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Could Pot Make You a Better Parent?

By Rich_Maloof Sep 10, 2012 4:18PM

Photo: Linda Lewis/Getty Images

Might it be true that pot can help some people to be better parents? Before you respond, "What're you, high?" consider this case.

Mark Wolfe, an art dealer in San Francisco, shares his sober reflections on buzzed parenting in the colorful op-ed piece Pot for Parents from The New York Times. Wolfe isn't necessarily advocating or even claiming that anyone raising young children will do better when baked, but he does suggest that, for some people, marijuana can be "enormously salutary to the parent-toddler relationship."

For this particular dad, the psychoactive effects of marijuana enabled him to be more patient and more engaged with his three young daughters. He writes, with giddy good humor, about having fun helping his daughter draw the letter Q and of playing with puppets instead of turning on the tube. "Beyond food, shelter and clothing, what do small children need most from their parents?" Wolfe asks. "Sustained, loving, participatory attention." Adding a little herb to the recipe helped him get where he wanted to be as a father.

Of course, anyone who's been around — whether you're a regular toker, a midnight smoker or never touch the stuff — knows that each high person responds a little differently. Some get a little a nervous. Some will talk too much and some get quietly introspective. Some will eat all of their children's chocolate chip cookies. The question here is whether the individual is capable of responsible parenting when under a little influence.

Are there inherent risks? Is it acceptable to be high around one's children? "If a parent is a cannabis consumer or lawful medical cannabis patient, then their responsible use of cannabis will dictate any potential liability more so than the use of the herbal drug itself," Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of NORML, told The Daily Dose. "For example, a parent [who] consumes cannabis and watches cartoons or reads to their children as compared to using cannabis and driving children around in an automobile."

Wolfe purchased his marijuana legally at a state-sanctioned dispensary in California after a doctor recommended cannabis-based treatment to address his back pain and associated stress and anxiety. So he's not modeling bad behavior by breaking the law, and he takes his, er, medication only in private and in moderation. He is appreciating and enjoying his daughters while giving more, higher-quality time to the relationships. To judge someone for that would be a real buzzkill.

Photo: Linda Lewis/Getty Images

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