Parents 4 Pot Blog

Zoey says “Up Yours” to Dravet Syndrome - 40 Days Seizure Free

Zoey is three years old and has been having several types of seizures since she was about three months old. In November of 2013, genetic testing revealed that Zoey had the SCN1A mutation, and she was given a diagnosis of Dravet syndrome. As people in this country and around the world are becoming increasingly aware, Dravet kids do not often have a positive outcome when using traditional methods to control their conditions.

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Regrettably, Zoey’s doctors saw fit to experiment with her using several dangerous medications including a sodium channel blocker named Depakote.  Depakote can actually increase seizure activity and cause many side effects when being used by a child with a sodium channel mutation. These medications were prescribed to Zoey even when genetic testing was ordered because a sodium channel mutation was suspected. This is actually a typical situation going on across the country for thousands upon thousands of epileptic children. These drugs can already be harmful enough on their own, even when used for the intended conditions..

Many of the seizures that Zoey had would land her in the Emergency Room, only to be air-lifted to another hospital. She has stopped breathing several times and has been put into medically-induced comas in order to stop the seizing. The helplessness a parent feels in these situations can only make or break you. It is terrifying, it is heart-breaking, and it is infinitely traumatic to witness over and over and over again. 

Fortunately for Zoey, her mother could not accept that there was no cure for her daughter’s condition. Lindsay immediately began researching alternatives for her treatment hoping to find something that could help her daughter. Not surprisingly, information about the strain Charlotte’s Web came up in keyword searches.  Lindsay was able to see that other parents and providers were having success at rebuilding and protecting the brain and preventing epileptic seizures in Dravet kids using cannabis oil. The more she learned, the more realistic it became to consider that Zoey could live the rest of her life like many other kids and be able to run, to play, to learn, to show love…Lindsay believed it was possible for her daughter. And she was determined to make it happen.

Over six months after originally receiving the diagnosis of Dravet Syndrome, Zoey had both of the doctos’ recommendations required for parents to be able to use cannabis legally to treat their child’s qualifying condition in Michigan. After obtaining cannabis oil made from a high CBD strain, Lindsay was confident that Zoey was on her way to getting better. She began using the oil with Zoey for three weeks, hoping for success.  And when the CBD oil didn’t work, Lindsey did not give up on cannabis. 

Lindsay found us in June through another Michigan Mom whose four year old with a diagnosis of Dravet and Autism was seeing over a 99% seizure reduction with us.  This Mom also saw accelerated development and communication using whole plant therapies. Having clearly not been affected by the dangerous and irresponsible idea that THC shouldn’t be used with children, Lindsay was open-minded to using whatever doses and ratios we recommended for Zoey. 

Zoey and her Mom just recently celebrated another forty consecutive seizure free days and huge developmental gains using cannabis oil that is higher in THC than CBD. The seizure that interrupted Zoey’s latest green streak was minor, at that. Within minutes of the onset of the seizure, Zoey was back to her smiling self, possibly even unaware that it had happened. Before using these medicines, there were not many seizure free days for her. If Zoey had too much fun, she could have a seizure that would send her to the Emergency Room again.

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Contrary to what many parents would expect, these higher THC ratios do not get Zoey stoned or high. In fact, they give her more energy than she’s ever had in her life while still helping her to sleep through the night and avoid seizures. Why paint the picture with words though when Lindsay was thoughtful enough to provide pictures of Zoey from before and after she started using our medicines. 

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We send our gratitude and appreciation to Lindsay and Zoey for sharing their beautiful story and photos so that others can have a chance for a similar opportunity with their own children. These kids are the future, let’s free this plant and get them off these drugs!

Join the Parents 4 Pot Board of Directors

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BEING A PART OF THE PARENTS 4 POT LEADERSHIP TEAM?

Parents 4 Pot is expanding their Board of Directors this year and adding four new active positions. We are looking for folks with approximately 5-10 hours a week to donate to furthering our mission. Candidates can email a short letter to parents4pot@gmail.com explaining why they would be a good fit for the available position. Please put the position you are interested in as the subject line.

We will be taking submissions through February into March, and making selections in late March. We are excited to expand our horizons in the coming year and look forward to you being a part of it! We appreciate all of those interested in these positions and look forward to your addition to our team of activists ad advocates focused on "Ending Prohibition One Family at a Time." 

Below are descriptions of the four available positions:

Membership Director

  • Oversees Membership Program
  • Recruiting new members
  • Ensuring all members get cards and benefits
  • Developing creative ways to promote memberships
  • Creation and distribution of Parents 4 Pot monthly newsletter
  • Organizing Member Events
  • Tracking of members on Nation Builder Site
  • Blog entries for membership related activities and events
  • Skills needed: Organization, Computer Skills, Social Media, Communication, Innovation

Fundraising Director

  • Oversees all fundraising activities for the organization
  • Manages sponsorship and donor relationships
  • Creates innovative ways of raising funds for the organization, its chapters, and families in need
  • Promotes fundraising opportunities in the community
  • Solicits major donations for planned projects and events
  • Works to develop grant opportunities for the organization
  • Coordinates to host a major donor and sponsor event yearly
  • Uses Nation Builder site to encourage fundraising
  • Develop materials and literature to encourage fundraising and support for P4P
  • Contribute regularly to organization communications and newsletter
  • Blog entries about fundraising needs and opportunities
  • Skills needed: Outgoing, Fundraising Experience, Computer Skills, Communication, Creativity, Record Keeping

Public Policy Director

  • Manages public policy matters for P4P
  • Solicits consensus on positions and form policy statements and press releases
  • Coordinates with state chapters to work on policy matters in their area
  • Stays informed of policy issues that affect our mission
  • Develop sound strategies to use our collective voices to create change
  • Implement programs that work to create public policies that are workable and desirable
  • Work with public officials to encourage cannabis freedom and safe access
  • Contribute to organizational communications and newsletter regularly
  • Blog entries about public policy matters
  • Skills needed: Policy Experience, Writing Proficiency, Computer Skills, Communication, Insight

Families Outreach Director

  • Work directly with families suffering from prohibition
  • Manage the Help a Family program and web page
  • Reach out to families in need of support and legal help
  • Work with social workers and legal professionals to create resources for families
  • Maintain relationships with families we help and ensure long term health
  • Organize family outreach events and support groups within state chapters
  • Develop materials and communications for families
  • Manage yearly holiday drive
  • Contribute to newsletter regularly about family stories and matters
  • Blog entries about families and issues facing families
  • Skills needed: Communication, Computer Skills Outgoing, Organization
Smoking Pot Makes Me A Better Parent

That is right. I said it. Pot makes me a better parent.

I smoke pot daily. Mostly because it helps me to take the edge off of an often hectic world. Call it anxiety relief if you want to. I was also a Ritalin child, so I have always had some issues focusing. Smoking some weed allows me to slow my mind and focus on things more clearly. I also have severe arthritis from traumatic injuries in my foot and knees, so cannabis helps cut the pain and my need for pain medicines. Pot even helps me to enhance activities and find more enjoyment in many things.... and all of these benefits make me a better parent.

My kids enjoy me when I am stoned. I am relaxed and calm, and more enjoyable to be around. I don't drink much because I enjoy smoking weed more, and choose it as an alternative to a drink at the end of my long days. Every parent deserves the right to make that choice, and if more parents could use cannabis legally instead of booze the world would certainly be a better place. I am not saying drinking is a bad choice, I am just noting that statistically there are a lot more societal issues related to alcohol than pot. That is just a fact. Stoned people are generally more easy going and calm, where alcohol can make some people less in control, and often even violent. Cannabis just does not have a history of those characteristics, even if abused.

I also am not advocating for parents to abuse pot, and weed is certainly not for everyone. There are people who do not respond well to it, and that is okay too. To each their own. But statistically it is a good choice for a lot of people and many good parents smoke weed regularly. They should not be ashamed of that one bit. It is unfair that cannabis has been demonized in our society, with very little evidence of it doing any harm.

Continuing the charades of the drug war that has resulted us in locking up 25% of the world's prison population is not longer a viable option. Parents should not have to worry about arrest, or losing their kids for their choice to use a safe and beneficial plant. For a lot of people it helps them to not only be just a good parent to their kids, but helps them to be a much better parent.

I firmly believe that cannabis has added value to my two sons' lives. I am a happier person when I use cannabis to ease my tensions and pain. Ice cream tastes better. Movies are more interesting. I can sit at a table a draw with my boys because I am focused and patient due to the mild side effects of euphoria that cannabis can cause. Since when did euphoria become a bad thing? 

I am able to use cannabis safely and responsibly in my life. I treat it like I would any other substance in my home. I keep it out of my children's direct reach and I educate them on what cannabis is and why it is a good choice for their dad, both as a medicine and an adult-use enjoyment. They understand that it is dangerous when misused and is not meant for kids, unless they are severely ill. My kids get it, the same way they know not to drink their mother's beer or eat pills if they come across them. They know all of that because we taught them all of that. That is called parenting.

I smoke pot and my wife does not, as it is just not her thing and makes her feel weird. I don't really drink much, as it is not the best choice for me personally. Our family is much better off because my wife and I are able to both responsibly use our substance of choice to take the edge off, and make our sometimes mundane lives just a little more enjoyable. That is how it is supposed to be and there is nothing wrong with that.

Smoking pot makes me a better dad. That is just a fact. We need to ensure that mothers and father like myself have the right to smoke some pot without fear or being treated like a lesser person. It is a very natural thing and something that should be celebrated. We must take back the meaning of what it is to be a responsible stoner again and help the world to understand that weed is a plus in our lives, and as parents.

Thank You for Supporting the Parents 4 Pot Holiday Drive

I am always amazed at the generosity of many of the folks that make up the cannabis community. When we started Parents 4 Pot a little over a year ago we wanted to make it an organization that helped find ways to directly affect the lives of families who are victims of the war on cannabis. Our mission is valid. We are here to be a dedicated voice for all families who support the end of hemp and cannabis prohibition. We strive to defeat the social stigma surrounding adults who use cannabis responsibly. We support a parent’s choice to use medical cannabis to treat their children's illnesses. Our work helps families with cannabis related issues through education, direct action and organizational support.

The outpouring of support from large donors and small donors alike have enabled us to make a real difference in some families lives this holiday season and we want to personally thank those who have stepped up to make this a reality. Imagine being a kid whose dad has served a decade in jail while your family struggled, and to have gifts you want and need show up with the message "We think your dad is a hero... Love, Parents 4 Pot." Or to be a family torn apart having to move half of the family to a state with cannabis to treat your kid's disease, and struggling to make ends meet. When presents show up saying "We hope you are doing well" it is life changing for these folks.

As I sit here in tears thinking about the way people have given even when they had very little to make these families holidays special, I am truly honored to know you folks. I cannot express how grateful we are to have such an amazing group of support and kindness. It truly is touching... so THANKS to all who have helped.

If you still want to help there are plenty of folks on the list who you can still get presents for directly through Amazon at parents4pot.org. If you want to donate funds directly through PayPal you can do that with the email parents4pot@gmail.com. I can assure you it will make you feel better and that your funds will go towards a noble and just cause. We are appreciative beyond words.

Support the Parents4Pot Second Annual POW/Cannabis Community Holiday Drive!

We love to make a difference in the lives of those in our community. No one knows first hand how terrible this war is than the families of those who are struggling to make ends meet in their role as an activist, medical refugee, or those serving time for cannabis. We are organizing Amazon.com Wish Lists for each POW’s family. We hope you will chip in a few bucks to send a gift to a kid whose family is paying the ultimate price from the drug war.

There are gifts of all shapes and sizes. Feel free to choose some gifts that are within your budget, or you can donate directly to the P4P Holiday Drive by PayPal. Send your donation to parents4pot@gmail.com with “Holiday Drive” in the memo/notes section. We will select presents for families on the list for you.

We appreciate the support and are overwhelmed by the generosity of this community. Together we can ensure our community stays strong and that those less fortunate have a wonderful holiday despite life’s many challenges. Feel free to contact us directly with any questions you may have, and again… THANK YOU!

If you know of a family who could use some help but is not listed here, please let us know in the feedback section below. We need the name of the family, the kids names and ages, what they would like for Christmas (clothes, backpacks, video games, music, movies, etc.) and where we should ship it too. Also send us some information about the hardship situation.

The preceding text was originally published on the Parents4Pot POW Holiday Drive webpage, which can be viewed here. The Parents4Pot site includes pictures, backstory, and wishlists for the POW/cannabis community families that Parents4Pot is organizing the drive for this year. So far, that list includes the family of Luke Scarmazzo, sentenced to two decades in prison, Jaqie Angel Warrior and her family, the cannabis refugee family of young patient Cyndimae Meehan, and the families of POWs Weldon Angelo, Ricardo Monte, and Chris Williams.

Check back on the POW Drive page often, as more will be added. Share the site and this article with those who are in a position to give and those who could possibly benefit from knowing about the drive!

It is a tragic fact of the War on Drugs that some loving, dedicated parents who never hurt anyone will be spending the holiday season incarcerated, far from the ones they love. Thanks to Parents4Pot for organizing this beautiful community giving opportunity for the second year in a row, and for bringing much-needed attention to the damage the War on Drugs is doing to otherwise happy, healthy families.

For previous Ladybud coverage of the amazing activism efforts of Parents4Pot, click here.

Photo Credit: Albert Chevallier Tayler under public domain via Wikimedia Commons

#UNACCEPTABLE: A Direct Action Demanding the State of Massachusetts Put Patients Before Politics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Medical Cannabis Patients, Families and Supporters to Protest Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Tuesday, October 14th to Let Them Know Their Inaction is #UNACCEPTABLE. Protest, Press Conference, and Solidarity March.

Boston, MA, October 7, 2014 – On November 6, 2012 Massachusetts residents voted overwhelmingly to allow citizens to have access to medical cannabis. Nearly two years later the will of the people has still not been implemented and patients are still forced to go without cannabis medicine, or to seek it out from often dangerous black market sources. It is unacceptable.

The program has been hampered by incompetence and seemingly political positioning. The DPH received millions of dollars in fees to vet applications, and failed to do so. It took media sources reviewing the applications and publicly acknowledging their shortcomings to realize many inconsistencies and politically charged issues. The DPH was forced to delay the program and rescinded nearly half of the original 20 dispensaries that were selected for approval. Because of their inability to review the most basic of issues in the applications, this has resulted in them dragging their feet resulting in thousands of patients being forced to suffer needlessly.

To date, patients still do not even have a simple identification program for law enforcement to verify their patient status. The planned caregiver program is non-existent due to cumbersome and unnecessary regulations. Patients cultivating their own cannabis have no way to know if their gardens are legal or if they are violating the law, as DPH has no guidelines or registration. Dispensary groups approved for the inspection phase continue to be limited by unsure direction and confusion from the DPH. Patients with serious and life-threatening illness are being denied access and are suffering diminished quality of life (and even death) as a result of the State’s failure to implement the program.

This is no longer okay and we demand the Department of Public Health immediately begin to open up the program and allow for patients to access safe and quality cannabis medicines through experienced caregivers able to serve multiple patients; and clean, well-lit dispensary facilities.  We demand DPH limit restrictions on hardship cultivation and allow more patients the opportunity to grow their own safe medicine. We demand the DPH expedite the current dispensary applications waiting for approval, immediately issue permits in counties without access as required by law, and allow for at least 35 dispensaries statewide to serve the needs of the tens of thousands of Mass residents who qualify for medical cannabis. Hundreds of patients and activists will gather on October 14th to make these demands heard at the MA Department of Public Health offices in downtown Boston.

What: #UNACCEPTABLE: A Direct Action demanding the State of Massachusetts put Patients before Politics.

When: Tuesday, October 14, 2014: 11:00 a.m.- Protest Rally • 11:30 a.m.- Press Conference (Community Leaders, Physicians, Patients and Families to speak out) • 12:00 p.m.- Solidarity March to State House

Where: Massachusetts Department of Public Health • 250 Washington Street Boston, MA 02108

Why: To demand the DPH and state quit putting politics before patients and implement access to medical cannabis immediately. To bring public awareness to a cause that has forced people to suffer needlessly, including children and families dealing with major health issues. To call for immediate change and progress.  

Contact: #UNACCEPTABLE Coalition- Mickey • (774) 473-7969 • unacceptablecoalition@gmail.com

END

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Parents 4 Pot Speaks Out Against California Police Chiefs Association and League of Cities

For Immediate Release: July 8, 2014

Sacramento, CA – Parents 4 Pot, a non-profit mutual benefit organization based in California, has a clear mission to end cannabis prohibition policies that result in the destruction of families and decimate poor and minority communities. We are dismayed that the California Police Chiefs Association and the California League of Cities are using their lobbying muscle in Sacramento to create more crime and pad law enforcement budgets unnecessarily across the State. Their suggested amendments to the Senate Bill 1262 (SB1262) work to criminalize legal patient activities and cultivation practices in favor of criminal charges and more wasted revenues in law enforcement and court costs. It is amazing that nearly eighteen years after the passage of California’s historic Proposition 215 we are looking to make criminals out of patients.


These groups have long undermined the legislative process with big budgets that seek to maintain the status quo. SB1262 looks to limit patient access to cannabis and create a burdensome licensing process orchestrated through local jurisdictions. This will pass the cost of regulation on to local communities, who are already struggling with limited budgets, and create an environment ripe for corruption. The State’s willingness to pass the buck and the costs of regulating this complex industry to local governments is unnecessary.  It creates a pay to play opportunity in every city and county in the state. While local approval is always necessary, it is dangerous to allow municipalities to construct individual framework for how cannabis is to be distributed to qualified patents.


The proposed timelines for implementation of this bill are unreasonable.  If left to local governments to decide, they will take many months to accomplish. The system is set up to fail and ensure very few producers and providers of medicine are able to compete in the process. In turn, the many small batch producers of safe and effective medicine will be driven from the marketplace, which will result in increased black market activity. The process needs to be inclusive of the thousands of people who currently make a living providing quality cannabis medicines to hundreds of thousands of patients across the state.   Through effective statewide regulations with fees based on actual size and scope of the operation, more small-batch producers could thrive in the same manner small grape farmers and micro-breweries succeed in a market dominated by large corporations.


We also believe the restrictions placed on patients are unnecessary. SB 1262 will interfere with a patient’s choice of physician and manner of ingestion. It will also limit their choice and quality of medicine by creating a market of a few large producers. This will limit the market based on what is popular.  It will not necessarily provide what is most medically effective for the wide variety of patients across the state, including patients who need CBD specific medicines. We demand that the bill that becomes law includes a comprehensive, affordable and fair distribution system for cannabis. The current watered down half-measure on the table creates more problems than solutions.

 

We are organizing patient, parents, and providers to speak up against the current regulations being proposed. We are prepared to organize direct action protests against the bill if appropriate amendments are not made.  As the walls of cannabis prohibition crumble across the country, it is up the State of California to lead the nation with the implementation of a regulatory model that ensures uniform public safety, promotes patient safety and access to cannabis.


We hope legislators will consider a more comprehensive licensing system that can be implemented fairly across the State. There are too many people in jail for cannabis.  This bill ensures that thousands more Californians and their families will fall victim to unjust and immoral policies.  We need to stop overzealous law enforcement lobbying groups whose interests are based on greed and their motivation to continue to fight the failed war on drugs. It is time for lawmakers to demand that sensible statewide regulations be implemented in California’s medical cannabis program. SB 1262 in its current form does not accomplish that objective.  It creates more criminal costs for our already bloated criminal justice system.

 

The current proposal of SB 1262 can be found HERE.

 

THE P4P MISSION

Parents-4-Pot is a dedicated voice for all families who support the end of hemp and cannabis prohibition. We strive to defeat the social stigma surrounding adults who use cannabis responsibly. We support a parent’s choice to use medical cannabis to treat their children's illnesses. Our work helps families with cannabis related issues through education, direct action and organizational support.

CONTACTS: Phone: (925) 309-7110  •  Email: Parents4Pot@gmail.com   •  Web: Parents4Pot.org

Global Cannabis March Brings Out Families

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The Global Cannabis March is my personal activist anniversary.   I attended my first march in Portland, Oregon in 2001.  I volunteered to register voters that day.  The March, the speakers and talking to people about why cannabis should be legal fanned an ember inside of me.  Thirteen years later, that ember has become a passionate fire that won’t be quenched until prohibition is over. 

My Pregnancy Story



My newborn son and his Grandma January 1986Even though legalization is right around the corner, many women today are afraid to talk to their doctors about cannabis use while they are pregnant.  There was a study done in Jamaica that shows it is certainly not harmful.  We also have new information that shows that mothers' milk contains cannabinoids.  Each of us need to decide whether or not to talk to our doctors about our cannabis consumption; it is a very personal decision.  Here's what happened to me.

Being a

As cannabis becomes more acceptable worldwide, and we see the evils of prohibition dying a slow and painful death, there are still people who want to pretend they are morally superior to those they might consider to be "weed parents." These folks have likely been sold a bill of goods regarding cannabis use, and have fallen for the stereotypical stoner banter that has infected our society due to decades of misinformation and lies. They may want to look down their nose at you because you enjoy weed, and they may even not want their spoiled brats to play with your kids any more, as a result. 

Our conditioning over the decades of criminal prohibition has resulted in most folks being shy, or hiding, their affinity for pot. It is natural for many to fall into the trap of feeling ashamed because we like weed. We have been told for so long that we are bad people and (gasp) criminals, that we are inclined to accept these criticisms and not stand our ground on the issue. 

Well....times they are a changin.'

As parents, I do believe cannabis gives us a moral higher ground (pun intended). I believe the days of being secretive about our love for the weed are over. I think we can begin to stand up loud and proud, and not only be forthcoming about our cannabis use- but also be proud of it. 

First and foremost, cannabis IS a safer alternative. So by choosing to use cannabis over one of the more dangerous alternatives, like booze or some pill, is a smart and responsible choice for you to make as a parent. Anyone who has had one too many drinks and have done something regrettable cannot deny that there are real dangers to alcohol consumption. Ask a parent, if their kid was sleeping over at your house, would they rather you drink a bottle of wine to relax, or smoke a little joint? Any parent who has a brain will deduct that your being drunk is a much larger risk to their child being under your supervision than if you puffed some herb. 

We have NOTHING to be ashamed of. Parents who choose cannabis are good parents who likely are more relaxed, creative, and understanding than parents who choose other methods of "taking the edge off." I have never been "out of control" or "irresponsible" due to my using cannabis. My use of it enhances my life in so many great ways, from the movies I watch to the food I eat. Smoking some pot helps me to explore parts of my creative side that I would not even know existed if it were not for the mind expanding capabilities of this safe and enjoyable plant. Weed is not only safe, it can also be very helpful in making a complex world less burdensome. 

I am tired of the ridiculous lies and exaggerations that our society has created around cannabis use. The idea that weed makes a person lazy and stupid is just not founded in any sort of truth. Just this morning I was watching an episode of Morning Joe on MSNBC and had to hear the right-leaning and elitist pundit Joe Scarborough say, "Pot makes you dumb." Right after making this bold assertion. Scarborough admits he has never even tried cannabis, and after being prodded admits that alcohol makes people dumb too. The funny part is that Scarborough always likes to brag about the music he listens to and play some killer grooves for his intros and breaks. Does he know that the "dumb people" who write those songs most all used pot to enhance their creativity, thus allowing them to make those songs he claims loves so much? Stupid stoners...

But these are the misconceptions we face. It is up to us as parents to shift this paradigm. We have to stand proud of our cannabis use and not shy away from having that conversation. we must address it head on, and I am not even above taking a little elitist position of our own to make our point. Why can't we look down our nose at parents who drink or who use pills? Mostly because we are not rude and choose not to interfere on other's lifestyle choices. But if I were, as a parent who solely uses cannabis, I think I am a better parent than those who solely use booze. Sorry. I am passing judgement. Weed makes me a more thoughtful and introspective person. Booze makes most people irresponsible, lowers their inhibitions, and skews their moral compass. Weed just does not do that. I will take hungry and laughing over stumbling and slurring your speech on any day.

But I am not trying to create a divide. I am just demanding equality and respect. I know plenty of parents who drink and are great parents. I know parents that use anti-anxiety medicines effectively to help them get through their day, and it does not make them a bad parent. Just like my choice to use cannabis does not make me a bad parent. There are good and bad parents in all walks of life, and even that is relative to who you are and what your values are.

Being a WEED PARENT though is something that is an evolving deal. We have to recondition our society to think differently. We have to show by real life example that weed parents are awesome. We must embrace our future and work towards ending the stigmas associated with cannabis users. We like weed and we are good parents. Anything else is unacceptable.