As Told To is a recurring segment on xoNecole where real women are given a platform to tell their stories in first-person narrative as told to a writer.
This is Shonitria Anthony's story, as told to Charmin Michelle.
So, I'm a Blunt Blowin' Mama.
No, really, that's my brand.
But my brand isn't just referring to me. It's an entire community of real moms and ladies who proudly and openly consume cannabis. One day, I decided to stop hiding my cannabis use in hopes of finding and bringing together other women and moms who did the same. I spent hours trying to find women who looked like me (young and brown) and that were both open stoners, and proud moms.
And I couldn't find any.
So I said to myself: " F*ck it, since that space doesn't exist, I'll just create it myself."
I remember I smoked weed for the first time as a freshman in college. I was with a friend who had wanted me to try it out for forever, so I did. And I ended up loving it. From there, we would meet to smoke and hide it from our parents, teachers, certain roommates. Keep in mind, the stigma was really heavy on the plant during those days—hell, it still kind of is now. But to be living in Georgia as a black teenager at the time, smoking weed was terrifying. You think you're worried now, back then was damn near open season. Police back in those days would absolutely use the excuse of a black person having weed on them to send them to prison, so I was risking heavy jail time every single time I decided to smoke.
Don't go to jail, don't get arrested.
You've got this, Shonitria.
This fear would consume me.
It also caused me to create a private ganja-loving world that I happily lived, and found peace, in. I never talked about it much or smoked in public. I was all the way in the closet about my cannabis use for many years—simply out of fear of losing my freedom.
But back to my story, I'm a journalist by trade. I attended Georgia State for journalism, and obtained a master's degree in it as well. I moved to New York about a year after graduating to attend Columbia for grad school. I stayed in NYC for a while after graduating and worked as an editor at some really cool companies: ABC News. HuffPost. Blavity. It was fun and I learned a lot, but I never felt I was genuinely challenged enough, or that my own personal career development was taken seriously by the powers that be—which is how the Blunt Blowin' Mama podcast came into fruition: unappreciation—like most businesses. This wasn't the first time I tried to create and host a podcast, I had pitched and worked on about three other podcasts at various media companies. None of those worked out, but I never gave up on the idea of one day having my own.
Now, I've built my platform in West Hollywood, which is where I've been living for the past three years.
And living in California, the way weed is so openly embraced, absolutely inspired the creation and evolution of the Blunt Blowin' Mama brand. I went from hiding who I was, to happily educating the public on stigmas of weed consumption. The difference is almost astonishing.
Now, I puff everyday.
Courtesy of Shonitria Anthony
Don't get me wrong, this isn't some rebellious, trendy humble-brag about how much I choose to smoke. My story is solely told to create a flourishing platform that leads the change of the perception of women and mothers—especially those of color—who smoke.
This is much bigger than me.
And here's why:
Many moms who smoke weed are scared and feel alone, which would oftentimes mean that they are actively seeking a sense of community. A lot of these moms have been reprimanded by either the people they know, or by their own communities for smoking weed. It's almost ridiculous that people still feel and think that way, especially in 2020 with all the low-risk statistics and information available to everyone. I have spoken to dozens upon dozens of moms, both on the Blunt Blowin' Mama's podcast, and just via direct communication, and I have come across nothing but the most responsible and loving parents who also just happen to smoke.
The shift in acceptance comes with its own set challenges, and that's where things can get complicated. Yes, there's this social shift happening—great. And people are not only being more accepting of cannabis, there's also been an increasing interest in moms who consume the plant. But, as cannabis is becoming more and more mainstream, the face of "advocates" have all been non-inclusive. And this is definitely the case when it comes to the poster child of the mom who smokes weed.
Yes, I'm saying that generally, the face of our community is always a white woman.
"Moms Agree That Smoking Weed..." blah blah.
"Studies Show That Mothers Who Smoke Weed Once A Day Have Better..." blah.
When I began researching online, I had a hard time finding any black millennial moms who were openly advocating for moms who responsibly consume cannabis with a large platform. Black and brown people have been criminalized for weed for generations—where are we? And now white people are becoming rich off of what has torn our families apart for over 50 years. Legally.
To be frank, it's f*cked up. And I feel a deep obligation to be a voice as often as possible. The importance of cannabis education, is to always push to decriminalize and legalize the plant as equitable as possible. Too many dispensaries are looking like the Apple Store.
The. Apple. Store.
So, nah. Not on my watch. I instead chose to brand myself and have my hand in taking back this power.
It's ours. This country owes it to us.
My biggest supporter in my world is my partner. He hears my rants or listens to my tough days. We have been together for almost eight years at this point and he was actually the person who helped me brand myself. He's such a good man and father, he knows that cannabis is medicine, and he supports moms and my mission of normalizing cannabis consumption among moms. My beautiful babies are still very young at 13 months old and 4 years old, so they don't quite understand what is going on around them, but I plan to be open about it with them as they get older. And even in all my somewhat hippy liberation, I make it a point to never smoke around them, as well as take extra precaution to ensure they don't smell it.
Some of my extended family knows about my choice to medicate with cannabis and others do not. My parents are both incredibly conservative —especially when it comes to their views on weed, so it has been tough at times to explain it to them.
But I still find my happiness in moments when bae and I smoke weed together after successfully running a vibrant home, and loving on our family as much as possible.
Ultimately, my biggest hope is that my platform truly educates naysayers. That's all I really want. People need to know that moms who smoke weed are not some dangerous, forbidden drug addicts putting our children in harm's way. We are simply women who have taken charge of a taboo industry, and made it ours for our benefit.
We are women who work in corporate offices.
We are women who take their kids to soccer practice.
We are women who attend PTA meetings.
And we are women who do it all with a lil' THC.
To keep up with Shonitria, you can follow her and the Blunt Blowin Mama community on Instagram. You may also listen to her podcast and catch up on her latest episodes.
If you have a story you'd like to share, but aren't sure about how to put it into words, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "As Told To" for your story to be featured.
Featured image courtesy of Shonitria Anthony.