child welfare investigation. This is a big deal, and I was disappointed that it wasn’t addressed directly in the article.

    • People have already mentioned this, but I feel it need reiterating. Getting drunk/rip-roaring stoned is TOTALLY different than having -a- drink or -a- puff. It does not impair your ability to assess a situation. It just relaxes you a little. Pretty much ALL of my friends have a drink or two right in front of their kids. The kids know that what they are drinking is “just for adults” and the parents are just as capable on parenting as they would be otherwise. I know it’s hard for non-drinkers to understand this, but moderation is ENTIRELY possible. I see examples of it every weekend.

  21. Even if cannabis was abused by parents of young children I think it would be better for society than if those same parents were abusing alcohol. Cannabis is by far the least worrisome of all the drugs around that are abused.
    It’s not physically addictive, you can’t overdose on it. I have never known a single person under the influence of cannabis that could not perform any task (maybe slightly less well than sober but no worse than an over tired person).
    I recently went to a gig where the majority of the crowd were drunk. I would have much preferred if the majority of the crowd were stoned or sober.
    I don’t understand why cannabis gets such a bad rap when alcohol is so often ignored.

  22. Here is what I don’t like, and it may be off topic, but whatever. Why is it that we are encouraged to have a discussion, but then when we share negative experiences we are shouted down? I am sure it is possible for there to be parents who are responsible substance users. I have never personally witnessed this, either as a parent, child, or educator. And I want to echo what one commenter said: one persons perception of their actions while high may not really be what it’s like for the people around them and their children.

    I’m glad that, in the comments, the moderators have pointed out that this post is not advocating alcoholism or addiction, but it should be pointed out that an alcoholic or addict reading this post would take it as a license to keep on keeping on. I don’t have any problem with it being published, but I take issue with how those of us who don’t agree are being treated. /end rant

    • Hey Adrienne,

      This post is about moderate substance use — not about abusing it, which is why Ariel and I both pointed out that we’re NOT talking about addicts and/or alcoholics here.

      I don’t feel like we mistreated anyone, but if you’d like to discuss it further we’d be happy to do so! You can contact us here.

    • Having read all the comments as well, I would like to respectfully say that I don’t think anyone is being “shouted down.” If anything, I think it’s more of a desire to keep the negative comments from spiraling out of control. I have seen other posts on OBM that had to have the comments closed due to extreme negativity, which is a shame. This site strives to reach all audiences, as small as they may be. It is the hope that those minorities can find support.

  23. Just want to reinforce the “Thanks for posting and hosting” sentiment to the author and website. I love Offbeat Mama because it’s offbeat, and often goes against cultural expectations. So, thanks.

  24. I just feel sad that some parents need a “buffer” to make parenting enjoyable or tolerable. Kids can pick up on things so easily that I wonder how many would get the feeling that they were not enough or not good enough to just BE with you.

    I don’t know, maybe i’m just not offbeat enough to appreciate this.

    • Perhaps that is a little sad, but it’s also a fact of life. Not all Moms find parenting to meet their expectations, or were even enjoying a tolerable existance before they had children. Many women suffer from anxiety, depression, lack of confidence, boredom, etc and medicate in other ways as well. Some Moms have to take Zoloft to make parenting (and life) enjoyable and tolerable.

      I think it’s unfair to put down a parent who struggles with their role. You can’t be awesome at everything.

      • Yes! I think it’s so interesting that it’s supposedly “ok” to regulate our minds in certain ways but not others. It’s ok to stop eating dairy and sugar because it makes you feel sharper and more alert, but it’s not ok to find a doctor to prescribe you adderall to get the same effect. Unless you have ADHD. Then it’s ok. And it’s ok to go into a yogic breathing routine to calm yourself down when you get really frustrated with your kid, but it’s not ok to go in the other room and take a small toke from a pipe. It is ok, though, to take a xanax. But only if you have a medically diagnosed anxiety disorder.

        And of course, some people will view what’s “ok” through a different lens than this. It’s all so very, very subjective.

        • There is a big difference in taking a medication because you are chemically imbalanced and smoking an illegal drug every day, even while you need to be present for your kids. If you are smoking weed because of “Anxiety”, why aren’t you on prescribed medications to deal with it? Ones that don’t get you intoxicated? There is a big difference between getting frustrated and leaving the room for “yogic breathing” and smoking a pipe because you are frustrated.

          I am very liberal, I am also a drug and alcohol user and I am also a single parent, but as a parent you need to exercise impulse control. You need to not be under the influence while you are parenting. You don’t need to entirely stop doing drugs, but you need to make sure your child never sees you intoxicated because kids do NOT like seeing their parents intoxicated. And if your child finds out you are doing drugs there is something wrong there. You need to be more discreet than that, there is really no excuse for a child finding out you are engaging in something that is illegal other than your own carelessness. Children pick up on things that are not well hidden from them.

          I am all for being offbeat, but I am not for parenting while intoxicated. You can wait to toke after your kid is in bed for the night, that’s cool, but don’t be high in front of them.

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