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Signs of Normalization: Adult Children & Their Parents Shop for Cannabis

Shopping for Marijuana with Family Cannabis Now
Photo Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now

Joint Opinions

Signs of Normalization: Adult Children & Their Parents Shop for Cannabis

As cannabis normalizes, parents and their adult children are starting to have more conversations about it. I often see this first hand in my role as the director of education at The Apothecarium.

“Hey Sara, this is my mom and this is her first time in a dispensary,” a patient says.

The patient smiles and we both turn to her mom who nervously smiles back at me.

In order to better support these patients and others who might be wondering about the etiquette around shopping for cannabis with family members,  I conducted some research, but did not find much. I did discover articles on parents who medicate, ones questioning whether or not parents should smoke cannabis with their adult children and some cautionary tales of adult children who live in their parents basements, play video games and heavily medicate on the regular. Why there are not more conversations about the normalization of cannabis use among responsible, adult family members?

In the past few years I’ve noticed a trend of more multi-generational family visits at dispensaries. The most common scenario has been an adult child bringing their parent into a dispensary for the first time to help pick out products for pain, sleeplessness, anxiety or a critical illness. One patient brought her mother and auntie and had to translate the consultation while they sampled various topicals for their arthritis. A lot of times the parents have no experience with cannabis or it’s been a really long time since they last medicated. In some ways these interactions are an example of the shift in relationships between parents and children, as we get older roles change and where once the parent was the guide, now the child steps up — offering advice for relief and supporting the parent in trying something new.

Also not uncommon (and probably a more well-known scenario) is having an adult child bring their parent in to the dispensary after finding out they will be undergoing treatment for a serious illness such as cancer. There can be some anxiety in the first visit around getting too high and sometimes about the perceived stigma about the plant itself. The child plays an important support role along with the patient consultant in helping create a safe space to choose appropriate medicines that will provide relief.

Alternatively, there are other patients where both the parent and child are well-versed in cannabis and see visiting a dispensary together as a bonding experience that they enjoy doing along with whatever other activities they have planned for the day. It’s a chance to spend time with each other and share thoughts on what medicines work for them. A father and son who are regular patients at The Apothecarium often come in together after meeting up for lunch or running errands together. They joke with each other as they pick out flowers at the counter and discuss the day. These interactions at the dispensary are helping normalize cannabis and creating powerful waves in our movement.

TELL US, have you ever shopped for cannabis with a family member?



  1. Shadar

    December 18, 2016 at 9:32 am

    This is one of the better articles I’ve seen on parents and grown kids both visiting cannabis shops, but for those of us in WA or CO, where shops have been open for some time, this is not uncommon.

    I go with my kids to get booze at the store, and we shop at our favorite bud shops on the way home. In fact, in my area of WA state, I often find that most of the shoppers in the bud shop are over 50.

    For grown children who have been hiding weed from their parents for many years, legalization means normalization, and it can truly be regarded now like booze. But some grown children have trouble getting over that last hurdle in their thinking about cannabis.
    It’s usually easier for parents.

  2. H Crow

    December 17, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    Great article! Yes, I was fortunate to have my daughter’s knowledge and experience to help guide me through my first couple of dispensary trips. She really was able to show me how our medical program works and give me some tips on terminology.
    The first couple times visiting a dispensary is completely overwheming and can be a bit intimidating to some, my daughter really helped me feel comfortable. I’m a blessed mom to have such a close and honest relationship with my children.
    My entire family supports my cannabis use, they’ve seen first hand the great health and mental health benefits this incredible plant gives.

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