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Weed and the American Family: Parents Are Now Surprisingly Open About Their Pot Use

A new survey looks at the changing impact of marijuana on American families.

American family pot smoking change InnerVisionPRO/Shutterstock
Since today is 420, we thought the timing was apropos to tell you guys about Yahoo's new Weed & the American Family report, an in-depth look at the way marijuana is affecting our families—from the generational split over usage and shifting attitudes, to its impact on parenting and relationships.

The survey of more than 1,000 adults found that getting high has become surprisingly acceptable, particularly in families in which parents themselves are users. Fifty-four percent of Americans who smoke pot are parents, and 30 percent are parents with children younger than 18. Because raising young kids is stressful and parents need to chill out sometimes, OK?

Among the moms and dads who partake, 79 percent see it as socially acceptable, which goes a long way to explain the recent popularity of Facebook groups like CannaMoms Uncensored and websites like TheStonerMom.com. The latter is run by Kathryn VanEaton, a 30-something, yoga-pants-wearing, suburban mom-of-four who shops at Target, drives a minivan, and just so happens to smoke pot.

"I created this website to help change the stigma that comes with cannabis use," she explains on the site. "I want to show the world that cannabis users are just people. Normal adults living normal adult lives."

VanHeaton says on her site that she maintains a strict code to never smoke around her kids, but not all stoner mamas and papas feel the same. In fact, 47 percent of those surveyed copped to smoking weed in front of their children, sharing it with them, or both! Which means Melissa Etheridge—who recently admitted to blazing up with her adult kiddos and called it a "bonding experience"—is in good company.

As for the weed-loving parents who don't indulge in smoking sessions with the fam, the majority of them—54 percent—have still fessed up to their kids knowing about their habit. Their children, however, aren't always quite so eager to do the same. And while 21 percent of all American parents place marijuana use near the top of their list of concerns for their kids—others include smoking cigarettes (24 percent), drinking alcohol (21 percent), having sex (17 percent), and cheating on a test (12 percent)—parents who have tried getting baked or currently smoke rank it dead last.

Here's another place where the users and nonusers part ways: While the majority of parents believe 20 is the age at which someone is old enough to decide whether or not to toke up, that number drops to 17 for the parental stoner set.

You can check out the rest of the poll results here. Then read VanEaton's 8 Easy Ways to Be a Responsible Stoner Parent, which includes tips like rotating weed sessions with your partner so only one of you is high at a time, and keeping your stash inaccessible to children because you don't want to be that parent.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter.