I put them on my calendar and use a sticky note in my car," Diamond said. "We have to use cues and technology, because ultimately, the brain is too flawed and memory is too frail." My parents were stoners and that’s why I don’t want marijuana legalised. A public referendum on legalising cannabis for personal use may be held by the 2020 election as part of a possible agreement between the Green and Labour parties. One mother shares her own story to explain why she’s desperately hoping legalisation won’t happen.
It’s a highly unpopular opinion for a 30-something year-old parent to have. I am the odd one out of almost all of my friends and my family: I don’t smoke marijuana and I don’t want it legalised. When I smell marijuana – which is fairly often despite it being an illegal substance in New Zealand – I feel sick to my stomach. I often break into a cold sweat and it can sometimes, on vulnerable days, trigger a panic attack. The smell alone takes me back to that childhood of lazy neglect. My mother was a stay-at-home mother and occasionally worked.
In the car on the way to school my mother would smoke her “special cigarettes”. I have no idea what impact all of the second-hand smoke has had on me. In the evenings my father would come home stinking of weed. Then he would smoke with my mother when he got home. I never had a bed-time story as they were usually asleep on the couch or zoned out in front of the television. I was often left at school or weekend activities for hours on end because they’d forget to pick me up. They forgot birthdays so regularly I just got used to not having birthday parties. I never invited anyone over because I was so embarrassed. Stoned people insist they don’t change when they smoke. They insist that alcohol is “worse” as if that even matters at all. They promise you that a joint isn’t even noticeable. They still say that to me and my siblings, we who spent our whole childhood trying to hold conversations with parents who were constantly high. I have never smoked willingly because I can see how idiotic people are when they’re high. They’re boring, morose and slow – or worse, frightening in their inability to interact with others. When you’re a child and the person who is meant to protect you is like this, it’s terrifying. One of my prevailing thoughts as a child was “Why am I am so terrible that my parents have to get high to be around me?” My whole life I have tried to change that voice in my head. When you’re a child of a stoner parent you constantly think ‘Am I so boring that they need drugs to interact with me? Am I such an awful child that to even bear to spend time with me they can’t be sober?’ I have talked to parents as a parent myself and heard them say having a spliff is just like having a glass of wine. I have held my tongue, knowing their child will know that they’re high. And that child might be developing the same internal monologue I had. When they complain about “other” druggie parents I wonder if they ever consider that they’re no different. That the only thing separating them is that for some reason we have allowed the people who enjoy marijuana to decide it’s harmless. I wonder what their children would say if we asked them whether marijuana should be legalised?
I lived in constant fear that my parents would be arrested. I should have realised that because they weren’t brown it was unlikely the police would look at them.
They had power and influence so it was OK for them to smoke.