Amendment 64 gave us the right to blaze up for pleasure in addition to medical reasons, in our homes. That includes *gasp* caregivers of children. Sometimes known as parents. Colorado parents rejoice, but only in a private non-showy way, because the legality of the stuff does NOT make you immune to reports to DHS (Denver Human Services). Before you protest, think about any child abuse case featuring alcohol abuse and then agree that having strict child protection measures in place is an asset to a community.
Just like your stupid guns in Walmart, your right to copious amounts of alcohol, your need to put your kids in beauty pageants; these are rights that I will never fight to take away from you. But one may only enjoy said rights within the confines of community safety. That means no matter how vigorously you want to exercise your right to smoke weed, you may not violate your child’s rights to safety and care.
If your neighbor hates you and your plastic toys all over the lawn, and then smells you smoking weed on your back porch, well, a visit from child protective services should not shock you.
DHS’s job is to treat reports as credible until investigated. They will want to look at your home and see your children. I imagine it would feel just about as shitty as things can feel. So, here are things to consider and carry out right away if not already.
Remember: you cannot abuse marijuana and expect the law or society to consider you a responsible parent.
Children come first
Are they unkept, hungry, noticeably neglected? Are they being left alone often while you get high? These are serious no-no’s, and demonstrate to CPS a lack of ability to care for your children. Parental responsibilities are 24/7. That means if kiddo develops a 104 fever in the night you better be DAMN sure that you can care for them. When you are a parent every stupid choice has far extended consequences. Never put getting high in front of any child’s needs.
Getting high to handle your kids? Seek help asap. Therapy, telling your spouse, leaving the kids with a caretaker so you can sleep, beginning a conversation with your doctor. Being a parent is not an illness that the state accepts for medicinal marijuana use, so don’t treat it as such. Asking for help, admitting the need, golly how much people would benefit by addressing the cause of the stress rather than using marijuana to mask the symptoms of the stress.
Keep your home clean
Squalor and weed stench do NOT make you look like a good parent, and guess what. It’s not good for your kids. Be responsible, keep your home at an acceptable level of cleanliness, and make this a standard across the board for all family members. Perfection is absolutely not what I am speaking of. A clean home means maintaining every family member’s personal hygiene, and maintaining the home in a way necessary for health and safety. Demonstrate tidiness and responsibility to you children by putting value and care into the state of your home.
I don’t know about you, but my home is my favorite place on earth. My sanctuary from everything, with only the people I love most in it. I demonstrate my love for this sanctuary by keeping its maintenance a high priority. Never perfect but always there.
Avoid using in front of kids
This is a somewhat touchy one, specifically among medical marijuana patients such as myself. It’s hard to advocate dishonesty, especially with the hypocrisy of the social normalcy surrounding alcohol use and alcohol advertising. I try to think of it as black and white as I can. Kids mimic. Kids become you. You become your parents. Such is life. The end. If you drink in front of your kids they will likely drink. If you smoke in front of your kids they will likely smoke. If you use marijuana around your kids they will likely use marijuana.
When they are the amazing, accomplished, wise and joyful adults that we know they will become, they will be free to make their own choices. As parents we take especial care of them NOW, when they are young and vulnerable to influence. As such I advocate limiting marijuana use around children to pretty much zero. As a medical user I have explained the basics once to my oldest child, a gifted and exceptional girl. Outside of that conversation and a single psychedelic piece of wall art, marijuana use and culture is thus far, kept from the kids.
For those using marijuana for extreme pain, or other severe medical conditions, well. I doubt I would care so much about using my medicine in front of my kids under those circumstances.
One parent at a time
Your children deserve a responsible caretaker at all times, so keep the hot weed sessions with your partner limited to date night. This makes it hotter anyway. DHS frowns heavily on both caretakers of minors being under influence of any intoxicant.
Don’t drive when high
For most parents, including the recreational weed smoker, this makes sense. For a daily medicinal user with tolerance like mine, this may make no sense (if I have a bunch of marijuana in my system, I still am likely not “high”). For someone with a chronic medical condition smoking high CBD strains everyday, it makes even less. All of that is fare for another post- forthcoming I promise because people really need information on marijuana tolerance.
However, because I am writing this piece from a parental advice standpoint, you must understand that there is zero tolerance legally for driving high. And driving while stoned with your kids? That will invite an absolute world of misfortune upon you. Never do it. If you do it, don’t tell me about it.
Keep your stash inaccessible to children
Lock it away, put it up high, whatever. You don’t want to be that parent.
Respect and keep good relations with your neighbors
We are so privileged as Coloradans to have this new and exciting freedom. Show your respect to voters on both sides and keep your marijuana use safe and discreet. Using marijuana in public is illegal, and annoying your neighbors with your smoke on their private property is disrespectful. I’m a big fan of not rocking the boat. No child needs to bear witness to community drama because of your pot use. Really. I absolutely cannot stand obnoxious drunks. Other people feel the same way about stoners. Be respectful.
Keep your standards high
We all know how easy it is to slip into slovenly behavior, how quickly taking shortcuts can become routine. Being stoned has a way of relaxing you to the point of not caring. Always revisit your personal standards. Share them with your spouse or co-parent to keep yourself accountable. Remember that the focus is not to infringe on your rights, but the health of the environment that children live in. As a stoner parent you have far more to lose by loosening personal expectations. I have found that the limiting accessibility to your supplies and adhering to personal guidelines for when it is and isn’t okay to use, only increases the effectiveness of your weed medicinally and recreationally. Keep yourself at a healthy tolerance and nurture respect for your medicine/recreation by eschewing stereotypical stoner behavior.
In this crazy fabulous place we have been given a unique freedom, and thus a role on the world’s stage. Keep Colorado a shining example by practicing SAFE marijuana use. You won’t find sensationalized articles about parents who smoke pot and manage to NOT completely fuck up their kids, so help the cause of the frowned upon stoner by exceeding expectations. Your kids will thank you for it, and so will your fellow responsible stoner parent.