Women are a growing part of cannabis market

Removing the pot-smoking mom stigma

After a long day of carefully prepared lunches, attentive homework nagging and the sometimes frantic running to and from soccer practice or dance class, many moms choose to unwind with a nice glass of wine. 

By July 1, 2018, this staple mommy routine has the potential to transform into a sleekly designed vaporizer, a thoughtfully infused edible or a sexy lubricant to treat yourself right.

Pot-smoking moms may become a more culturally available image, and that should not come as a surprise. Women, the new face of the industry, are quickly becoming one of the fastest growing demographics of cannabis consumers and key disruptors in a typically male-dominated marketplace.

Stephanie Karasick is a cannabis enthusiast, mom and pot entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of local company Strainprint, an app that helps patients track their cannabis use. Karasick has been using cannabis to help with post-traumatic stress disorder–related anxiety and depression for the past three years. Her cannabis use, which helps her function better, no doubt “benefits [her] kids” as a result.

“I’ve been completely open with them, throughout my journey of discovering cannabis. They know that it’s medicine, and they see how it helps me.”

However, outside of the intimacy of their private lives, the family has experienced stigma on a regular basis that relates to general cannabis use, as well as  cannabis use as a mom. 

In a space that is rapidly evolving and presenting new challenges, the Karasick family takes these opportunities to educate and engage in meaningful dialogue with their community. 

Another mom and cannabis user, let’s call her Athena, has also mixed the worlds of mom-preneur and pot-preneur. Athena and her partner own a Toronto-based edibles company that currently operates in the illegal space, and she is a mom to three kids ages two, eight and ten.

“This business has provided us with a lot of opportunity to educate our kids,” she says in reference to a time when a nurse had visited her kids’ school to talk about marijuana use and how it was bad. She used this as an opportunity to provide her kids with accurate, honest and useful information. 

For moms out there looking to explore alternative recreational options, the issue of access to cannabis by children and minors is at the forefront. 

Will open and legal consumption of cannabis by parents lead to cannabis being consumed by children and minors? After all, who doesn’t recall sneaking a sip from their parent’s liquor cabinet as a curious teenager?

This concern is also echoed by the cannabis legislation tabled in April of this year, which emphasizes the need to ensure that cannabis is kept out of the hands of children and minors.

One of the main reasons cited by Prime Minister Trudeau for legalizing cannabis is to restrict its access by children and minors as a legal recreational market provides us with greater opportunity to regulate and restrict access.

Part of this regulation and restriction of access by children and minors is driven by an understanding of cannabis and what it means to engage in a new recreational adult culture.

“Understanding the importance of safe and responsible use is vital, as we move forward” says Irie Selkirk, a mother of two, aged four and 10. Selkirk grew up in a cannabis-positive environment.

She uses her experience and cannabis advocacy work to help mothers in Toronto with cannabis uses, as it relates to motherhood. Selkirk is the founder of the Cannamama Collective of East Toronto, a Facebook group that facilitates moms who use cannabis to connect, ask questions, share experiences without judgment or stigma. The group also meets socially once per month and provides a safe space for moms to build a community.

If you’re a mom and thinking about using cannabis, here are some things to keep in mind:

Educate yourself as there are many cannabis varieties and products available and you should know the differences.

Then educate your children. Cannabis will soon be legal, which does not mean that it’s safe for use by children and minors. It’s important to openly speak of the dangers of cannabis on the developing brain.

Be responsible. Whatever your experience with cannabis in the past, start low and go slow. Be sure not to drive while impaired, and be the example of safe and responsible use for your children.

Finally, safety is paramount. Take all necessary precautions to ensure your cannabis is out of reach of your children. Use a locked storage jar or Stashlogix bag. Lock your stash and make sure your children are not able to abuse your new legally obtained cannabis product in your absence.

Article exclusive to TRNTO