As more states adopt either the use of medical or recreational cannabis, more people are talking. It’s funny to hear friends and family talk about their feelings on how the legalization of cannabis may change our world. Well, I smoke pot! So What? Ooh and ahhh now, but you may be shocked to learn that Mom’s for Marijuana has a following of over 500,000 strong on Facebook. These are 500,000+ women, moms that attach their face to a cause that is often regarded as taboo. I view my cannabis consumption similarly to drinking a glass of wine or an espresso. Some people drink wine to relax while others drink caffeine to gain a boost of energy. Cannabis offers many different effects based on the type of product one chooses to consume and the methodology in which they consume it. Smoking creates a different high than eating the product. I consume cannabis to decompress, gain perspective, connect the dots, engage in social conversation, reduce pain and to complete daily tasks. Do you want to join me?

I am a pretty regular consumer which I classify as consuming two to three times a day, which means that I am high around my children. A controversial topic that I keep hearing in the media regarding parents in legalized states is “Do you consume in front of your children?” Personally, I do not, but I would not stand in judgment of someone who did. I take a similar stance to Jane West of Edible Events in that, “I don’t think my kids should watch me smoke a joint or consume any form of like, combustible substances.” When ABC’s Juju Chang asked, “You’re not opposed to being a little bit high in front of your kids?” Her response was “I am… (Sigh) I am hoping no one gets asked this question anymore because no one asks this question about alcohol.” When I consume cannabis I do everything from folding laundry, make dinner, help my children with their homework and hang out and watch TV. My consumption does not alter my behavior in a negative way and if it ever did I would stop.

Let me shed some light on what it is like being a consumer of cannabis from an illegal state. First, I can say that nobody outside of my immediate group of friends who also consume knows that I am a user. Second, obtaining the product is a nightmare and expensive because I have to use a “guy”. Third, I cannot customize the strain that I am getting and some strains produce effects that are better for me than others. Fourth, I feel like I am a criminal even though “weeds” grow in nature.

Once I have my product in hand, I do not feel that I am doing anything wrong by consuming it. In fact, I feel that I have taken charge of my body and applying a drug that makes me a better mother. I do not feel I should have to stop something that has a positive effect on my life even if it is illegal. So yes, I am willing to take a risk every time I purchase product and consume it. I do, however, dream of the day where I can drive down the street and have a comfortable conversation about a product line with my local budtender and leave a shop with product in hand without worry of legal ramifications. Without the ability to relocate my life to Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska or our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., I can say that I commend voters for helping to pave the way.

The act of consuming cannabis does not change regardless of your state. You are not going to spark up in public or chat at the water fountain with your colleague about the new strain of bud that you purchased. Consumption is a personal experience albeit it can be fun to share with a loved one or a group of friends.

What makes me unique as a cannabis consumer? I have a thirst for gaining knowledge of the industry. I want to know everything there is to know about cannabis and the various strains that are new to the world. I am interested in the research and study of cannabis, the business behind cannabis and its applications in order to educate others. The lack of information disseminated through the media regarding the benefits of cannabis is hindering the legalization movement. The only positive thing anyone hears about cannabis is the amount of money the government could collect due to the taxation. People often stop at the word “illegal,” instead of recognizing how it can help people with cancer, seizures, anxiety disorders, mania, muscular dystrophy, obesity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, sleep disorders and so many more. Can you think of at least one person with any of these ailments that could benefit from smoking a joint? Wouldn’t you rather give them a natural “weed” than taking a drug that metabolizes in the liver and produces chemical byproducts that are toxic?

Sure, I am a parent and a self-proclaimed budding cannabis connoisseur living in an illegal state, but it has not stopped me from using its positive effects to better my life. I have consumed cannabis for 18 years both for medical and recreational reasons. I have personally used cannabis for pain, depression, anxiety, chronic insomnia, and PTSD as well as to enhance my creativity, social connections and relaxation. The dream to live in a world of legal cannabis where I could throw a get-together and the only question people ask is “should I consume this outside?” If I lived in a legal state, I would write my name proudly!

Yours Truly,

The Budding Connoisseur