Jessie Gill, aka Marijuana Mommy, is a busy woman. A mother of two and an RN, she also operates the educational site MarijuanaMommy.com, where she posts prolifically about everything from cannabis science to awesome edible recipes. She contributes to outlets such as Cosmopolitan and Vice’s Tonic and actively advocates for legalization in her home state of New Jersey.
We’ve always been fans of Marijuana Mommy. We love her passion, her writing, and the intention behind her use of the word “marijuana.” When Jessie agreed to answer a few questions for us, we were thrilled for the opportunity to get to know her better. She’s gained great insights in her journey to cannabis – on parenting, making change, medicine, and more – and she happily shares what she’s learned for the benefit of all.
We can’t wait to have the chance to hang out with Jessie in real life. When you’re finished this interview, we know you’ll feel the same way.
The Evolution of Marijuana Mommy
Jenn Lauder: Can you share a bit about your transition from non-consumer to medical marijuana patient to passionate advocate?
Jessie Gill: I was extremely reluctant to try medical marijuana.
During a previous period of my life, I had used cannabis recreationally (and illegally). Because that period was the most difficult part of my life, I had awful associations to marijuana. I also had bad experiences with weed triggering panic attacks. This was before I understood the differences of strains or careful consumption, so I just attributed it to marijuana in general.
Also, I honestly didn’t believe it would help. I was a nurse and a pain expert—I had this mindset, “if cannabis was that great, I’d know about it already.” The idea that a plant could replace my valium and opiates sounded bonkers.
Fortunately, my mom convinced me to try cannabis, pointing out that I had already tried everything else in desperation.
I was blessed in my response. I stopped opiates and valium the same day I started MMJ. That was over two years ago and I haven’t needed them since.
Weed also boosts my patience tremendously. It slows down my thoughts and has opened a whole world of mindful parenting to me.
My personal experience transformed me into a passionate advocate, because I knew if I was so reluctant and uninformed, then others were too. This made me feel obligated to share my story, and that’s how MarijuanaMommy.com was born.
JL: What’s your current relationship with marijuana? How do you incorporate it into your life?
JG: MMJ is my constant companion. I microdose taking small regular dose throughout the day. I usually start with a high-CBD, low-THC strain in the morning. By bedtime, I’ve transitioned to a high-THC strain. I mostly vape but I also use FECO/RSO and edibles too, especially on days when my pain levels are high and my spasms and intense.
Since my career has refocused on this industry marijuana has taken center stage. I’m constantly teaching, researching, or writing about it.
Pot & Parenting
JL: Many moms confide to me that using cannabis benefits their parenting or helps them “parent better.” Would you say that’s true for you? If so, in what ways are you a better parent because of cannabis?
JG: Absolutely! In so many ways. First, there’re the easy things like, I no longer keep deadly pharmaceuticals in the house which makes everyone safer. And there’re the medical benefits too—Like, my pain levels are far better managed and I suffer from fewer side-effects—that makes me a better mom.
But marijuana also positively impacts my parenting in less measurable ways. For example cannabis greatly enhances my spiritual development and that transitions directly into how I raise my kids. Weed also boosts my patience tremendously. It slows down my thoughts and has opened a whole world of mindful parenting to me.
Teach Your Children
JL: What do your children know about marijuana? How do you approach the topic with them?
JG: We talk about cannabis A LOT! I teach about cannabis the same way I teach about all hard topics (like alcohol, drugs, sex, medications, cigarettes, guns, war, racism, etc.)—factually, honestly, and often.
After two years, the conversations are easy, but in the beginning they were nerve-wracking. My two kids are ten years apart, so I approached it very differently with each of them.
My son was only in 3rd grade at the time and he hadn’t been brainwashed with propaganda yet. I actually had to prepare him for the stigma and negative comments he’d hear in school. I think that preparation is very important for parents of young kids to do if they openly use cannabis.
At least once a year, he comes home complaining about propaganda. Last year, during a test, he wrote an essay about the dangers of marijuana. In it, along with the real risks and dangers, he mentioned, “no one has ever died from marijuana.” I was impressed with is paper. Yet, the teacher actually wrote, “We didn’t learn facts about this.” (Ok, maybe their health book doesn’t admit it, but the DEA says it’s true.)
My daughter however was a teenager when I became a patient, she was a little freaked out, but she came around very quickly when she saw my health results.
JL: What are the marijuana laws in your state? Do you expect to see progress soon?
JG: There’s so much cannabis excitement happening here in NJ!!
We just had Chris Christie leave office and our medical marijuana program is horrible right now. Fortunately, our new governor, Phil Murphy, recently signed an executive order with the specific intention of expanding NJ’s medical marijuana program.
Advocates here are expecting dramatic changes and we’re expecting them to roll out quickly.
Governor Murphy also campaigned on the promise to legalize adult-use cannabis. There are a few bills in the legislature now and when one passes, he’s promised sign it. His campaign promise was for legalization “within 100 days,” but I predict it will take over a year to see recreational cannabis legalization.
JL: How can parents engage actively to change cannabis laws?
JG: Get involved and take your children with you. I took my son to Senator Cory Booker’s rally for the Marijuana Justice Act. It was a powerful experience that left a solid lasting impression in my 10 year old.
Remember, what we teach our children is the future. If we want to change the stigma, we should start with them.
Kids are not too young to understand civic responsibility or social justice. We need to teach the facts and teach them to stand up for the truth.
The Future of MMJ?
JL: As an RN, what’s your view of the fate of medical marijuana programs as adult use laws become more widespread?
JG: I think it will be a while before medical marijuana programs fall away, but I think they will eventually. I think in the future physicians will refer patients to medical herbalists who specialize in strains and coach patients directly.
JL: What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re enjoying cannabis after the kids are in bed?
JG: My night time routine always includes chocolate and I usually eat it while binge watching Netflix and working on new projects. Lately, I’ve been absorbed building my newest site: PrettyPipeShop.com.
Words of Wisdom
JL: Do you have advice for other moms who are considering marijuana but are worried about stigma, what their kids will think, etc?
JG: Yes. Two things. First, respect the law. Honestly, in most places, the most dangerous thing about cannabis is the law. It’s horrible, but too many parents still lose their children due to bogus laws so use careful judgement.
Secondly, remember, what we teach our children is the future. If we want to change the stigma, we should start with them.
If you want to change the stigma and are looking for tools to get started, check out what Jessie has going on over at MarijuanaMommy.com!