Pot Smoking In the Park: What would you do?

I have a question.  What’s the protocol for the following situation, which is plucked from my real life:

My almost-three-year-old daughter and I went to the park on a balmy Saturday evening (approximately 6 PM) because she had a lot of energy and I had a lot of rage.  So we went to the park to deal with our excesses.  We were the only parent-child pair at the park.  The only other park guests present were three older “children” (about 21 years old, give or take) who were sitting languidly on the park bench at the edge of the play area.

When Sadie was ready to do her “climb up the slide backwards bit,” we were about 7 feet away from the other park people.  That was when the overwhelming smell of POT wafted right up my nose– it was so strong I almost passed out.  Sadie whiffed it too because she said, “I smell something.”  I told her she was smelling special cigarettes made of plants that make people feel fluffy and want to eat lot of junk food.  (Now that I think about it, it sounds like a description of motherhood generally.)

She ignored me.

I was too scared to report it because (1) Am I THAT old that I am busting kids for smoking pot in the park? (2) I was afraid they would kill me; and (3) I am so codependent that I want the pot-smoking kids in the park to think I am “cool.” Because what’s more badass that a mom with a broken butt hobbling around the park while being bossed around by her daughter?

I have an image, you know.

But seriously, no wonder their generation can’t get jobs.  I am not talking about pot smoking because every generation does that and much worse. I am talking about the lack of judgment.  Can you not wait until the sun goes down? Can they not go to the end of the park where there are less likely to be children? Like the section of the park where there is no slide or swings?  I wondered if John Quinones was going to pop out and feature my chicken-shitted-ness on a 20/20 episode of “What Would You Do?”  But, since he didn’t, I am featuring it here.

So I get to ask the question: What would you do?



32 thoughts on “Pot Smoking In the Park: What would you do?

  1. Tricky. I’d do nothing, honestly. They should keep it away from the park until after “kids go to bed” time, but since no real harm came of it, I’d let it slide. And you can spend your walk home mumbling, “damn dirty hippies…” 🙂

  2. This is one of those situations that happens ALL THE TIME in Vancouver. Possession has been decriminalized and there is a lot of cultural tolerance if not acceptance. So in certain neighbourhoods, you can walk down the street to someone smoking a joint in front of you. But I’m not going to lie to you, sometimes it drives me nuts. I think wait till you are home or a nice secluded park 😉 But I haven’t said anything, even when I was raging and pregnant and wanted to punch smokers of any kind in the face if they did it around me. I didn’t. But I did judge them with self-righteous indignation which was kind of fun.

  3. I wouldn’t say or do anything if it’s just pot. If they leave dirty needles or used condoms or broken beer bottles laying around, then I would speak up (probably just report them, not actually confront them). Sadly, I have heard it is not uncommon to find broken beer bottles and used condoms in the parking lot of our local school. How gross is that? No dirty needles, thank goodness!

  4. I would give them my best brownie recipe in exchange for a promise of saving me a spiked brownie. Just kidding…mostly. I would probably start singing that song, “Because I got high” very loudly. It would have the added benefit of embarrassing my family and getting my point across.

  5. I would do nothing. And assume that eventually, their audacity will catch up with them, because public pot smoking is dumbz0rs. I think habitual smokers, esp. young ones, start to feel kind of invincible and do dumb stuff to see what they can get away with. This happened to someone I know. He finally got busted when a cop walked by his apartment door, which was wide open, and saw the enormous bong sitting on the table right in the doorway. Hello. He deserved that paraphrenalia charge. I don’t care about smoking pot, but I do care about being idiotic.

  6. I was in a similar situation this spring. I was waiting in the park for my daughter’s school bus when a few teenagers lit up right beside me. (I am in Virginia – which is not very tolerable of pot smoking – used to live in Vancouver where it was everywhere). I wondered if the teenagers a) didn’t care that I was right beside them or b) thought I was cool and wouldn’t care. Although I would like to think the latter, it was probably the former. I don’t have a problem with people smoking pot, but I get that you are upset that they didn’t care that you and your daughter were there. Same thing when people swear in front of my daughter. I don’t really care that they curse. I care that they don’t have the decency to restrain themselves around others – especially kids.

  7. It looks like I am in the minority here and maybe it is because I am an administrator in a school, but I would have asked them to take it somewhere else. I’m not into getting folks into trouble with the law, but I wouldn’t want them anywhere in my vicinity.

  8. Um, I seriously used to think no one could smell it if we were outside. I know it’s dumb but I really believed it. I thought the same thing about cigarettes. I probably would’ve said nothing but I would’ve given them the stink-eye. I would’ve started fake-coughing loudly or something passive-aggressive like that.

    • Omg– me too! Now that you mention it, I would smoke 5 cigarettes on the way home from school in my car (it was a mile away) and pop in gum thinking my mom wouldn’t smell it! I had forgotten!!! I used to be dumb!

  9. I agree with Jenni. I think I would have told them it was completely inappropriate to be doing that at a park around kids….even though I would feel totally uncool after…but like a good parent. Seems like the kind of situation you lay in bed thinking about and figuring out all the better ways to handle it. I do that all the time!

    • Next time I think I will speak up — get out of my comfort zone and do it for all the kids, not just mine. Plus if nothing else I can blog about it. Unless they kill me. Then my husband will guest post.

  10. I prefer to have my 4 year old or 8 year old handle all the interactions with mean kids, druggies and the like at the park … call me next time and i’ll tell them off anonymously! Actually, I would have done nothing and been pissed off and taken it out on my husband. He’s lucky like that.

  11. I think that smoking in general is disallowed at Chicago parks. I won’t pretend that I would have told them that although it really bugs me when there is smoking of any kind around my kids. I probably wouldn’t call the cops because that seems like a disproportionate response but people need to be more respectful of keeping adult behavior out places for children. My mom was with my daughter once told a beggar outside Dunkin’ Donuts “I am giving you money today, but I don’t want you asking people with children anymore. It’s scary and threatening for small children.” (As a sidenote, my daughter is not scared of anything except dogs and bouncy houses, but I love that my mom did that).

  12. I would probably have done nothing. But in my imagination, I would say, “hey, man, can Sadie and I get a hit off that?”. demonstrating, I am sure, my elderliness and uncoolness. But maybe shaming them some. Passive aggressive here too.

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