Meredith C. Carroll: Yes, we cannabis
A newer editor for a website to which I have been a long-time contributor recently asked if I would write a piece about drinking alcohol in front of my kids. I rolled my eyes while replying affirmatively. I could basically compose a dissertation on the topic in my sleep since I’ve previously churned out copy on the same theme too many times to count — for the same publication, plus others.
For each piece there’s always a little twist, such as how I parent better after a glass (or three) of wine; how I didn’t care when one of my then-toddlers used to take sips of booze; how I suggested parents make drunken snowcones so they can enjoy summer break as much as their kids. Once I wrote a piece applauding Disney World for caving in and finally selling alcohol in the Magic Kingdom, thereby offering adults the opportunity to feel enchanted while propping up their sluggish children on a 92-minute-long line in 92-degree heat for the 2-minute Peter Pan’s Flight ride.
It’s utterly adorable for, like, a minute when people clutch their pearls and pretend to be aghast at the idea of drinking in front of kids — as if it’s not 2017 but instead 1921, and imbibing anywhere other than in a speakeasy and out of bathtubs would necessarily mean Eliot Ness and his G-men will knock down your door and haul you off to the clink. The reality, though, is that alcohol is as ubiquitous as air, and adults partaking legally and responsibly have nothing to hide and no reason to be ashamed.
It’s unclear if the same will ever be said in this lifetime for people whose jam is marijuana. Pitkin County commissioners only decided last week to, at long last, stop making Basalt’s High Valley Farms pay for odor monitoring ever since some teetotalers bellyached a couple of years ago that the intermittent skunky smell emanating from the midvalley grow facility signaled the end of days (which ultimately proved to be false, of course, since we all know the end of the world is nigh this Saturday). Not helping the cause is the future-former attorney general of the United States, Jeff “Good People Don’t Smoke Marijuana” Sessions, who indicated last month that the laissez-faire pot-tiude circa the Obama administration would probably end soon.
At the risk of embarrassing my parents — although Lord knows they’re used to it — it should be said at this point that I am among the zillions of people who finds marijuana gratifying. I prefer vaporizers and edibles, although not openly in my children’s presence. An explanation eludes me as why I’m incapable of mustering up the cojones to consume legal marijuana in front of them, just as I would a glass of wine. An armchair psychologist would probably say the reasoning has roots in my adolescence, when some people (ahem, Mom and Dad) seemed to believe those who smoked pot necessarily listened to the Grateful Dead, shot up heroin, committed murder and robbed banks in their spare time. (Hey, two out of four isn’t bad.)
While thankfully mostly everyone — including my parents — have moved past that caricature, it’s still rare that marijuana co-stars in commercials or TV shows and movies featuring well-dressed, gainfully employed and emotionally typical friends, families and their neighbors and colleagues who all laugh easily and nonchalantly around a bong, just as they do when bellied up to a bar. (Seth Rogen may have opened the door wider for marijuana acceptance, but he hasn’t done a whole lot to challenge the Cheech-and-Chong stereotype of those who indulge.)
Despite Sessions and his ilk acting as if turning the clock back to, say, 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, is the most prudent path forward, there’s still an abundance of support at the state level for decriminalizing marijuana. That may mean this is actually prime time to broaden the demonstration for kids of what good, healthy choices look like — while simultaneously explaining that, as with driving a car and staying up late, it’s among the privileges afforded only to sensible adults. Plus, with all of the pot taxes now being reaped on Colorado schools, contributing to the windfall is basically a mitzvah.
The piece I have yet to write — and not just because it was already done in some fashion this summer by some moms who appeared on the “Today Show” — is that sometimes I actually parent better with marijuana, just as with wine. And it’s high time we all stop fretting about people assuming that if we smoke pot, it means we can’t also be a good woman, person, mom, wife, daughter, sister, writer, friend, neighbor, helper, customer or acquaintance (all of which I may very well not be, but for reasons having nothing to do with cannabis). Consuming marijuana is to an apathetic stoner what enjoying a cocktail is to a Depression-era hobo carrying around a stick with a raggedy bandana tied to the end: an absurd stereotype that has little basis in reality, or in 2017.
Follow Meredith Carroll on Twitter @MCCarroll. More at MeredithCarroll.com