Essential Protections for Parental Cannabis Use in Maryland

Parental cannabis use could stand to have some guidelines. Why? Because our community talks about de-stigmatizing and having a cultural dialogue. But doesn’t dive into the nitty gritty of what protections aren’t in place.

In this case, the spotlight is on social services and how cannabis use can separate families. And that’s an inescapable truth for Black and Latino families. Our struggles don’t stop with incarceration and unfair business practices.

Child protective services and the justice system can be too trigger-happy with taking children away from parents of color who consume cannabis.

In an endeavor to make sure everyone is protected with decriminalization and medical cannabis use, here’s what we’ll cover:

  • The importance of legal protections for parents
  • What de-stigmatizing parental cannabis use means
  • Tips for parents for discreet use and proper storage
  • Parenting while medicated and what that means for your brood’s future with cannabis


Now let’s get into it.


Importance of legal protections

Legalization does not mean protections are extended to medical cannabis patients. And for parents, this means they may find themselves fighting for their livelihood and children.

Black and Latino parents who consume cannabis are at a higher risk of losing their children to the system, specifically in New York. And the courts failing to prioritize science over morality when making legal decisions.

Decisions that can lead to a lot of heartache for cannabis-consuming parents. This is an oversight in states with legal cannabis. There’s the exception like Massachusetts: parental protections were in their legalization ballot. Courts and social services claim cannabis cannot be the primary or sole basis for legal action. But clearly that’s proving not to be the case.

Image of gavel next to cannabis leaf and small pile of money
Image courtesy of Krisanapong Detraphiphat


De-stigmatizing parental cannabis use

De-stigmatizing cannabis is a matter of life and death for parents who are medical patients. They run the risk of losing their children and livelihood in court because of assumptions.

Judges, lawyers, Child Protective Services: they continue to lean on outdated thinking that stoners are useless lumps full of irresponsibility and neglect. And the system failed to lift the weighted belief that cannabis is a threat like alcohol-use.


Ways to discreetly use, proper storage cannabis and the Talk

If you’re a parent, you’re familiar with the need to keep your kids safe. So of course, keep in mind how to keep your medicine out of reach. And that your kid is full of questions.

Will you be open about your consumption? What does that mean for your child? Especially when they’re learning about the “wrongs” of marijuana in school?

This Vice article recommends that you have the conversation as early as possible, as often as possible, and for you to be as open.

Despite how uncomfortable it may be, keeping your child informed and being patient with their questions about the plant may help them explore it responsibly when they’re of legal age. Or if they become patients.

It is your job to introduce the complexity of the plant to them and strip it of morality. And when you talk to them, emphasize that it’s only for adults–unless your child’s health requires it.


Parenting while medicated

You want to time when you consume cannabis when you don’t have to supervise your child. Have a plan in place for emergencies, such as this couple who lives near the ER and are ready to call an Uber if necessary.

There are parents who do report that playing with their kids while high makes the experience all the more delightful. Collectively, they found their ability to bond with their children improve. Over 200 parents shared their perspectives smoking with the Guardian.


The Outro

If mom and dad can crack a beer open without consequence, we need to push our community to learn to treat cannabis the same.

Have you butt heads with someone about being a responsible parent and cannabis patient?

Share this with them and your peers so we can normalize cannabis consumption for parents.

Alaina Dorsey is a freelance cannabis content marketing writer and strategist based in Baltimore, MD. For dispensaries and online cannabis businesses, she writes the chilliest customer-focused content that educates and engages. Quirks available upon request at

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