Canadian moms band together to fight cannabis stigma

Published on January 21, 2020 · Last updated July 28, 2020
cannabis heart hand
Tinnakorn Jorruang/iStock

Women with children who also consume cannabis have long complained that they face more stigma than dads who use weed.

In recent months, a series of grassroots organizations have sprung up to provide discussion space for cannabis-friendly mothers and reduce stigma against moms who consume cannabis.

Just before legalization, Vancouver mom Shannon Chiarenza mounted an attack on stigma against mothers who use cannabis when she launched her website Weed Mama, full of information about cannabis resources for parents and women, product reviews, and a discussion community.

Since October 2017, there has been an upsurge of activity by women following in Chiarenza’s wake, all hoping to eroding the stigma around cannabis and motherhood.

In Saskatoon, Natasha Albert experienced criticism as a mother of two who used medical cannabis—so she began recording a podcast, Smoke Rings with Aquarius, which will begin releasing episodes before the end of this month.

She told CTV News treating her depression with cannabis gives her “more drive to be involved with my children.

In Ontario, Kingston single mom Riley Parratt and her friend, Orangeville mom and medical-cannabis user Hollie Quinn, founded the Canadian 420 Moms page on Facebook.

“In this day and age, mommy can have a glass of wine and it’s socially acceptable,” Parratt said. “So should mommy who wants to consume cannabis.”

She said she was bothered by the assumption she could not function as a parent after consuming cannabis. “We’re no different than everyone else. I mean, it just takes the edge off for us.”

Quinn said while coming out as a cannabis user may threaten mothers’ jobs, friends, and family support, one of the most important factors poisoned by stigma is children’s friendships.

“Kids are not allowed to play with other kids, even at the park, because the mother will consume, in her own time, after her kids go to bed.”

But the judgment affects mothers above all, which Quinn underlined. “It is not fair that some moms will get stigmatized because of their use. […] This affects women from all walks of life, and that judgment needs to end.”

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Jesse B. Staniforth
Jesse B. Staniforth
Jesse Staniforth reports on cannabis, food safety, and Indigenous issues. He is the former editor of WeedWeek Canada.
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