Fighting the stigma of being a pot smoking mom

May 10 2018, 12:48 am

In honour of Mother’s Day, Grow is talking to moms all week about cannabis use, how it’s helped them, and what can be done to fight the stigma.

“It’s not something that I glorified at all or was like ‘hey this is really cool,'” says Jennifer Elliott about smoking weed with her daughter Maya.

Daily Hive spoke with Elliott on the phone about her cannabis use and the importance of pragmatic drug education for children.

Elliott grew up in raves, clubs, and the hip-hop scene, and was immersed in drug culture. “I was a habitual cannabis smoker,” says Elliott, “and then I become a mom.”

After learning of her pregnancy, Elliott eliminated cannabis from her life and did not use it for at least 15 years. During her divorce, she returned to pot for therapeutic reasons, mostly to help deal with “life’s ups and downs.”

Cannabis was a familiar remedy and it was an easy transition to bring it back into her wellness and recreational routine.

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Elliott and her daughter didn’t light up together until Maya was 19 and out of the house, but drug education was introduced early on.

“As a parent, the best approach when it comes to children is to educate them about drug use, whether it’s cannabis-based or otherwise and to have those conversations. It’s unavoidable, kids are going to venture into those avenues and it’s up to us to guide them.”

A healthy parent-child relationship includes an open dialogue. Having real conversations with your kids can lead to “less abusive behaviour and more awareness.”

A post shared by Jenn Elliott (@jenn0) on

Creating a safe environment for kids to talk about drugs can also help prevent worst-case scenarios. Kids might not turn to adults out of fear of being reprimanded but they often aren’t equipped to deal with potentially life-threatening incidents.

“I was never judgmental if there was a situation. I was always telling [my daughter] and her friends that I hoped I would be the first one they call and I would be angry if they didn’t call anybody because I wouldn’t want them to handle the situation by themselves.”

Elliott also points out that although drug education was an important part of her child’s upbringing, “I was not trying to be that cool mom at 15 or 16 and invite her friends over to get high. I don’t consider myself my kid’s friend but at the same time I try to be as honest as possible with her without being judgemental.”

Elliott considers the high times with her daughter “a cathartic experience” and has even brought them closer together. It was something her daughter was already doing in her own social circle as an adult so it was fairly easy to start sharing the experience.

“Our alcohol and tobacco culture” sees sharing wine or a cigarette between parents and kids as socially acceptable, and Elliott sees sharing a joint with her daughter as an alternative to having a glass of wine.

“Parents should use their best judgement and think about age-appropriate behaviours.”

If your kid is old enough to have a drink with you, the same logic should apply to cannabis. Elliott has been fortunate to not deal with stigma or chastizing from friends and family but “if anyone questioned me about it, I would be adamant and not change a thing.”

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