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Recently, there has been a confounding media frenzy on the sensationalized phenomenon of “marijuana moms,” women who smoke cannabis to get through the stress of being a parent. The comparison is a familiar one, of “mother’s little helpers,” blatant references to 1960s housewives who would take a Valium or a Quaalude to ease the burden of having to abandon their careers to wade through the snot, diapers and soccer practices that come with being a parent.
These news stories have appeared everywhere, and while I am happy to see marijuana and parenting being discussed in the mainstream media, unfortunately the focus is in the wrong place, a damaging place to those parents who cannot afford to make light of the issue.
This isn’t the world we live in today and the underlying fallacy in making that comparison is that it diminishes the reality of the Drug War—the longest war in American history, and is the only one being fought by the government against all of its people.
“Because, this isn’t the world we live in today and the underlying fallacy in making that comparison is it diminishes the reality of the Drug War—the longest war in American history, the only one being fought by the government against all of its people.”
Being a parent fighting the Drug War means living in constant fear of losing what matters most to you in the world—your children. Being a mom fighting the Drug War means constantly worrying about what type of world your children will inherit.
Sure cannabis helps reduce your stress and is a safer alternative to alcohol or pills. As Dennis Peron, the man behind California’s landmark Proposition 215 which was the first in the nation to legalize marijuana for medical use says, “all use is medical.” But women smoking pot to deal with their lives isn’t news, it isn’t a headline. Here are some stories that should be mainstream headliners about moms and marijuana:
Daisy Bram, a woman who lost her children to Butte County, CA Child Protective Services (CPS) for growing marijuana. Bram and her husband lived in one of the most remote parts of the county. The price of marijuana has dropped significantly in Northern California since laws have loosened. Most people who grow marijuana in the remote forests of Northern California grow enough to pay their meager rent because there is no other industry there.
They do not live in luxury; in fact they struggle to be middle class. Her children, now ages 2, 1 and less than a year old are currently in foster care all because of marijuana.
Lindsey Rinehart, a woman in Boise, ID who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) whose children were removed from her care essentially because she is a vocal advocate working in a real and focused way towards a medical marijuana law in the state, so she can treat herself without the threat of imprisonment.
In Columbia, MO I met concerned citizens outraged over their local police department’s decision to use a military-style SWAT raid on the tip of possible marijuana possession at a small suburban home. Police raided the home of John Whitworth while his wife was in their 8-year-old son’s room reading him a bedtime story. They were both dragged out into the hallway where they watched police shoot and injure their corgi and shoot and kill a pit bull pup—that was running away from the cops squealing, the police followed the dog and shot it dead.
This 8-year-old will live the rest of his life with a memory of their home filled with men in military gear shoving his dad against a wall as he huddled into his mom’s arms staring at his dog in a puddle of its own blood in front of him. They found a pipe and less than a gram of pot in the home. No charges were formally pressed.
Sandy Fonzo’s teenage son, Ed Kenzakosi, was caught in Wilkes-Barre, PA with a marijuana pipe and, under a crooked judge’s Drug War cash scheme with a for-profit juvenile detention facility, was sent away to a harsh juvenile prison. He came home and killed himself, right when his life should have just been getting started. Over what? A non-fatal, non habit-forming substance that has only been illegal in 76 years of entire human civilization.
I just named four women and their children in each of the continental U.S.’s time zones who have had their lives turned upside down by federal marijuana law. This problem is endemic and not relegated to any specific region, because this war is fought on every American, especially American mothers.
This is the world we still live in; this is still the reality of being a “marijuana mom.”
Often, however, our media is not looking for reality, but instead TMZ-style sensationalist sound bites and pun-riddled headlines making goofy marijuana jokes. It is our responsibility as a media viewing public to put this in perspective because this is no laughing matter. There is nothing glamorous or funny about the Drug War and it is irresponsible for us to steer the conversation in the direction of frivolity, humor and celebritization.
We as a nation deserve better for our children than the Drug War; we can do better than this.