Having a baby causes many changes in any new family’s life. When it comes to pot use, though, there are many questions and issues that parents must consider. This ranges from direct health effects to societal stigma and potential legal ramifications. Now, the big question is, can new parents use marijuana safely? If so, how? And what are at stake?
Further, given the incoming federal administration, with a potential Attorney General on the federal level who may well earn himself the nickname “Anslinger Sessions” before the first Trump term is over, it is more important than ever to be prepared for the worst.
Federal policy on marijuana use is frequently used to formulate state and more local responses. Now is not the time to be careless about this kind of thing – no matter where you live.
Even if there are no proven direct effects to the unborn child, it is still not advised that pregnant women smoke or otherwise ingest or be exposed to marijuana. This includes second-hand smoke. Marijuana metabolites have huge impacts on developing brains (and this lasts through the teenaged years). For this reason, the other parent, if they continue to use marijuana during pregnancy (for whatever reason) must ensure that they do so in a way that does not expose the baby in any way.
Further, parents who use marijuana during the time children live at home, should do so in a way that kids are not casually exposed to the same. If used medically, try to find ways to completely shield your use in terms of impact from your growing children.
Legal and Societal Impact
The other huge issue for parents is the legality of marijuana itself – even for ostensibly medical use. There are still too many “test cases” where parents – even if using the drug for medical purposes, have had children taken away from them because of marijuana use. While the worst cases so far have been in states where marijuana is not legal for any purposes, it is still an ongoing threat just about everywhere. This includes situations where children have told school teachers or other personnel about parental pot use.
For this reason, until children are at least late-stage teenagers, it is best to be very careful about how you introduce the fact that you use marijuana.
If you are using the drug under a doctor’s care, this is absolutely a topic you need to raise with them as well. Prepare yourself, just in case, for this kind of reaction or response from your children’s school – even if you live in a state where medical use is legal.
The other time this becomes an issue is when your children start inviting their friends over to the house. Even if you are positive that your children will never discuss this at school, they might tell their friends (children are children). And those friends may also tell their parents.
Marijuana use is still stigmatized enough that you do not want to take this kind of risk.
Neighbourhood Watch & Police
There are also many instances where parents have been turned in by intruding neighbors – in particular in neighborhoods with strong neighborhood watch programs. Having a house invaded by the local police over a suspicion of possession (for whatever reason), is one step away, sadly, from having your children removed by social services personnel who tend to act first and perhaps ask questions later.
If you are growing marijuana at home with children in the house, this becomes even more of an imperative. In fact, for this very reason, it is probably a good idea to skip the idea of home grow when you have children at all – including of course the possibility of what happens if you are raided (even for illegitimate reasons).
If you hold a job, you must also be prepared for the financial and emotional impact on your family of losing a job over marijuana use. Because even medical use is not federally protected and legalizing states have all adopted this stance, you must prepare yourself in advance, for this kind of very possible outcome, as well as the impact on your entire family.
For this reason, if using marijuana (and for any reason) it is a good idea for parents to discuss this between themselves from the beginning.
Discussing Marijuana With Your Kids
A discussion about drug use is inevitable in any house with children, particularly teenagers. It is also every parent’s prerogative on how and when to do this.
If you use marijuana, you will eventually have to broach this topic. Just be careful on how and when you do this. There are many resources available on the web.
One of the most effective ways to introduce marijuana use (particularly to teenagers) is to be honest, scientific, and non-emotional. They will probably know more than you think they do – no matter when this discussion happens.
Try to explain to them that using marijuana is a decision that they should make for themselves only when fully informed – and old enough to make it.
If your kids respect you as a parent, they will listen. Healthy families are the best prevention tool on the planet.