Prop. 19: One Mom’s Stance on Legalizing Pot

What luck that California has put legalization of pot on the ballot in November. I don’t actually smoke it at the moment, although I have inhaled, usually immediately prior to an embarrassing coughing fit. Both sides of my family have an interesting history with drug: my mom not only scored some for my grandma when she was going through chemo, but nearly got my sister in trouble during her government background check. My mom thought she’d do my sister a favor and tell them she’d never done drugs, while my sister knew honesty was the best policy so admitted some past use as a teenager. She passed anyway. My husband’s family, on the other hand, has a history of alcoholism and he himself has had a drug problem in the past, although it’s been nearly 30 years now.

So as a mom, the wife of a recovering drug addict and as a child of liberal 70’s parents, where do I stand on Proposition 19?

When I was camping over Labor Day weekend, having a glass of wine and confessing to a fellow mom how nice this “cocktail hour” was since nobody at my house drinks, she asked how we were handling talking to the kids about drugs and alcohol, given my husband’s history. We can see they’ve inherited my husband’s athletic skills (whew), but we hope they can avoid the addict gene that runs through his family. Just in case, he has never allowed them a even a small taste of anything alcoholic. My boys are only six and seven, but we’re pretty open with them, and I’m sure some would say too open. I have one of my favorite childhood books, “Where Did I Come From?” ready and waiting for their questions, but no books on how to talk to your kids about drugs. That doesn’t stop by husband though, he’s already started the conversation about their risks. I’m not sure if that conversation contributed to my son’s recent dare during our first (and likely last) game of “truth or dare” – “Mommy, I dare you to not drink any alcohol for a year.”

I haven’t been part of this conversation, but I believe he’s using the South Park creed – “Don’t do drugs kids. There is a time and place for everything. It’s called college.” (Thanks Chef!). Actually, my own parents didn’t really care what we did as long as we got good grades and didn’t endanger anyone, but still, given our history, you might think I was against Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana, and potentially make it easier to obtain. Well, I’m not, and neither is my husband. He’s not quite as excited about getting to vote to legalize the stuff this November. Don’t get me wrong, I have very little faith it will pass, we’re the state that wanted to prevent same-sex marriage after all. If a miracle happens and it does pass, the anti-drug crusaders will not go down without a fight (side note, I am glad of the fight to protect everyone’s right to marry.) Not sure if the is an “only in California” thing, but we’ve got a group of retired police and judges on the legalization side. We also have them against, of course.

We believe what will keep the kids the safest is to educate and inform them, and be honest about our pasts when the time is right. I’m glad my husband sees me as a good example, someone who can drink in moderation, and the few times I’ve done drugs was mostly a lot of fun. They have the potential to cause problems, but really, what doesn’t? I think legalizing it can only make the world a safer place, and that’s what I want for all kids.

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