Pot-Smoking Moms Unapologetic About Getting High video & story

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Jane West is a 38-year-old mum of two sons, aged four and six, who regularly unwinds with her friends and a joint. The drug has been legal in her home state of Colorado for nine months. She’s told ABC news that if mothers were just more open about their recreational drug use then the stigma would disappear, leaving women like her and her friend Britney, who has a two-year-old son, to get happily high in peace. “If other people are willing to talk about … be comfortable saying ‘Oh, my god I was so stoned last night,’ then more people would be talking about it openly,” says Jane.

Jane insists she never smokes weed, or any other combustible substance, in front of her children but she doesn’t guarantee that her kids have never seen her high. “I am hoping that people don’t have to answer this question anymore,” she told ABC news when pressed. “Because no one gets asked this question about alcohol.”

There are worse things you can do in front of kids

To be fair, I don’t have an enormous problem with anyone – mums or otherwise – doing a little bit of extra-curricular relaxation, especially not if it’s via a substance legal in their area. My son has seen me drink and will do so again. And growing up in Australia the 1980s, I was a child of the “we’ll just carry on doing whatever we did before we had kids and they’ll cope” generation, which meant lots of boozy dinner parties and yes, even the odd joint in front of us kids. We still made it to adulthood without too many noticeable scars.

My views on these things may not be entirely orthodox – or in line with a lot of community service announcements about how parents’ drinking may affect their child’s attitude to alcohol later. I get that. But I also think there are far worse things you can do in front of children.

But regular use is genuinely dangerous

But – and this is a big but – occasional recreational cannabis use is one thing, and may not have any

significant long-term consequences. Regular use on the other hand – daily or even every few days – is a surefire, one-way ticket to brain soup. Just this month the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) published its most damning study to date into the links between marijuana use and mental illness. The study showed that adolescents who use marijuana frequently are seven times more likely to commit suicide, as well as struggle to complete their education. This study adds to the existing evidence of links between regular marijuana use and mental illness for all age groups; including increased rates of depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or anxiety. If you have a genetic disposition towards one of these conditions, the magic plant may be the spark that sets them off where they would have otherwise lain dormant. Why would you want your children to have to live with their mother’s preventable mental illness?

And yes, it is addictive, despite what we all confidently reassured each other as teenagers sneaking bongs in our bedrooms in high school. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says between 25-50 percent of daily marijuana smokers become addicted. Addictions and kids are a pretty icky mix. Suddenly smoking weed isn’t looking quite as benign as a glass of wine and an oversized bowl of Chunky Monkey.

Anecdotally, I have known many, many people who have smoked marijuana regularly, and I’m yet to find one whose brain has escaped entirely unscathed. Friends have reported constant dissociative hallucinations – aural and visual. Another suffered from severe post-natal depression after years of smoking weed. Saddest of all are the ones where everything’s just gone a bit off-with-the-fairies. One acquaintance, previously brilliant, must now live at home with his parents forever, as he’s lots the ability to function as an adult on his own. “I would never have touched weed if I’d known what it was going to do to my brain long-term,” one friend, who smoked regularly for 10 years, told me. For others it simply drains them of motivation and happiness.

The Colorado mums disagree that there’s any issue with their habit, and it’s easy to see why when the drug is legal in their state. Jane West is so committed to the cannabis cause that she has even started a women’s networking group dedicated to helping local women grow and sell their own legal marijuana. Her aim, she says, is to normalise weed. With luck her brain stays normal, too.

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Every one of us mothers has a vice, that little special something that gets us through the day, and lowers our overworked, overtired minds just one rung as the sun goes down. For some, it’s a big glass of white wine. Others worship at the altar of Ben & Jerry’s. I do both. Not at the same time though because chardonnay makes choc-chip cookie dough taste weird.

But there’s a growing group of mums in the US and elsewhere who prefer a less socially-sanctioned mummy’s little helper: marijuana. In some states of the US where marijuana is now legal, groups of mums are trying to make a sneaky joint – or joints – after a long day finger-painting as normal as having a glass of wine.

 

Henry Sapiecha

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