Parenting Through the Haze

Parenting Through the Haze
Posted by CN Staff on April 22, 2007 at 05:42:34 PT
By Joe Garofoli
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco, CA -- Marsha Rosenbaum holds a doctorate in medical sociology from UC San Francisco and has researched drug issues for 20 years. Wherever the director of the San Francisco office of the Drug Policy Alliance holds workshops about teens and drugs -- Salt Lake City, Arizona, even at a national PTA convention in Columbus, Ohio -- at least one parent sheepishly asks Rosenbaum a version of the same question: "I smoke pot once in a while. I have a good job, my marriage is strong and I'm in decent shape. It's never been a problem for me. So what do I tell my kid if I think they're smoking?"
Or worse, what do I say if they find my stash? These parents aren't stoners, said Rosenbaum. They're not medicinal marijuana users or legalization advocates, either. They're lawyers. Land developers. Teachers. Homeroom mothers. They smoke marijuana occasionally -- socially, "like a glass of wine" is a common comparison. Yet privately, these parents are asking for help with a dilemma that isn't addressed publicly in many places: How do I talk to my kids about their pot smoking when I still do it -- and don't have any intention of stopping? They're finding there aren't a lot of places to go for information, especially for those who don't want to feed their children a reheated version of the federal government's "Just Say No" anti-drug campaigns of the 1980s. Besides, many kids are tuning out the government's zero-tolerance message. Last year, the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, found that the federal government's $1.4 billion anti-drug campaign wasn't working and said the drop in teenage drug use in recent years could be a result of other factors. Pot-smoking parents are everywhere in the Bay Area, say Rosenbaum and marijuana policy advocates. They take their regular turn in the carpool, and maintain their lawns and serve as lectors at their church. They're not tough to find. Getting them to talk about it is another matter. "But I'd be surprised if any of them would give you their full name, at least the folks you're looking for," Rosenbaum said. "It is the third rail of the third rail. You just don't talk about smoking marijuana, especially if you are high-functioning person." Indeed, few will publicly give voice to an otherwise silent minority of pot smokers: high-functioning, high-achieving adults -- many of them parents -- who still enjoy an occasional puff of the herb. Actually, nobody knows if they're a minority or a majority -- just that they're out there, they're silent and they have little desire to tell the world that, as the pot-legalization rally chant goes, "We smoke pot and we like it a lot."  Snipped:Complete Article: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)Author: Joe GarofoliPublished: Sunday, April 22, 2007Copyright: 2007 Hearst Communications Inc.Contact: letters sfchronicle.comWebsite: Policy Alliance -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on May 20, 2007 at 07:32:29 PT
SFC: Pot -- Pro and Con 
Sunday, May 20, 2007 Your April 22 package of marijuana stories was thoughtful and well done. Despite a couple of minor glitches (like leaving those silly Drug Enforcement Administration claims about wild increases in potency unrefuted), this was some of the best, most balanced coverage of marijuana issues I've seen. Your stories raise an obvious question: Why is this large and thriving industry still consigned to the shadows? Given that marijuana clearly has medical benefits for some, and as a recreational drug is far less dangerous to one's health than alcohol, why not bring it out of the criminal underground, tax it and put it into a properly regulated system? California cannot end federal government idiocy by itself, but it can end its own. Each year our state wastes millions of dollars on a futile "marijuana eradication" drive called the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting. CAMP hasn't eradicated California's No. 1 cash crop, but it has caused great harm by driving growers into more remote, dangerous and environmentally sensitive locations. It's time for some serious rethinking. Bruce Mirken Director of communications Marijuana Policy Project Washington, D.C. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------If health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms, marijuana would be legal. 
Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Like any drug, marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents. The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican migration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best. White Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer-madness propaganda. By raiding voter-approved medical marijuana providers in California, the very same Bush administration that claims illicit drug use funds terrorism is forcing cancer and AIDS patients into the hands of street dealers. Apparently marijuana prohibition is more important than protecting the country from terrorism. Robert Sharpe Policy analyst Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, D.C. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------I read Katherine Seligman's Connoisseurs of Cannabis (April 22) article and wanted to let you know it was very true and authentic. Many stories I see on the subject of medical marijuana are completely sensationalized and half bulls -- . Keep up the good work. NATE KUSH
Oakland --------------------------------------------------------------------------------As a parent raising a child in the city, I was disappointed in the irreverent tone of the "Parenting Through the Haze" story (April 22). The previous evening my block in the Western Addition erupted with gunshots, once again, as rival drug gangs in our neighborhood fought for the right to service the more affluent addicts around us. 
Parents, if you choose to keep illegal drugs in your home, tell your kids the whole story. Tell them that drug distribution, including cheap little dime bags of pot, ravage the poor and mostly minority neighborhoods in our own city. Tell them that the war on drugs will never go away until the demand decreases, but that our government will always focus on the supply. Tell them that once they start buying drugs, they are not just part of the problem, they are the whole problem. And parents, do you really think introducing drugs to your kids is a good idea? Has it helped you become a better person? Justin McDonald San Francisco --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Great article ("Parenting Through the Haze"). I'm not a pot smoker or a drinker, and neither are my two teenage sons, but I agree with the White House's Bertha Madras: Hallucinating with pot is not the same thing as having a glass of wine with dinner. The California PTA, through its Safety First booklet, irresponsibly advises that teenagers who smoke pot should moderate their use of this hallucinogenic drug, thereby incorrectly implying that it is possible for most young people to do so. People who use pot should not have kids, and people with kids should not use pot, unless they're satisfied with the prospect of having pot-smoking kids. Yeah, that's what we need more of, huh? Then we'll have more people to party with. 
Stuart Milligan San Francisco --------------------------------------------------------------------------------After doing a double take on the cover of the April 22 magazine (too bad it didn't come out on 4/20!), I realized with delight that the marijuana topic has finally gone mainstream. Joe Garofoli's article on how pot-smoking parents can break it to their kids was well written. I am nearly 50 year old, and have a different problem: How do I explain my casual indulgence of pot to my parents, who are strait-laced septuagenarians? I went to visit my folks in Palo Alto, and lying on their polished coffee table was your magazine with a glorious picture of a pot leaf gracing the cover. It was the perfect opportunity to engage in dialogue. The fact that The San Francisco Chronicle chose to address this issue in such an evenhanded manner enabled me to broach this sensitive topic with my parents. Thank you! Calus McCoy Ross --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Inspiring writing I just love the fact that I can always count on a wonderful piece of writing in the My Word part of The Chronicle Magazine. That feature never fails to inspire me, and "Going To" by Toni Mirosevich (April 15) may have been the best ever. I've been continually impressed week after week, and this one was especially outstanding. Jane Super San Francisco Send letters to: Letters Editor, Chronicle Magazine, 901 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103. E-mail letters to: magazine; fax (415) 543-6956. Include name, city and phone number. Unsolicited contributions must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine does not accept responsibility for any unsolicited items. This article appeared on page CM - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on April 25, 2007 at 10:49:52 PT
Thank you, Museman.
That is very interesting...part of the book I think you should write about your life and family.Yes. That, "I'm going to tell the authorities you smoke pot!" has got to be one of the worst.In the seventies, my children knew I smoked pot. I told them it was against the law, and that the law is usually something to be very much respected, but that the law in this case was wrong. I did regret that they had such a big burden to carry for such little children. I know it worried them...although they have very fond memories of their childhood during that era...some that didn't listening in the evening as they went to peacefully to sleep to the "water pipe" "bubbling" as we and our friends smoked and Led Zeppelin singing them to sleep. We had a remarkable looking hookah for them to remember...but we didn't use it. The dang bowl was huge. Their memories are good but I still think I shouldn't have burdened such young children with the truth of the cruelty of our system. It was a big "ssshhhhhhh" thing...and they handled it well. Very well...but I think, if I had it to do again, although it turned out well, that I wouldn't have had them to carry such a grown up burden.When I gave it up, I told them. When I picked it up from time to time again over the years...I didn't mention it to them... for one reason and one reason only...not to worry them about someone coming to arrest me or having to keep a big secret. They've all grown into remarkably stable, successful, and healthy people.Not one has ever had a "drug" or serious emotional problem of any kind. Grace of God! Halleleujah!I saw that it was a mistake for a friend of mine to let her children know she used cannabis. They, like their father, held it against her in ugly ways. I heard one of them say, when asked where she was, "Oh she's probably out there in the barn sucking on a roach." That dismayed me. She made a bad choice in letting them know what she was doing.It's difficult and this article is an excellent article. This situation is always a curious conundrum to me. Every situation is different. Let's hope we all make the right choices for our situation.It should be legal...for everyone's sake...including the "children".
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Comment #8 posted by museman on April 25, 2007 at 09:46:02 PT
as a smoking parent
I have to agree with Celaya about the 'keep it in the closet' attitude of those "high-functioning, high-achieving adults" (I gotta laugh at that). Obviouisly their 'high function' is directly relative to their upolding of the status quo, and their 'high-achievements' are all measured by the same corrupt standards prevalent in an elite social group that believes might is right, and that prettiness is next to godliness.It's no wonder so much of the youth is confused. Their government is nothing but hot air and lies used to justify their wealth and power, and their 'high-functioning, high-achieving' parents have got their priorities stuck somewhere up their lower intestinal tract.Truth comes with a price tag of responsibility. That responsibility is a personal one for each and every one of us. No one can do the job for us. Unfortunately in the fast paced world of 'high-function high-achievement' responsibility is replaced by television, the internet, public slavery schools, and churches still living in the dark ages.I have had to reprogram my own children 7 times. Once for each one as they came home with the party line prohibition BS that we are all used to. I've had two of them try to threaten me with the 'authorities' "Well, I'll just call the cops and tell 'em you smoke pot!" because their teachers told 'em it was the 'right' thing to do.None of my children, except my one extremely rebellious son (all my sons have quoted Jim Morrison to me at some point - "Father...I want to kill you!") have tried any of the really dangerous drugs -including the prescription drugs, because I have told them the truth. And the one -who dabbled briefly with meth (because I live in a meth-powered town of logger rednecks) came to me early on for help, so the damage was averted.But I guess that my 'function' and 'achievement' can't measure up to the 'successful' whose children get strung out on crack, meth, or heroin, because they believed the television when it laid out the parameters of 'high-function' and 'high-achievement.'
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on April 24, 2007 at 21:41:04 PT
You handled that very well and very thoughtfully, appears to me.
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Comment #6 posted by Celaya on April 22, 2007 at 12:28:54 PT
That's for sure! The great evil that has taken hold of our country is only maintained by deception.I imagine the Bush cabal meets every morning and says, "Well, which lie will work best today?"
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Comment #5 posted by Truth on April 22, 2007 at 12:11:12 PT
I think
I think, as a society, we would be much better people if we prioritized honesty. If the human animule had an inability to decieve, 9/10s of the World's problems would vanish.
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Comment #4 posted by Celaya on April 22, 2007 at 11:50:43 PT
Yes. I explained to my son how there are situations where you can't discuss the truth, like for me at work, and for him at school. We live in a very oppressive state. But I also showed him the many ways I work as an activist. The important thing was to be totally honest with HIM.
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Comment #3 posted by Celaya on April 22, 2007 at 11:40:33 PT
Cognitive Dissonance
"They're not medicinal marijuana users or legalization advocates, either."Therein lies the problem. Latest estimates show 100 million Americans have consumed marijuana. If half of these folks would stand up, prohibition would be over tomorrow.These people need to take a deep breath, look in the mirror, and admit they are hypocrites and a LARGE part of the problem.As soon as children are old enough to know how to be discreet, they should be told the truth. When I decided my son was ready, I took a piece of paper, and asked him how many deaths a year he thought alcohol caused. He said he didn't know, so I wrote down, "Alcohol - 85,000 deaths" ( Then, I asked him for tobacco. He was ready to guess by that time, so he said "100,000." I said no, and wrote down "Tobacco - 435,000"Then I wrote down "Marijuana," and asked him how many deaths he thought were caused by it. He said, "Ummmm. 200,000?"Then next to marijuana, I wrote "ZERO deaths!"  The look of amazement on his face was priceless - and led to a long talk about the hypocrisy and persecution in the world. Also, that, like drinking alcohol, consuming marijuana is an ADULT activity. I also explained I was doing everything I could to change the terrible injustice. I finished by asking him to always ask me first if he had any questions about anything, and that I would always tell him the truth.Two books also helped a lot.One was "It's Just A Plant." - other was "A Drug War Carol" - gained an incredible amount of trust and respect from that conversation. Parents who go the other way and hide and lie to their children about it lose a great opportunity to create a lasting bond, and likely plant seeds of distrust they will never overcome.
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Comment #2 posted by whig on April 22, 2007 at 11:39:43 PT
We smoke pot and we like it alot
Nice.The truth is, people are under pressure from employers not to admit using cannabis.
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Comment #1 posted by Hope on April 22, 2007 at 10:02:41 PT
This is such an amazing article.Much to cogitate. Very well done.I think it's amazing, but I'm anxious to hear what you all think of it.
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