I smoke weed. I’m still a responsible parent.

I don’t want to shock you, but more than half of the 55 percent of American adults who use some form of cannabis are parents. Of that half, 16 million have children under the age of 18. Let me repeat that: Many cannabis users are parents. With. Young. Children. Many pot-smoking parents, even if they live in a state where weed is legal, feel the need to remain anonymous, so you may not know about the legions of them because stigma still abounds.

I hereby exit the weed closet and admit that I am a parent who occasionally enjoys cannabis. But before you call social services, please hear me out.

We all know that alcohol is a part of parent culture. Hell, it’s a part of the culture. Sunday barbecues go with beer. Mom’s night out is at a local wine bar. Weddings, birthdays, baseball games — you name it, Americans like to drink. And most people would agree that it’s OK for a parent to have a glass of wine, or even two, while parenting. Obviously, not while driving one’s kids to art class. Obviously, not with breakfast. Obviously, not to any kind of excess, since that’s unhealthy for everyone, and potentially dangerous. But in moderation, it’s okay.

I think the same is true for cannabis. Adults can consume it responsibly and still be good parents. They can hold down jobs, pay bills, feed and house their families, and provide emotional support. They can teach their kids the social, self-care, and intellectual skills life requires and they — we — shouldn’t be stigmatized.

Let’s take a step back and talk a bit about how and when cannabis became illegal in the U.S. During colonial times, farmers were encouraged — and at one point in Virginia, required — to grow hemp (a low-THC cannabis plant) for its many industrial uses. Cotton gradually replaced hemp as a fiber used for rope and clothing, but people found many medicinal uses for hemp extract and it enjoyed a period of prominence as an ingredient in the pharmacopeia of the times between 1850 and 1937.

Mexican immigrants brought the practice of smoking marijuana (as well as the slang term itself) recreationally in the early 20th century, and it caught on with some subcultures, including Jazz musicians, and — later — Beatniks. In 1930, it was possible to legally buy cannabis intended for smoking, and so-called “tea pads” proliferated in New York City, among other places. But as economic and racial tensions between white Americans and Mexican immigrants grew (piled on to the long-standing institutional racism against black Americans), from the 1910s through the Great Depression, a deliberate demonization of the plant got underway.

Henry Anslinger, appointed as the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930, is credited with this statement: “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white …read more

Source:: The Week – Lifestyle


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