Parenting and Legalized Marijuana: A Glimpse into the Future

One year.

If/when marijuana becomes legalized, how will that affect parenting in our nation? Will America go to pot? Or are the overworked, stressed-out, anxiety-ridden parents better off filling the void with prescription anti-depressants?

I consider myself an evangelical Christian, a self-admitted health nut, and a law-abiding citizen. Here’s the twist: I am a proud cannabis activist. In other words, I openly support the full legalization of marijuana. Yet I’ve never in my life actually consumed the stuff.

If you’ve simply been reading the story headlines on MSN.com within the past couple of years, you may have noticed the growing number of articles talking about the further legalization of marijuana; especially as more and more states having been approving its use for medical reasons- like for cancer sufferers, for example.

The issue of legitimate marijuana use is a slippery slope, thanks to the fact that the plant happens to have plenty of undeniable medical purposes.

Having grown in up the Eighties during the prime time of “Just Say No” and the D.A.R.E. program, I believed that marijuana was a dangerous drug that wrecked peoples’ lives.

But after struggling with the knowledge that marijuana has been used by human civilization for over 5000 years and there has never been one documented overdose, yet thousands die every year in America from prescription drugs, even aspirin, I figured something might be fishy about the stigma of pot.

Another thing that bothered me is that we all can easily think of 5 people we personally know who have a DUI for alcohol, but none of us can name just one person who has a DUI for marijuana alone.

So I spent a couple of months researching to find out why marijuana is actually illegal. I posted my findings on my personal blog, NickShell.com, which also hosts  ”Dad from Day One,” the blog that spun off to become The Dadabase.

In October 2009, I published a 10 part series called “The Cannabis Conspiracy.” Its most popular segment, The Funny Thing About Marinol, has received over 17,000 hits; it is currently the 3rd most popular blog post of my 550+ posts on NickShell.com.

Marijuana possession may land you a life sentence in prison, whereas murder or rape often does not; yet the mysterious cannabis plant is quite intriguing to us, especially on the Internet where people can read about it privately.

We laughed at the pot brownies scene in Transformers 2, yet condemned Michael Phelps when he celebrated his Olympic victory with a bong hit. Americans have a weird relationship with marijuana. We know in our hearts it’s just a medicinal plant, but we continue to allow good (non-famous) people to be arrested over it; and force cancer sufferers to live without it, in many of our states.

That just doesn’t sound very Christian to me.

Based on how much actual knowledge we know about marijuana now, as compared to even 20 years ago, I am convinced it’s only a matter of time (maybe 10 years?) before it’s legal again. (It was legal from the beginning of time… until 1937.)

A lot of it comes down to a changing public perception, especially within recent years as the taboo of it has tremendously faded. Obviously, I don’t fear writing about my pro-marijuana stance here on Parents.com. It’s not something I felt the need to clear by my editors first. But a decade ago, it might have been different.

Honestly, is this even a controversial topic or am I simply preaching to the choir? I don’t know; but I do at least want to initiate the conversation.

So let’s imagine a world where anyone 21 or older can go to the store and buy a box of joints or just grow the stuff in their backyard.

Does that mean parents start abusing or abandoning their kids? Does the entire country become violent and/or unmotivated? Or is it scarier to think about the fact that an estimated 2 million Americans smoke marijuana every day? Obviously a good number of them are parents.

As a parent, I refuse to be involved in illegal activity. After all, marijuana is dangerous… because it’s illegal to obtain. But if it wasn’t illegal, then it’d be… a safe, natural relaxer that has been never proven to give anyone cancer; much less kill them or even cause someone to get a DUI.

Pour yourself a glass of wine and think about that one.

Image (top): Medical marijuana via Shutterstock.

Image (bottom): Cannabis background via Shutterstock.

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  1. by Virginiya

    On December 3, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I would like to know how and why someone will think that is ok to publish this artical about the benefits of marijuana. This suppository be a site about parenting and I meant good parenting and part of that is how to keep and protect our kids from drugs. Instead of that there we go artical for advertising marijuana. And if one of our kids that can read, read the story how can you explained to that child that this is not good staff and the he/ she shouldn’t use it. Common people get it together. And actually the people that use the stuff don’t care for life they leave day by day. Their brain and memory is failing and there are researches showing that. I the same taken I am not saing it shouldn’t being used by some seriously ill people but defenetly not advertising in this site I believe.

  2. by al vexa

    On December 3, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    suppository be? learn to read and write

  3. by Caitlin

    On December 4, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Nick,
    Thanks for this post. I agree that the danger of Marijuana comes from the fact that it has been made illegal. Users are required to go through channels of “law-breakers,” which I believe can be given the entirety of the blame for the label of ” the gateway drug.” in a society where adults are trusted to manage their alcohol use and prescription drug use in a healthy way, meaning responsibly and ensuring the safety of their children, the stigma of Marijuana makes no sense. That being said, while Marijuana is not physically addicting like other felony level drugs, it can have a psychological dependency. In this way, our society must offer the same support as is currently available for alcoholics. Surely this must be better than imprisoning them.
    I find your clarification that you do not consume cannabis interesting. It reassures the reader that your opinion can be taken seriously, because they are unable to dismiss you as a “pot-head” or any other clever variation thereof. Undoubtedly necessary, but it points out the sad fact that we value some over others in this society. Why should my opinion be valued less as a young, unmarried minority (take your pick) who does use Marijuana, rather than a 30-something, white, married parent who doesn’t? (By the way, I don’t mean to imply that I found anything remotely r-word in your article, just pointing out how stereotypes can affect society’s judgement on this topic).
    It’s good to hear that I am not alone in the non-user, pro-legalization world. Some news sources would definitely have me believing otherwise.

  4. by Nick Shell

    On December 4, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Caitlin,

    You’re welcome. Thank you so much for your detailed response. A few years ago when I studied the history of what made it illegal back in 1937, I learned all about the discrimination against Mexicans and African-Americans and how that played into it. Maybe I didn’t fully realize until now just how ironic (and important) it is that a 30 year-old, married white guy (though I am a quarter Mexican, for what it’s worth) who doesn’t smoke pot is taking this topic to the spotlight, especially on a parenting website. Thank you for taking the time to openly support this topic with me. Based on my Facebook comments alone, I have received nothing but positive feedback from this article. I appreciate you adding to the supportive vibes.

    -Nick Shell