I’m lucky to have earned my living for the past five years as a part of the thriving cannabis industry, after what feels like a lifetime of being close to the plant. In fact, I met my husband, Etai, in a pipe shop 13 years ago in Eugene, Oregon.
Throughout our relationship, cannabis has been a core element of our lives together. We’ve spent many nights connecting over a joint in the living room, enjoyed visits to our friends’ grows together, and have even grown our own in our backyard for years thanks to Oregon’s home-grow laws.
We both grew up around the pre-legalization West Coast legacy market in California and Oregon. As legalization has swept the country, I’ve been a part of the growth of one of the largest companies in the industry, while my husband’s imaginative glass pipes can be found in art galleries and private collections across the U.S.
People have called us “professional stoners,” “weed snobs” and “cannabis connoisseurs.” But as of June 2022, someone now calls us “Mom and Dad.”
My husband and I are in a privileged position when it comes to both cannabis and parenting as white and white-passing parents in a state where adult-use cannabis has been legal for years. There’s momentum at the federal level with President Joe Biden’s recent announcements that hinted at rescheduling, and as of the 2022 midterm elections, voters in 21 states have now legalized adult-use cannabis where they live.
It’s all good news, but there’s still a lot of work to be done toward true normalization and legalization. We can’t forget about how the many decades of cannabis prohibition have disproportionately harmed communities of color, who have suffered collateral consequences as a result.
Having a baby put a new lens on everything in my life, including my relationship with cannabis. As a new mom, I’ve become very aware that with parenting comes a whole lot of judgment.
“Is your baby cold?”
“Do you co-sleep?”
“Are you breastfeeding?”
As a West Coaster, I’m part of a culture where cannabis is pretty widely ingrained. But as a new mom, it suddenly feels different to talk about the plant around others.
Since it’s really nobody’s business how I care for my baby or my body, I don’t plan to disclose to others if I’m currently consuming or not. But I can’t help but reflect on how my approach to cannabis will be different.
Gone are the days of kicking back with zero responsibilities. I have a new little human who needs me (and a busy full-time job on top of that), so it’s important that I’m quick and flexible at all hours of the day. While I love THC, I’ll be reaching for minor cannabinoids such as products higher in CBD or CBG instead, as well as flame-free cannabis innovations like cannabis beverages and vape pens, which make it easier to consume discreetly.
As our little one has become more mobile and we baby-proof our home more thoroughly, lighters and torches, as well as any cannabis products, will definitely stay far out of reach. I’ll also be avoiding sharing a joint with friends because I don’t want to get my baby or myself sick through close contact with others. Not to mention, I feel completely different about the aroma of cannabis smoke than I did before becoming a parent, and secondhand smoke is something I personally plan to avoid.
Living in Portland, Oregon, there’s a clear awareness in the majority of the communities I’m a part of that moderate use of cannabis can be a way to relax and unwind as a parent. For some, it’s also a helpful aid to truly enjoy playtime with their children.
If “wine moms” can be a punchline on a punny item in a gift shop, moms who responsibly consume cannabis should absolutely be embraced by the wider culture, without shame or judgment. I’m eager to change the narrative around safe and responsible consumption for parents, even though, again, I’m aware it’s a privilege that I, a white woman in a state where cannabis is legal, feel comfortable talking freely on this stigmatized topic.
In collaboration with the community around me and the advocates who have sacrificed so much to advance legalization, I’m looking forward to using my position of privilege to help shift stigmas and normalize what it means to be a mom who loves cannabis. Being upfront about what my husband and I do for a living feels like a good first step. We’re providing visibility by sharing our story and helping to humanize the people behind the industry.
Throughout this journey as a new mom, my perspective has shifted significantly, but the move toward legalization and how it impacts working parents is more important to me than ever. While the U.S. has a long way to go when it comes to parental leave, it’s not lost on me that I’m one of only a handful of new parents in this industry who have been able to access paid parental leave. With proposed legislation like the SAFE Banking Act and hopefully a descheduling of the plant, more companies will be able to offer mainstream benefits like parental leave, ensuring that women and mothers can have a place as leaders in this industry.
Speaking of changing the narrative, I learned quickly that one thing that is really lacking in our health care system is adequate postpartum care. We’re all doing whatever we can to figure out healing on our own, so it’s the birthing person’s prerogative whether they choose cannabis or other herbs to take care of themself once the baby arrives. Cannabis can have a place in postpartum care and parenting.
I get so many questions from fellow parents who are curious about how to incorporate cannabis into their wellness routines. People are open to it, but they’re just unsure and uneducated, and that’s what keeps me going. I’m lucky that it’s literally my job to help shift stigmas around the plant, and I have a new level of purpose around that now that I have a baby to support and teach.
I intend to teach my daughter to respect all plants, including cannabis, and understand their power. I’ll teach her to avoid poison ivy when we go hiking, I’ll encourage her to drink herbal tea when she has a cold, and I’ll also educate her on why it’s important to wait until she’s old enough to consume cannabis. I look forward to teaching my daughter about cannabis, just like I plan to teach her about alcohol, so that she can make an educated decision about safe consumption when she’s old enough.
As the world progresses and new generations begin to lead our culture, my hope is that cannabis normalization and conversations about responsible consumption become the rule, not the exception.
Jordon Rahmil is senior public relations director at Curaleaf and has been working in the cannabis industry since 2017.
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