Parenting is not the same as it used to be – especially in terms of marijuana. Regardless of where you stand on the pot debate, it is becoming legalized in more states all the time. So when it comes to parents and pot use, what do you need to know?
There are currently varying laws in every state regarding the use of cannabis. For example, Louisiana law allows adults to use cannabis-infused products while smoking marijuana is still illegal. Wyoming has no broad laws that legalize marijuana at all, and California allows it outright for recreational use. Utah and Arizona have broadly legalized medicinal use, and Mississippi allows it for only severe epileptic conditions.
With all these differences from state to state, it can be difficult to teach your children, but it can be done. Sasha Simon, Safety First Program Manager at The Drug Policy Alliance, tells Parentology it’s important parents know “what the law is, what their house rules are, and that they clearly communicate those to their child.”
Check out Parentology’s guide to marijuana for more information.
Using Pot with Kids in the House
What if you’re a parent who currently uses pot? Just like any other drug, medication, or alcoholic beverage, marijuana can be dangerous if used improperly. As parents, it’s your job to educate and guide your children.
“Parents might use it, but there are still different rules for the child,” Simon states. She also points out that in states where it’s legal, the conversation is a little easier because parents and children can discuss proper dosage and the reasons why Mommy or Daddy are allowed to use it when the children are not. Kids should understand that cannabis use in adolescence leads to an increased risk for a range of negative outcomes such as unemployment, dropping out of school, and reduced happiness.
Being open about your pot use with your children is something you should carefully consider. In one study, only 47% of parent pot users said they talk with their kids about using. In regard to psychological effects it could have on children to see their parents use pot, Simon states, “I have yet to see any evidence of negative effects to a child seeing that, but there is a different kind of conversation that opens up when a parent is using medicinally versus recreationally.”
Establishing House Rules
No matter what the law says in your state, you lay down the law in your own home. It’s important you set clear, healthy house rules.
- Understand the Law – You and your children should clearly understand your state laws. Research it together so you know exactly what the law expects.
- Promote Good Health – There are reasons pot use is illegal for individuals under 21. Help your children understand the dangers of using it on a young, still developing brain.
- Set Clear Consequences – Ensure your children understand the consequences of underage pot use. This includes the natural consequences of endangering their health and the consequences you impose, such as taking away a privilege.
There’s no avoiding marijuana in today’s world. By having open conversations about pot and its uses, current laws, and what is and isn’t allowed at home, kids will know where they stand. As Cari McCarty, a Research Professor at Seattle Children’s Center for Child Health, Behavior, and Development told Parentology, parents should, “have the conversation with them so that they can process and understand our values regarding marijuana use.”
Parents and Pot — Sources
Sasha Simon, Safety First Program Manager at The Drug Policy Alliance
Elemental: Parenting on Pot
Very Well Family: Establishing House Rules for Teenagers
Governing: State Marijuana Laws in 2019 Map
American Psychological Association