Despite cannabis now being legal for over a year — and edibles hitting provincial stores this coming week — a young Kingston mother says there is still a stigma about pot use and parenting.
That is why she co-created an online group for like-minded mothers.
“We wanted to create a safe space for moms who consume cannabis,” says Riley Parratt.
Parratt is a 25-year-old single mother with a two-year-old daughter.
Parratt and her friend Hollie Quinn, also a young mother, both consume cannabis.
Their message a simple one: there is no shame in smoking pot.
“Honestly, break the stigma,” says Parratt. “In this day and age, mommy can have a glass of wine and it’s socially acceptable.
“So should mommy who wants to consume cannabis.”
Parratt started a Facebook group called Canadian 420 Moms, used as a support system for mothers who celebrate the benefits of the drug and reject the stigmas surrounding parenting and pot use.
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“There’s a stereotype that when you smoke, you can’t function,” says Parratt, “or you can’t maintain a lifestyle.
“We’re no different than everyone else. I mean, it just takes the edge off for us.”
According to Statistics Canada, the number of women using cannabis products is growing.
The agency reports that 14 per cent of women across Canada have used cannabis in the third quarter of 2019 — up two per cent from earlier in the year.
One in eight women use non-medical and medical products or a mix of both.
The online group was launched in November 2019 and has grown to over 1,700 members across Canada.
In the last 30 days, 98 new mothers have joined the group, and those numbers are expected to rise.
“We have women that join and they’re like, ‘oh my gosh, this group is awesome’, and they add their friends,” Parratt says.
“It’s been word of mouth.”
An added advantage to local members is that several online mothers meet in person for planned events, like Scavenger Hunts and Mom’s Day Out.
“Now that it has become legal, out and about talking to other moms, if it is brought up, you notice that some moms say, ‘Oh yeah, I indulge a bit,'” Parratt says.
“They are not as afraid to say it, where I think before it became legal they were kind of like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to say that.”
For now, Parratt says women are speaking up.
It’s a trend reflected on a Canadian online shopping website.
According to Caddle, 3.4-million Canadian women are interested in how cannabis will help them relax.