I thoroughly enjoyed Kristi Westby’s recent blog on HuffPost, “Confessions of a Pothead Mom,” because it was brave and honest—two qualities I wholly admire in a gal. She also makes really some great points—mainly that with the legalization of marijuana in Colorado (where she lives), perhaps it’s time to start putting pot smoking in the same social category as a couple glasses of wine after a long day. And I have to agree with Westby there. The idea that marijuana is still kind of viewed as gateway drug for truant teenagers and wine is still kind of viewed as a sophisticated adult beverage barely associated with abuse is ripe for discussion.
Quit Judging Moms
Having now lived vicariously through several partier-turned-parent friends, I’m quite familiar with the mommy squad—the group of women who may otherwise not have mixed but have banned together by way of play dates, school pickups and birthday parties and then formed an adult clique to be reckoned with. While individually I imagine that most of these mommies are probably lovely and loyal friends, get them together and it’s somehow a virtual frau festival of gossip, judgment and more gossip. Throw some afternoon spritzers into the mix and I truly feel for the mommies who are on the other side of their vicious playpen. So while I am not a mother myself, I sympathize with Westby’s frustration over feeling like she has to hide her vice while members of the mommy squad openly make naptime happy hour plans.
But when it comes to responsible parenting, is there a difference between wine and weed?
Parents Should Just Know Their Limits
My inclination is to say there is not, although it’s hard to take a firm stance when I know firsthand that alcohol and marijuana affect different people differently. I, for example, could never have ripped a couple of bong hits and still been available for my kids (if I had them). My body does not process THC in a reasonable way; I get super stoned and paranoid and non-functioning when high on pot. But I think I probably could have swung the whole bedtime-story-with-a-buzz-on-thing—that is, if I could have maintained just a buzz. Which I could not.
This brings up the argument that could potentially be made by both sides: buzz control. Drinkers could argue that they have more control over themselves than weed smokers because, theoretically, getting drunk is a process. Pot peeps might argue that they are more stable because when you are stoned, you are stoned and there isn’t much variation to it if you’re a regular user. But on the other side of both arguments are the issues of self-control, good judgment and addiction. And since the question of what crosses the line into unacceptable behavior is subjective and personal, it seems hard to definitively say if two glasses of wine and two pulls from a joint are created equal.
If you happen to be someone who thinks that pothead parents are unsavory, allow me to introduce you to another parental subculture that may change your mind. A recent Gawker post reports on a movement, quite literally, of parents from places where medicinal pot has yet to be legalized to states where it is so that they have the option to treat their children’s ailments (like epilepsy) with weed. These are people who are eager to find an alternative to the medications prescribed to their sick kids that they claim “do not assuage their [child’s] symptoms.” A particular strain of high cannabidiol/low THC pot, called Charlotte’s Web, is thought to have medicinal properties—especially when it comes to epileptic children.
Ultimately, while the legalization of marijuana doesn’t have much bearing on my feelings about cocktails vs. cannabis, I think the playing field when it comes to having an open dialogue about the social stigma of parental pot smoking and medicinal marijuana use has been leveled in places where pot is legal now. It all really comes down to personal choice and being honest with yourself about what you can handle and still remain a responsible parent. Of course, self-honesty isn’t an area where active addicts excel.