Boomers' Little Secret Still Smokes Up the Closet

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Jul 14, 2002.

  1. By John Leland
    Source: New York Times

    For Justin, a history teacher and the father of two teenagers, the moment of drug anxiety came when his children were in elementary school. They had just been to a DARE drug education class and informed him "that it's a totally bad thing to take drugs," he said.
    Though he approved of the overall message, their zeal put him in a fix. Justin, 50, who declined to use his last name, smokes marijuana two or three times a week. What could he tell his children without appearing to condone drug use? "I said, 'But not all drugs are bad, are they?' "

    For Daniel, a freelance writer in North Carolina, the moment came when his son, then 4, smelled marijuana on his clothing. Daniel, 42, did what he felt most people would under the circumstances: he lied, saying it was just smoke from candles. Though his son accepted his lie, the incident nagged at Daniel, who said he smokes marijuana about once a month. "It occurred to me, how much longer can I get away with this?" he said. "Am I going to be open and upfront about it, and is that going to cause some sort of conflict?"

    As anyone who came of age around the smell of marijuana knows, drug use was supposed to follow a passing narrative arc: you had your youthful experimentation, you learned your lesson, you grew up and out of it. But for many, like Justin and Daniel, things have not worked out that way. Years after the battles about drugs with their parents, they are facing another generational hurdle - how to reconcile their marijuana use with the demands of raising their children. "The questions are, how much do you want to continue that lifestyle, and how much do you tell your kid?" said a mother in Westchester County, N.Y. "You don't want to be a hypocrite."

    This is not a ballad of chronic drug abuse and family dysfunction, but in many cases one of moderate users who have managed careers, families and social lives while sneaking an occasional joint. Most say they smoke for the same reasons they always did: to relax, listen to music or socialize. After two or more decades, they see little harm. "We never study those people," said Dr. Roger Roffman, a professor of social work at the University of Washington, where since 1983 he has studied marijuana use. Speaking hypothetically, he likened this group to the majority of drinkers, who do not progress to alcoholism.

    Though statistics involving drug use are notoriously slippery, as many as 1 in 10 American parents of children under 18, or about 6 million people, said they had smoked marijuana in the preceding 12 months, according to a poll conducted last year by RoperASW. One in 20 parents, or about 3 million people, said they had smoked in the preceding month. The poll, sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, included interviews with 1,219 parents. Many people will not tell a stranger about their illegal activity, so the marijuana estimate is probably low. Because the topic involves both illegal marijuana smoking and children, most people interviewed for this article were highly circumspect, often unwilling to use even their first names. One father responded by e-mail:

    "Will call, but I can't let my daughter know. So I will have to find a private moment to talk. Will also have to make sure my parents don't find out.

    "Oh, the irony.

    "The angst."

    With decidedly mixed feelings, many are now repeating the ruses of their adolescence, sneaking out on ledges as they did years ago, wondering what they'll say if they get caught.

    "It was much easier to hide it from my parents," said a Brooklyn professional woman with two preteenage children, who described leaning out over an unsteady window grating to smoke. "I go to great lengths," she said. "I put towels under the door, I use baby powder to hide the smell. If I say I'm going to Costco, my baby sitter knows."

    Another man said he stuck to the tried and true, hiding his weed in the same Rolling Stones album cover he used as a child. As he figures, his children are no more likely to stumble across it there than his parents were.

    Parents, of course, have many secrets from their children, including their finances and the details of their sex lives. And some who smoke tobacco are reluctant to do it in front of the children these days, not wanting to pass on the habit.

    But marijuana use comes with a unique set of conflicted feelings. For many, it still resonates as a triumphal rite of passage and stirs reminders of their own parents' cluelessness.

    Yet even parents who pride themselves on being open with their children on many matters often hide their marijuana use, fearing that they will lose their parental authority or set the wrong example.

    Most say they have no trouble - and see minimal risks - buying marijuana, a misdemeanor. Police officers and courts often look the other way or impose mild penalties, said Dr. Alfred Blumstein, professor of criminal justice at Carnegie Mellon University. "Even if they get arrested, not much is going to come of it," he said.

    Joseph A. Califano, president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, criticized what he sees as a generation refusing to grow up and take responsibility, inflicting its habits on its children.

    "There's a big disconnect in values today," Mr. Califano said. "Parents of the 70's by and large think marijuana is less dangerous than teenagers of the 2000's. Parents of the 70's have mostly grown out of it, while kids see what happens to potheads in their classes."

    In the short term, marijuana can impair memory and judgment, research has shown; the smoke is also carcinogenic.

    Mr. Califano advised that parents be honest about their past use.

    Sam, 49, a Vermont father of two, considers himself on the extreme end of hiding his drug use from his children. If they question him, he said, he doesn't lie, he just ducks the questions. "I talk to my friends all the time about disclosure and honesty," he said. "I have friends that are more forthcoming, but I don't get it: how does talking about their experiences have a positive bearing on what their children should do?"

    The problem for those parents is a sticky one. From their own experiences, many do not consider the occasional joint a great hazard. But they fear their children smoking too often or too early in the hothouse years, when every whim tends to be taken to excess. While they draw a line between moderate use and problem use, they cannot assume their children will do so.

    "I'm hoping I can keep it from them until they're 16, 17 - until they're old enough to deal with it," another mother of two preteenagers said of her own marijuana use. Beyond those critical years, she worried more about her own marijuana future than that of her children. "Am I going to be out there buying nickel bags when I'm 80?" she asked. "My husband has outgrown it."

    Even moderate drug use can put parents in an awkward position with their children, inverting the family roles. "I have to stand up straight and not be goofy," said a New Jersey man named Frank, 50, who has two daughters, 21 and 16. "They say, `Dad, what's up? You're acting stupid.' It's very similar to when I was busted by my parents."

    Though he keeps his infrequent marijuana use a secret, Frank does not worry that his children will follow his example. "My kids are old enough to question my choices," he said. "They see the stoners in school as wastoids. If I told them, they'd say, `That's why you were being weird.' "

    Drug counselors warn that parental use, even in secret, can influence the behavior of children. In a 1999 survey of nearly 600 teenagers in drug treatment, one in five said they had used drugs with a parent.

    Michael Gray, a Los Angeles 16-year-old, described smoking marijuana with his father, a cabinetmaker, at first occasionally, then several times a day. When Michael progressed to methamphetamine and stopped going to school, he resented his father's attempts to discipline him. "I thought he was a hypocrite," Michael said. Now the two are in family drug therapy. "I wish he had been more of a father and told me right off it was bad," Michael said. "We were way too much like friends."

    The question of parental influence is an elusive one. When adolescent drug use doubled during the mid-1990's, after more than a decade of steady decline, a group of researchers working for the government Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration set out to test a theory - that the rise was due to an increase in the number of parents who had smoked marijuana. The researchers combed through surveys from 1979 to 1996 to see whether the children of parents who smoked marijuana, in the past or present, were more likely to try the drug as well.

    The results, available on the agency Web site -- -- revealed a complex pattern of parental influence. Children whose parents had smoked marijuana were indeed more likely to indulge. But after that, things got tricky.

    "Whether the parent smoked marijuana in the past or in the most recent year didn't make any difference," said Dr. Denise B. Kandel, a researcher at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University who lead the group.

    Parental cigarette smoking, past or current, appeared to have a stronger correlation to children's drug use than parental marijuana smoking, Dr. Kandel said. The researchers concluded that parents influence their children not according to a simple dichotomy - by smoking or not smoking - but by a range of attitudes and behaviors, perhaps including their style of discipline and level of parental involvement. Their own drug use was just one component among many.

    "Looking at single influences doesn't work," she said. "Very often when you control for other variables the influence disappears."

    As the first wave of the counterculture ages - watching Paul McCartney approach 64 - some members are facing the next challenge: hiding their marijuana use from their grandchildren. Nearly 100,000 Americans over 60 smoke marijuana occasionally, according to the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, a government study based on interviews with 71,764 people. Again, this estimate may be low.

    One suburban publishing professional with adolescent grandchildren said that in his 60's, he found marijuana a particularly gentle pleasure. But when his grandchildren visit, he goes into deep cover. "I've even taken to rolling cigarettes in front of them, just in case they find a roach."

    His age has led him to some discretion, he said. "I would never smoke in the street," he said. "I could just imagine getting stopped, and my grandchildren reading about it in the paper."

    Even with his grandchildren, though, the game was already more precarious than he figured, he said. When he rolled the cigarette, his grandson, 8, said, "Grandpa, that looks like a joint."

    Source: New York Times (NY)
    Author: John Leland
    Published: July 14, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 The New York Times Company
  2. In reading this story a previous story comes to mind.

    A 92 year old grandmother was turned in by a granddaughter. The grand daughter mistaken the grand mother of smoking a marijuanna cigarette when it was only a hand rolled cigarette. The grandmother was arrested, then later released after an investigation of the grandmother and her house.

    I'll try to find the article on the arrest.
  3. A 92 year old grandmother was turned in by a granddaughter. The grand daughter mistaken the grand mother of smoking a marijuanna cigarette when it was only a hand rolled cigarette. The grandmother was arrested, then later released after an investigation of the grandmother and her house.

    Guess which do-gooder little bitch is gonna get cut out of grandma's will. I hope grandma has plenty to cut her out of.
  4. LoL Crocii true that
  5. man...thats some scary shit...even though you guys joke about it..many families have been torn apart because a child has come home from a school D.A.R.E. presentation and reported mom and pop's grow room or casual smoking habits.

    I know that in Oregon, the school districts have to send out pamphlets announcing any upcoming DARE(or similar antidrug group's) presentations and give parents the option of keeping their child from going to just goes to show how everyone is slowly realising how radical and narrowminded the views of groups like DARE really are...and its good to see that day by day theyre losing more and more control over our children's impressionable minds. Those god damn deceitful shitheads.
  6. fuck man i still have that little pice of paper saying i compleated dare and swore off drugs, now when im high i just look at it and laufgh :smoking:

    ironic i know:hello:
  7. what the hell is D.A.R.E.?? i never had that
  8. ..i hope you were serious..

    DARE is Drug Abuse Resistance Education

    DARE visits schools and students, beginning usually at the young age of 10, and provide them with a pretty biased program about drug abuse and prevention

    And in result after hearing how terrible marijuana is, those impressionable kids end up turning in their toking parents occasionally

    DARE is also government-sponsored..
  9. oh shit.. now i remember.. we were going to have that.. but the cop who was going to talk to us got reassigned to do something else.. so instead they taught us how to play chess..
  10. lol...i dont really have plans on having kids but if i do...they wont be in any stupid fuckin DARE program so propaganda can be taught to them...i mean its a good message but all u gotta do as a parent is tell them drugs are bad

    at my school u had to stay after for DARE so i was like fuck that lol...not wasting my time...even in elementary school i was like this lol

    later in life i hope to be a cop, and after i establish myslef as a good person among my coworkers and bosses i will definetly start to smoke weed again...the first time i toke up as a cop will be the best day of my life...then everything will be all set...and i will most definetly grow my own shit lol
  11. Luckily, D.A.R.E. has lost government support and must now raise money by selling trinkets on the corner. I'm not sure if they are still going to schools, but I have been approached several times by them saying that they lost funding and for me to buy a D.A.R.E. coffee mug.

    I politely tell them that I don't support their organization, but thank you anyway.
  12. Has had friend busted from those Dare courses at the schools including my brother. what NONSENSE that is!!! DARE should be really along the lines of Drugs Are Really Expensive

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