Puff Piece on Moms and Marijuana Sparks Important Conversation About Racist Cannabis Policing
“The Today Show” attempted to shine light on stoner moms, but by ignoring the racial implications of their coverage, they instead prompted a much deeper discussion about cannabis and race.
Published on August 3, 2017

Earlier this week, Maria Shriver hosted a segment on NBC’s The Today Show about a group of California-based mothers who use cannabis openly and claim that the legal weed helps to make them better parents. The video showed footage of the moms lighting up while their kids played in the background, and detailed the relaxation benefits and safety precautions of their chosen lifestyle. What they didn’t find, though, were any black parents to go on camera and make the same claims, a glaring omission that the Internet was more than happy to explain.



Shortly after the piece aired, a host of Twitter users jumped on the white-washed segment, using the lighthearted puff piece to call out the continued racism in the country’s changing discourse around cannabis use. While pop culture and the media have largely sanitized marijuana use by the white middle and upper class, the same cannot be said for America’s black and brown communities.



While cannabis use by Caucasian parents is seen as a replacement for a happy hour cocktail, police have arrested, removed children and murdered black and brown Americans for the exact same thing.

For obvious reasons, the lack of awareness reminded people of the recent acquittal of Minnesota police office Jeronimo Yanez, who told investigators that the pairing of the smell of marijuana and a child in the car influenced his decision to shoot and kill Philando Castile, an innocent black man driving with his family. Yanez claimed the odor of cannabis made him “fear for his own life.”

"And I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five year old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me,” Yanez told investigators. “And, I let off the rounds and then after the rounds were off, the little girl was screaming."



Major news networks have always been happy to show one side of the cannabis debate without the other, be it positive or negative, but as times change and the collective voice of righteousness gets a little louder, it’s increasingly important to call them on their selective editing and one-sided storytelling.


Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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