I'm a dad and feel guilty about smoking pot since it's been drilled into my mind that I can't be both a father and a cannabis consumer. How can I make the two work together?
— Fearful Father
Dear Fearful Father,
Oh do I feel you on this question. There is certainly a longstanding stigma associated with parents who enjoy cannabis — regardless if it’s for medicinal or recreational benefits. In a world where the martini playdate is an actual thing, I feel like it's incredibly hypocritical that parents who smoke are judged heavily while those who toss back beer and wine are given a free pass. As we wait for society to catch up with the times, let's talk about ways to be a responsible parent and pot smoker.
My number one suggestion would be to not be secretive or hide things to the degree that it turns your cannabis enjoyment into something to be ashamed of. Sometimes, as parents, we can easily help perpetuate the stigma surrounding cannabis use. Now, I'm not advocating that you roll one up and spark it in front of your kid at the park, but at the same time, treat it like you would alcohol: It's OK and normal to talk about cannabis — what it is, why people use it, the fact that it's for adults, etc…
Suggestion number two? Make sure your stash is super safe! Depending on the age of your kid(s), curious toddlers — or teenagers! — might stumble across your herb and that could cause all sorts of undesirable situations. So, lock it up! A traditional lock box is great for small stashes, get a gym lock for a larger cabinet, or if you’re a tech lover, consider a device like a Cannador, which not only keeps your marijuana in the perfect conditions, but will let you know if anyone is tampering with it and trying to get in when they shouldn't!
My third suggestion would be to do an audit of your cannabis use and honestly reflect on how it impacts your role as a parent. Now, you might find out that it's all gravy — your toking doesn't prevent you from being an attentive and engaged father. Perhaps you might find that a little puff goes a long way and you're better able to be creative and silly and get down on all fours to play that game of monsters with your little one. If that's the case, awesome!
However, if your pot use makes you too sleepy to safely tend to your kid's needs, or too zoned out to read them a book, then you may want to reevaluate. Does smoking come before your parenting responsibilities? Can you handle parenting sober? Obviously, answers will differ if you're someone using cannabis recreationally or medicinally, but it can't hurt to check in to see how your use impacts your parenting.
Overall, it's completely possible to be a responsible, caring, awesome dad while also being a fan of the ganja. You just need to find a way to allow it to be in your life without allowing you to lose focus on what's most important. Good luck and an early Happy Father's Day!!