Marijuana Prohibition and Fatherhood 2008: A Father's Day Message From NORML

By George Rohrbacher, NORML Board Member

It was the fall of 1969, about six weeks after Woodstock, my senior year at the University of Denver. I had just moved into an apartment two blocks off campus. Tuesday, my first day in the new apartment, I’d borrowed a frying pan from the next-door neighbor, a young woman, tall and shapely with long honey-brown hair. She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. I’d stood out on her porch for several minutes with the borrowed frying pan in hand, stunned.
The next day, on Wednesday evening, I looked up to see someone knocking on my un-curtained living room window—a short guy with wild eyes and a goatee. There was a big, big smile on his face. He held up a nice fat joint pinched between his thumb and forefinger. With the other forefinger he pointed next door. My gorgeous new next-door neighbor had sent him. She wanted to meet me! Did I go? Hell yes!! No one need ask me twice after such inducements.
Minutes later, in her apartment, we fired up that doobie. We had an unbelievably fun time together. Ann, my new neighbor, was not only good looking, but she was smart, interesting, and friendly, too—as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. To my eyes, Ann glowed like a homing beacon. I walked her to class on Thursday and wrote her a poem. On Friday, we flew to Seattle to meet her parents. A little over a week later, I asked her to marry me—that was 38 years and many pounds of pot ago.
We were married in June of 1970, standing on a hill watching a sailboat race in Puget Sound. Six years later, the first of our four children was born and with him came the start of decades of parental responsibilities. I found Fatherhood to be one of the very best things to ever happen in my life, except perhaps for Grand fatherhood. The marathon challenge of raising children was exactly what Ann and I were on this earth to do. Our three sons and daughter are now 25-to-33-years old. They are the recent graduates of Yale, Lafayette, Colgate, and Cornell. Three of our four children also competed in Division I athletics; and all have graduated from the college they started at, and within four years, too. Two are married and currently Ann and I have four grandchildren.
Regardless that our marriage was a product of the ‘60’s—flower power and all that—I turned out to be a strict and loving parent. We farm and are in the cattle business. We live on a ranch three miles from our next-door neighbors. When our kids were growing up with no TV, or cable, or Internet to sop up time and attention—we were like families of an earlier era, we talked to each other instead. Our children all learned to read long before they went off to school—because in our family, you read a book if you were bored—or went out to play, or invented a game. Zero time was spent hanging out at the Mall. No school grade lower than a “B” was ever acceptable at our house. And, of course, while living on a farm, there were always plenty of chores to do. Mealtimes at our house were always together. My wife, Ann, and I saw chief among our many jobs as parents was the gradual hand-off, to our kids, of the reigns that controlled their own lives—and we tried to make that hand-off at the very earliest time possible. We were here on this planet to be their parents, not their friends; our job was to prepare them to fly away. We pushed plenty of extra curricular activities: 4-H, sports, etc. Burning off childhood’s energy properly builds strong kids and is the key to every parent’s sanity. At least two sports each per child was our prescription. If not sports then, theater or band. Our simple policy with kids and drugs: NONE. No Beer, Booze, or Wine. NONE. No prescription drugs, no Pot, no Pop—and of course, no Tobacco. The one thing that sets us off from most other parents was we never allowed our kids Caffeine in any form, none. We’ve never let soda pop into our home, though, we do keep tea and coffee to re-supply visiting adult addicts. And, surprise—our four kids, as adults, aren’t addicted to caffeine today. This was our parental drug program: Leave all drugs alone. Be a kid when you are a kid, you are going to have plenty of time to be an adult for the rest of your life.
Another word about the ubiquitous CAFFEINE, America’s one and only true “gateway drug”(if there is such a thing): Caffeine is now available in caffeinated candy and so-called “energy drinks” that are really nothing but sweetened “drug drinks.” Espresso shops are on every corner for a shot of “mini-meth”. Children don’t need any damn caffeine, ever. And kids sure don’t need the 12 teaspoons of sugar and/or corn syrup per glass or the swirl of industrial chemicals that pop is made from—wake up America, this isn’t food for young growing bodies. Young brains and psyches have plenty of internal challenges without “getting a buzz on” in the process. The maturation of the human neurology is a slow and delicate process and psychoactive drugs have no business there. Getting high, in any form, should be treated just like driving a semi-truck or skydiving; it is a potentially hazardous undertaking reserved ONLY FOR ADULTS.
The majority of the people I know who have had real problems with alcohol and drugs got started young—usually sneaking their folk’s booze or prescription drugs when they were 13 or 14 years old. Really bad habits easily get started then, before the competing good habits are firmly rooted. My wife and I were very frank and open with our kids, from the very earliest ages, about the dangers of drugs—about the heroin, cocaine, and alcohol induced nightmares of two of Ann’s youngest siblings, the DWIs that Grandpa got, or the Uncle that had to be lead, in an alcoholic stupor, off to bed every night, or the another Uncle arrested for drunk and disorderly who also got picked up for a DWI and had to call cross-country from jail to arrange for babysitting for his child that he’d left home alone.
As an example of the prophylactic effects of this straight-forward approach had on our children, this metered but raw, unfiltered family reality—one of our sons, because of the alcoholic problems within our large extended family, made a secret pledge to himself not to drink alcohol until he was 21—a promise he kept, while his peers, America’s under-aged college kids, slurped up over 1/5th of our nation’s annual booze consumption. A toxically drunk roommate at Yale pleaded to our son, “Please, don’t let me die…please, don’t let me die…” That roomie lived, but several of our daughter’s schoolmates didn’t, in an alcohol-related disaster at Colgate. My parental observation after seeing our kids go through a total of 16 years of undergraduate education is that ALCOHOL is by far the most dangerous drug on American college campuses—nothing else is even close. At the same time, the evidence continues to show that the worst danger of using pot is simply being arrested for it.
Ann and I both come from large families. Our combined siblings and their spouses (first and second choices) total 29 people, baby-boomers all. We all grew up in the ‘60’s, and, as a group, more than any other previous generation of Americans, we sampled from the full menu of drugs and alcohol. Well, now 38 years later, which substance has proved to be the most dangerous drug for this sample group of 29 baby-boomers? BOOZE wins, hands down, as America’s most dangerous drug! What was our family’s drug wreckage caused by alcohol over the last four decades? Eight of my brother-in-laws and sister-in-laws, nearly 1/3 of our group, have ended up with severe alcohol problems requiring intervention of some type. No one in this entire group of 29, my children’s baby-boomer aunts and uncles, had similar problems with marijuana.

As part of the larger effort to protect our kids while they were growing up in a very rural area (and I do mean rural, until two years ago there wasn’t a single traffic light in our entire county), it was best for all concerned that I be extremely quiet and stealthy about my marijuana use—it was for my children’s safety, so the state or local cops didn’t rob them of a parent by arrest. Our kids are grown and gone now. But today, my primary parental job of protecting my children has changed. Now to best protect my grown children and grandchildren; I must get loud and active and help to change America’s insane, destructive, and counter-productive marijuana laws before one of my offspring or their friends gets caught in this legal meat grinder.

My wife, Ann, during all her child-bearing and rearing years, for our children’s safety used no drugs whatsoever, I mean, rarely even an aspirin—while at the same time, I evolved, leaving alcohol behind entirely, I evolved into a cannabis-only man.
As they were growing up, with all this frankness over the drug problems of aunts and uncles, did my kids know their Dad was using marijuana? Sure, you bet they did—but it wasn’t until they figured it out on their own when they were older. I didn’t use pot in front of them.
Every day I went out to check the cows or hiked into the woods to get high—very much like the millions of middle-aged suburban moms and dads who will be out willfully walking their dogs tonight, walking along, feeling their cannabis in private. But inside families there are very few real secrets that can stay covered for long. So, no matter how secretive I was being about my marijuana use, the kids eventually knew it—plus, come on, they’d seen pictures of their Dad during the ‘60s in the family photo album, and they also could probably could smell it occasionally on my breath. As for my own views on the subject of marijuana—I was silent about them, completely unlike my openness in any other area of my life.

Here I was, an honest, ethical man, devoted to his wife and children, a tax-paying involved citizen, law-abiding in every way, every way except for one—I absolutely refused to let the government tell me I couldn’t use cannabis. But as my kids grew up, I never defended marijuana to them, I just stood quietly by and let the state propaganda machine do its worst, and I trusted that my kids would be able sort out the truth when they got older.

By 1980, the government started confiscating farms and homes all over the country for the growing even small amounts of pot. I stopped raising my own marijuana for the safety of our farm and my family. I’d practically killed myself during very tough economic times during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s holding on to our family farm of 1,100 acres. I wasn’t about to let some over-zealous cop steal our farm over a couple ounces of weed! I started buying my marijuana on the black-market like everyone else and paying that black-market price. For the last 30 years, I’ve been a farmer too cautious to grow his own.
I love the wonderful feeling of well being that the ingestion or inhalation of cannabis vapors gives to me. The active ingredients, the cannabinoids, lubricate my brain in some marvelous and non-toxic way, releasing torrents of thoughts from which I get to dipnet the most interesting. Getting high, sitting on a rock or tree stump out in the woods, communing with the natural world, is a form of sublime and holy meditation for me—something I have done joyously and reverently for nearly forty years now and something I hope to continue doing for the next forty years. Humanity has been cultivating marijuana for its psychoactive effects since the dawn of agriculture. For many thousands of years the Hindus have used the psychoactive properties of cannabis in seeking the spiritual side of life on this earth. They believe cannabis to be a holy sacrament, expressly given to humanity for our use—a similar view can be found in the Bible, on page one, Genesis: 1:29-31: God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is on the face of all the earth…To you it will be meat”(cannabis seeds are 33% protein)…and God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
But what about the Partnership for a Drug Free America, etc.? What a sad sick joke these self-righteous, government-funded groups are in our over-caffeinated, pill-popping, alcohol-addled society. America’s athletes and racehorses are on steroids, our society is saturated, dripping with drugs of every description, prescription and otherwise, with more coming on line every day (there are reportedly 400,000 prescription and over-the-counter ‘drugs’ available in America). Every trip to the family doctor is expected to end with a prescription written for some magic substance.
Well, in this environment, what should you tell your kids?

My universal drug safety rule of thumb: 1) avoid all drugs that are toxic and have an easily achievable poisonous dose, 2) also avoid all drugs that give you a hangover and/or withdrawal symptoms. (Cannabis, of course, causes neither; it is truly nature’s gift to humanity, the safest of all psychoactive and therapeutic substances), and 3) Stick to non-toxic natural psychoactive substances.

With our kids all grown up now, all gone from the nest, what about my marijuana-aided walks from years ago? Do I still do them? You bet, every chance I get—at least 5-times a week. I learned something during all those trips out to the woods to get high when the kids were at home: Those walks are very good for my heart, very good for my chronic back pain and bum leg, and very very good for my spirits. Hiking up Badger Mountain to see the mists rising out of Swale Canyon and to hear a red-tailed hawk calling out to me…Or, to see the Sunrise, or Sunset…For some reason, walking, and stretching just works better for me on ganja. I enjoy it more. I appreciate it more. I do it more often. Now, as a farmer pushing 60-years old, I still find myself doing a lot of the very same physical labor I was doing when I was 25-years old. Luckily for me, I live in Washington State; a medical marijuana state after the voters (by a wide margin) trumped our state’s politicians by voter referendum in 1998.
As I see it, the prime ingredients of a long and happy life are good-loving, exercise outdoors, whole grains, fruit, and vegetables, beef and seafood, fresh air, pure spring water, and marijuana.
Our children have all now grown into fine young adults, what do I have to say to them now about marijuana? What will I say to my grandchildren, when they are old enough to have this conversation?
Here it is:

Father’s Day 2008My Dear Ones,
Marijuana has been proven one of the safest therapeutically active drugs known to mankind. I have used it with little or no harm for 40 years. My mind still finds cannabis fun and enlightening after decades of inter-cranial adventures, and, as an adult, should you choose to employ a drug for such purposes, marijuana is the only drug I would recommend. For me, pot is fun and is very easy to walk away from, if need be. Also, cannabis possesses healing properties I’d ever dreamed or suspected possible. And as I continue to age, and I require more healing from my sports and work-related injuries, trusty cannabis helps me maintain my quality and love of life.
Much Love,
Dad (and now Grandpa)

15 years ago my daughter asked me for the truth, the whole truth on this subject. I avoided giving her an answer then, and have been ashamed of myself ever since. Here it is Sweetheart, better late than never.

Since Nixon was president, there have been 20 million Americans arrested for marijuana, casualties of our government’s war on weed. It’s time for America to wake up and fix this problem, it’s time to tax and regulate marijuana. Stop the pot war now! Support NORML & contribute.

0 thoughts

  1. Thank you for writing a truly salient article regarding your personal history. I feel rejuvenated knowing that you are a member of the human race and have lived the life that you have. I am also truly grateful that you are giving your time to the Norml board of trustees and promoting a cause that is long overdue for acknowledgement by the establishment. May you proceed into your later years with the certitude that you made the finest contributions, with your family and philosophy of life, to humanity that an individual could render.

  2. i am a 49 year old father and share every word you have written. TOTALLY drug free except for daily cannabis since age 20. we have raised 2 excellent boys , 36 and 21. the 21 is a senior at embry riddle university to be an aviation engineer. my cannabis never affected them negatively, ever. they are open minded, progressive successful men with great women in their lives.
    On a sadder note if you go to the canorml website and read the eastern calif district forfiture article, I am featured ther as to what this terrorist govt has done to me. read it and get back to me if you want,
    mike lombardo

  3. I really enjoyed this read. It truly describes the horrendous actions of the government and defends marijuana with nothing but the plain truth.

  4. Mr.Rohrbacher I just wanted to let you know that your article has inspired me as a young adult and parent.I hope that when the day comes that my children ask me about marijuana I can live up to the challenge and pass my love and respect for such a usefull plant on to a new generation!

  5. Congratulations on putting a wonderful philosophy into action. And on a great piece of writing.

  6. Thank You very much George. This read is exactly what I look for when I navigate onto the pages of NORML. I to believe in many of your ways, and was brought up with many of them myself. I can’t wait to be a father some day, and pass on my beliefs of marijuana.
    I think I may even pass this on to my father, as he too was once a smoker.
    Happy Fathers Day…..

  7. Very good article! I wish that we can all enjoy legal marijuana one day within our lifetimes! Its great to know that states like California are headed in the right direction. Thank god for that!!! Now if I can only move back there from where I am now! (Texas) Texas is one backward ass state for sure! And they will probably be the LAST state in the union to approve of medicinal marijuana,But you never know,…If we could only put it on a ballot one day.
    Im moving back to CA. As soon as I can!

  8. Dear Mr Rohrbacher,
    Having read your Father’s Day comments – I want to express my wholehearted agreement with you.
    I envy you your clearly fabulous family (congratulations on a difficult job well done) and for your well-written views on a subject dear to the hearts of people all over the world (I’m in the UK).

  9. Really nice story! Were are these walks your talkin about? I love hikeing in the woods. I went to one HempFest upstate somewere. Awsome time!! People comin up with local outdoor batch’s from the season. We went like 2 Octobers ago. Really a sick time, outdoor tents, wild fire wood to keep warm lol. I was filthy, there were no showers, the bathrooms clogged up lol, and it was just absolutly perfect really. lol… Peace and Pot!! TG4N

  10. This is a story of government opression run amok. It is repeated millions of times every day. The circumstances may vary slightly but the effect is the same. Millions of people in this country suffer the seperation and isolation from their families and children because of draconian, hypocritical, insane laws against cannabis. Just as Eisenhower warned us. The military industrial complex has a strangle hold on us. How in heavens name does that have any connection to this subject???? It is as plain as the nose on your face if you open your eyes. The drug war has become BIG BUSINESS. The survielence equipment, the police gear, the advertising, the entire propganda machine. The oppression and control of the citizenry sought by radical fascists is aided by the drug war. The pharmaceutical companies seeking to rape the consumer want to own its curative properties. They can’t patent the plant so they manipulate its genes or create derivitives that they can patent. All the while their other prescription drugs kill 30,000 – 50,000 people per year. In this country we have a bar-room or booze store on nearly every corner fueling the 60,000 + deaths every year from drunk driving and other alchohol related stupidities. We have police departments busting people for smoking weed when our prisons are bursting from overcrowding. The entire prison industry feeds off of this constant stream of pot smokers or growers. The prison system has become BIG BUSINESS as well. The push towards privatization of prisons is the fascist tool that will only increase the suffering. What better prisoner for this fascist prison industry to profit from than a non violent compliant prisoner; a pot head. They get paid same from our tax dollars for a pot head as they do for a violent noncompliant trouble maker. If you made your money from encarcerating people which one would you prefer???? The self righteous delusional society of religious extremists, alchoholics and fascist psychos are manipulating the constitution to their twisted dream of control. I am deprived of the one gift of nature that makes me feel relaxed and happy once in a while because of these fascist laws. I work hard. I pay my taxes. I take care of my family and my neighbors. I don’t steal. I don’t rob banks. I don’t drive while intoxicated. I’m a decent human being. Why is this government invading my privacy and persecuting me? America needs to smarten up. We now have more people in prison than any country on earth including Russia and China. I’d say we have a severe problem of denial. Leave pot smokers alone they aren’t hurting you.

  11. .
    Excellent viewpoint on all drugs.
    Your family is very fortunate. If they had been born in my family they might have found themselves being poisoned and harassed by gang stalkers while other family members took bribes to help.
    Farm sounds great too.

  12. Thank you, George, for allowing the rest of us to hear your thoughts. As a new father, I have been struggling with how I will approach this subject – honesty, or secrecy. Will I be a hypocrite if I choose secrecy? Will I ruin my family if I choose honesty. Clearly, governmental policy has weighed heavily on the matter and I again thank you for a well thought out roadmap for the delicate topic of marijuana and parenthood.

  13. My kids (3 families, 2 boys 2 girls, 3,5,28,38) always knew that I used cannabis. They were told its is for adults not kids, and when they grew up it was something nice that we could share. They learned that alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs were harmful. They were told that the government was wrong and had made a stupid mistake because it causes harm to good people. Like George, my older kids have grown up to be wonderful, successful humans and parents. On 420, when I took my young boys to rallies to fight to legalize the medicine, the 3 year old wanted to know if he should bring his sword. I told him no, we fight with knowledge and truth.

  14. About all I can say is…amen. And, our stories sound very, very similar, although my husband and I are a little younger and my husband was recently busted for growing his own for personal use. We have two teenagers and were luckily spared the house and kids being taken away. We are still going through the court system but have so far been relatively blessed. But, I am becoming more active in the fight. Your writing is so true and reflective of so many. I think I’ll pass it on. Thanks. Vickie Rhule

  15. Excellent. While I disagree with the extent you have gone to about caffeine. For me personally the combination of an ice cold Coke when cotton mouth sets in is the best. You hike I love to sail. While at the helm on a hot day my beverage is go old H2O. However, when the anchor is dropped and the sails stowed away it is time to light a bowl and pop open a Coke.
    You slam alcohol and I agree it is the most dangerous recreational drug of all. It is far harder to control. There is as Billy Sunday used to say a demon in alcohol. It frequently makes you quick tempered. But the biggest danger of alcohol is it tell your brain to drive fast. Nothing in our everyday society is more dangerous than our overall attitudes towards driving, be it speeding or driving big hulking four-wheel drive vehicles just because you can. As a farmer I bet you have several high powered vehicles to get where you need to go on that farm or haul hey or pull stumps, etc. However I have a neighbor who just bought a SUV because her daughter was “just getting to big” for her compact Pontiac. It didn’t go over very well considering we used to have two kids in car seats and a ’72 VW Super Beetle. This so typifies our American attitude.
    I began using cannabis like you in the seventies. I never smoked in front of my kids until when he was twenty-one I smoked with my son. Today if I was able i would have cannabis around all the time. I am a polio survivor. In my youth I threw off my braces and led a full life that included sports of all kinds. I spent something like fifteen years as a chef/restaurant manager. By my late twenties pain had become an unwelcomed daily companion. I was forty-five when finally the doctors decided that I needed drugs to manage my pain. I don’t mind advertising Coke but I won’t list the Big Pharm drugs I take. They do make it more possible to endure the pain of a broken muscular skeletal system. They don’t come close to the relief I can achieve/enjoy if I break the law and use cannabis. Since late 2006 I have been actively engaged in the fight to legalize marijuana. If not for everyone then for everyone with chronic pain and a host of other ailment symptoms that cannabis can relieve.
    Please keep writing about the dangers of everyday subtances versus the safety of cannbis. For centuries people have used it to free their psyche or ease their pain or allow them to continue their aids or cancer treatment. But most of all keep speaking truth be it the larger readership of the internet or the young people in your life. Cannabis – Safe for adults but not for children.

  16. Amen! I’m seriously bothered that I failed my UA and no longer have a job because I explore my mind, heal my soul, and fix my ailments with marijuana. I can’t even count on one hand how many times I’ve put myself and others in danger because of alcohol. I wish America could get on the right track. Maybe someone will wake up and see that our economy would boost if the government would just smoke a doobie themselves.

  17. Norml and George, I could not have said it better:) Thanks, for the inspiring message and I will share it with my love ones. Regards, Paul

  18. Well said George!
    I commend you on your responsibility.
    If people only knew how many and who smokes pot, they would be shocked.
    Joanne Gilmar
    Qualicum Beach BC

  19. Mr. Rohrbacher,
    Thank you. Your essay has stolen the words right from my mouth. Like you, I also am a father and it pains me to have this secret. I am very active in my children’s lives; scouts, baseball, swimming, etc.Yet at the same time, my wife and I have this “dark secret” that we both know our kids are way to smart to fall for forever. Honestly I’m at a loss for words after reading your essay other than to say thank you for letting me no that there are many people out there just like you and me who struggle with this battle everyday, worrying whether or not its all worth the havoc that could be swarmed on us in just a matter of minutes.
    I’d like to help the cause, but let me tell you, I have no extra money to donate. I can however, make the time to donate myself. What can I do to help?
    Eric R

  20. Were about the same age& we have the same All American Thoughts….as our forefathers..these leader Cronies ..of today, follow the idiot trail..of cash supporters…just think what would happen if they curbed their legal, lethal products…less need for doctors…and the many avenues that feed through the effects of lethal, abusive legal drugs…Let alone the side effects of Every prescribed pharmacutical drug…this bush administration a takeover of Adolph Hitler..prbably worse..Free the Weed!
    They know the Direct benefits of the entire plant…the Dopes are in Washington..or law enforcement..less crime…more tax revenue…can’t have that..its what the People want

  21. That was Beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. I have not hidden marijuana from my son and as a result I havent seen him for over three years, while the rest of his family around his age are on some kind of prescription patch with ridlin or some other mind altering drug. All my friends hide it from their children and look down on me for my decision, while I dont agree with, but understand the lies they have decided to tell their children. They lie in the name of good instead of telling the truth and defending what is right. While I dont want to see anyone go to jail, it is hard to watch perpetuated lies get bigger and bigger and the truth get smaller and smaller. I am going to send this to all my friends. Thanx for your courage and keep on fighting the good fight.
    Professor Hempinstead!

  22. Any drug, including marijuana, in excess, is going to be harmful to the individual. Marijuana isn’t likely to be physically harmful, but a drug-centered life is a waste. Most drugs, in moderation, can provide interesting experiences and valuable insights. Alcohol, in moderation, actually has health benefits.
    Marijuana is a very enjoyable and useful drug, but to say “Marijuana – good. Everything else – bad.” borders on the fanatical. I find Mr. Rohrbacher’s remarks to reflect a puritanical attitude that few marijuana users, at least the ones I’ve met in my 40-year odyssey with marijuana, share. Except for the marijuana, he could be a spokesman for the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.
    I taught my children about moderation and self-control, not “drugs are all bad (except marijuana, which I won’t tell you about)”. I prefer this honest approach to allowing children to simply imbibe the DARE drivel and hope that they can reason their way out of early conditioning at a later date. Most kids, when they find out they’ve been lied to about drugs, tend to go overboard in the opposite direction. Children exposed to DARE have a slightly higher rate of drug problems than those who haven’t.
    Drug problems are not problems with drugs. They’re problems with character and self-control. People who respect themselves don’t develop drug problems but may well use various drugs, to their benefit, in moderation.

  23. Well it is nice that you find that cannabis is great in your life and yes agree it is must better than drinking but I do not find it should be the only means, moderation is a key in any form of drugs, activities so that is a big point. I left a husband of 20 years due to his cannabis usage, he worshipped it smoked it 24/7, lost homes over it. Even though it is seems you knew what moderation is some people don’t so I am stuck in the middle here. Good luck!

  24. What a beautiful, inspired essay and a wonderful message and example to your children and grandchildren.
    I am a 73 year old retiree who has used marijuana for almost 50 years and my experience is quite similar to yours. I hope your essay gets the wide exposure it deserves.

  25. I would like to think that honesty is always the best policy, but I have been unwilling (so far) to publicize my historical use of cannabis. My wife is currently quite opposed to any legal cannabis usage, altho she tollerated my consumption before we were married (both her brothers had arrests for possession and/or sale, and she is fearful that our son will follow the same path). I was sad to see Ron Paul’s withdrawl from the 2008 presidential campaign, but I will continue to support Ralph Nader.

  26. George, have never met you, nor will I ever. I am a 65 yr ‘young’ father to 3/grandfather to 5. I have been ‘toking’ since I was 15 – 50 YEARS – w/”little or no” adverse reactions to cannabis. Only ONCE did I get ‘busted’ and w/no criminal history or record did NOT sit in jail but simply ‘served’ 18 months ‘probation before verdict’. It’s YOUR common-sense approach w/your family that reflects YOUR intelligence; too bad our GOV. doesn’t even have the common-sense. MOST ENJOYABLE “message”! HAPPY FATHERS DAY, George, AND continued ‘happy toking’. PEACE, TG

  27. Powerful and beautiful post! The unconstitutional prohibition of marijuana is a long and tragic story that has brought shame to our country for decades. Legalization will be instrumental in recovering the freedoms this nation once enjoyed.
    Thank you for telling your story!

  28. As a responsible adult user myself as well as a new father, I loved the essay! We all know the effects of responsible marijuana use – a few laughs, some relaxed feelings, and maybe a bad onset of the munchies 🙂
    I learned many years ago in college that drugs are rated in severity based on their withdrawl symptoms. Pot, of course has no physically addictive properties as it mimics a neurotransmitter that is naturally produced in the brain, but drugs like cocaine, heroine, and tobacco do! The wors offender is alcohol by far. The worst cocaine addict will go through dt’s, but they’ll live. A severe enough alcoholic’s body can actually shut down and die during withdrawl. ironic that the most lethal, deadly drug known to man is the most socially acceptable. It’s tantamount to comparing the common cold to Aids and making Aids the preferred disease of choice among the massses. I’ll take the cold please 🙂
    I will always support the legalization and reform of marijuana laws in the US, but I fear all of our efforts will be in vane. There are too many jobs dependant on the marijuana trade and it’s too valuable to the economy. Too bad really

  29. well when i read this i was very interested. this peron had a very finely writen essay here! i totally agree with this man on every thing he has said from how bad caffine is to how horrible alcohol is! thank you for writing this i am kind of inspiered!

  30. Hello,
    A beautiful story that hits close to home!
    I have already been devoured by this legal meat grinder of insane laws against marijuana. Despite my legal status as a medical marijuana patient in Oregon I have been banned from seeing my son who lives in Texas with his misinformed and overprotective mother. Why? Because I was honest with everyone about how marijuana is a beneficial herb that helps me (including repeatedly informing my son that he must wait until his lungs are fully developed before tying marijuana — assuming he ever wants to). I proved marijuana is beneficial to me by obtaining multiple doctor’s recomendations (most “off the record” due to silly federal laws) and a card from the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP) that legally allows me to smoke, grow, and carry marijuana. Regardless, I have been mislabeled by my family and my ex-wife’s family as a hopeless, dangerous addict. Ironically my 13 year old son has access to alcohol and probably any other drug he desires — which he would NOT have if he were around me.
    I agree that alcohol is the most dangerous “legal” drug in America. I also “evolved” and stopped drinking alcohol in lui of smoking marijuana because 1) alcohol is addictive, can kill you, and has no useful or lasting effect on my medical conditions or state of mind, 2) I watched my mentor die a disgusting and horrible death from alcoholism, 3) I was fat and unhappy — dropping alcohol and adding marijuana helped me lose weight and feel better physically, emotionally, and mentally, and 4) I performed rigorous research about marijuana before I ever smoked it and discovered how inaccurate the goverment and media were about its effects.
    All of these laws and lies propogated about marijuana are absurd and continue to needlessly harm millions of Americans. Everyone is a casualty of this crazy “drug war” policy that is obviously ineffective and more dangerous to our children than healthy education and intelligent, legal control could ever be. How
    pathetically stupid is it for a nation to have a war against a naturally growing PLANT!? Rediculous!
    Keep your voice loud as I will continue to scream at the top of my lungs about this issue. I refuse to lie and sneak around like most people who smoke marijuana choose to do for their safety — I believe in truth and refuse to be a sneaky underhanded liar just because the government is. Let’s get this policy changed for the health of everyone in this nation — especially the children!

  31. An awesome true life story Mr. Rohrbacher. I enjoyed reading it all. You are truly an amazing person.
    Best wishes to you and yours always. God bless you and your family also. May you continue to have your blessed and peaceful walks and such.
    Thank you very much for sharing your story…
    Sincerely, Julie (aka:CaValleyJewels)

  32. Mr. Rohrbacher,
    What can I say but Thank You! This is a most excellent piece. No rants, no rage, just simple common sense and truth. Wow! This is exactly the kind of testimonials our efforts to achieve a more sensible national policy towards marijuana is desperately lacking.
    I salute you, sir!

  33. This is a wonderful story that I am sure could be told by millions of us that recognise that pot is NOT NEARLY AS DANGEROUS AS ALCOHOL, or anything else. I am a medicinal user in California, and thank god for the ability to legally purchase and use weed for my Rheumatoid Arthritis, as well as for my pleasure. I too enjoy going for a walk, or creating music or graphics while stoned, not to mention before sex. We need to get rid of the laws…. I will teach my son the truth about weed, and about alcohol and other toxic drugs.

  34. I am a 20 yr. old mother of a 10 month old baby girl. My husband and I both smoke everyday :] So many people have tried to tell me I am in the wrong for doing “drugs” while having my baby with me. However I am a responsible smoker and NEVER have smoked in front of my daughter. I agree with this article totally. I think I even enjoy my daughter’s company more when I am stoned :] it’s so fun to hear her speak gibberish & watch her grow. I think I play with her more when I’m high than any other time.
    Anyways, peace love & happiness :]

  35. I wish MY dad had written this.
    Alcohol and prescription drugs have caused more problems in several generations of my family than I care to recall. I discovered marijuana in high school and have always preferred it hands down. I went through a drinking phase for a while after my mom died which I remember as the messed up time in my adulthood. Other than that, I was a regular weed user and never had problems. I consider myself to be a highly-accomplished person, also–no pun intended. I stopped when I met my husband because the War on Drugs had left him terrified of marijuana. He decided, out of the blue, to try it last year around Halloween. We smoked a couple of times in the ensuing two weeks, and then after 4 years of infertility and unsuccessful treatments (in vitro twice and several artificial inseminatinos before that), I spontaneously conceived. That was fun while it lasted! Of course, we stopped smoking immediately when we found out–I for the health of the baby, and my husband so that he could let the THC leave his system in case of his number coming up for random drug testing at work. I wish pot were legal and my husband could smoke it, though. He’s had a really crushing family situation with his parents over the last couple of years and now his blood pressure is way up. He’s only 29. I just know that if he could smoke a bowl and go for a nice, long, contemplative walk every day that his stress level and BP would decline. I also wish that my dad, who struggled with an alcohol problem after a long bout with a prescription drug problem (and surely still struggles to stay sober) could legally smoke pot. I struggle with ambivalence about it. I feel guilt at the thought of introducing pot into his life and I also feel guilt at NOT introducing it. The peace he was seeking in prescription narcotics and liquor and cheap wine could have been his with cannabis, and it would have done him much less harm. Perhaps it would have spared him all harm. When my mom had cancer, I told her that I’d get her some pot. I remember worrying that she’d admonish me, but instead, she gratefully asked, “You’d do that?” I wish she’d lived to try it.
    One day, I’ll get high again. I’ll make sure it feels right in my conscience, being a Mom and all. I have no moral issue with pot in and of itself; I just believe, like George’s wife, that responsibility to my child comes first.

  36. George,
    You life sounds just about perfect to me…all except the parts about marijuana.
    Tell me, exactly what was it about all those walks in nature that you could not have experienced by just.. ..well, taking a walk in nature.
    I’m afraid I just don’t see the point.
    My son does. But I most assuredly do not.

  37. This was a very inspiring piece to read, I’m very proud of the author that kept all of his own morals while keeping his Marijuana use private and out of the reach of his children.
    I hope one day that all fathers can and will be as accepting as you.

  38. Dear George,
    Thank you for such a timely and insightful article. I find myself in your shoes–trying to explain to my eleven and eight year old grandsons why Grandma’s room smells a little “funny” sometimes. My plan is for us to read your article together and then talk about it. The eleven year old is really bothered about my marijuana use and I thank you for giving me the perfect words to explain it to him.
    I have a brain tumor which causes excruciating headaches. Smoking pot gives me more relief than all the prescription pain killers I have tried. I’m not drooling on myself and either sleeping or in a daze as I was with the pain pills. No drug hangover the next day either. It’s sad that I can lose my job, my house, and contact with these same grandkids if I should be busted.
    Keep up the good work. Thank you.

  39. Very weel written. I enjoyed this article and share a similar view when it comes to other drugs and how to raise your children.

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