Ellen Barkin has laid-back approach to son's marijuana use

06/18/2007 at 09:09 PM ET

In a recent interview with BlackBook Magazine, Ellen Barkin says that her recent divorce from billionaire Ron Perelman has not left her feeling bitter or unhappy.  Instead, Ellen says she feels grateful for a revived acting career courtesy of Oceans Thirteen and content to be a single mom to daughter Romey Marion, 15, and son Jack, 18 — the latter of whom frequently comes home "reeking" of marijuana, but Ellen doesn’t mind.

I used to smoke with my family; On Passover, we would all smoke pot as a family.

Romey and Jack are Ellen’s children from her first marriage, to actor Gabriel Byrne.

Source:  BlackBook

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Traci on

“On Passover, we would all smoke pot as a family.”


Ellen, you just went down a few notches in my book.

Lauren on

Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol or cigarettes. I would rather my child experiment with marijuana than be a heavy drinker like many teenagers of today. Overdosing on alcohol happens every day in suburbia but overdosing on marijuana is practically impossible. I would also rather my child smoke pot than cigarettes. Cigarettes are many times more addictive than marijuana, medical evidence show cigarettes to be more pharmacologically dangerous than heroin. We hear every day of teenagers dying in alcohol related car crashes; How many teens do we hear about that are smoking a joint and then flip their car going 80 around the curb on prom night? Marijuana is only made dangerous through its illegality. Give the woman a break, at least she knows what her son is doing and has a relationship with him to be privileged to. A little pot isn’t the end of the world.

FC on

I’m up in the air. I don’t care for the smoking of any kind. It’s just nasty and has you smelling like it afterwards, etc. But, her son being eighteen, he’s of legal age and has every right to smoke, be it marijuana or otherwise. Don’t have to like it, but I guess she figures he’s of age and she knows, so maybe that’s why she’s not so worried, and maybe it also has to do with her own pot smoking days? I don’t know.

Elena on

FC – you have to keep in mind that it is illegal. He doesn’t have any “right” to smoke it since it’s illegal. And also, Lauren – I do agree with you that pot is not as harmful as alcohol and nicotine cigarettes…but that doesn’t mean marijuana is completely harmless. Driving while under the influence of ANYTHING, including pot, is dangerous. Even driving while being fatigued is dangerous.

Devon on

My brother is such a biggsy chronic, after Snoop Dogg ^& Dre, it’s not funny and my mum knows it. He admits it to her all the time, especially when she asks him. I also can honestly say that my 23 year old brother had done NO CHEMICAL drugs. We’ve talked about it and he’s sworn against them after our father’s death.

I have never, and will never do drugs, but I give credit to my brother and mother for being so honest that he can admit to her that he has done drugs.

I don’t advocate drug use but if you can be honest, and an adult, then there is no real harm in smoking pot. I would rather my child admit to me that they are on drugs thsn find out some other way, especially if they are under age.

melanie on

I don’t have a problem with recreational marijuana use. I couldn’t see the “family” sitting down doing it together. πŸ™‚ Much better than kids getting drunk. My opinion, of course.

Aaron on

Elena – I disagree with you only when you say that he doesn’t have the “right” to smoke it. Who gave man the “right” to take marijuana away from the world? Every plant on this earth serves a purpose and marijuana is going to waste due to mans’ greed.
God gave us marijuana…man gave us cigarettes…why do we let the government dictate in whom we trust?

Lorus on

Melanie – I agree with you. I did however grow up with friends who would smoke up with their parents. I thought it was weird at first since my parents haven’t smoke marijuana since they were teenagers/early 20’s. Maybe that’s only because they don’t have access to any though. πŸ˜‰ Maybe it’s more of a Liberal Canadian thing though.

Elena on

Aaron – it depends on what you mean by “right”. I was talking about rights in a legal sense.

die eule on

Wow, talking about open minded! To all who believe marijuana is less harmful than alcohol or cigarettes – this is WRONG. The THC-percentage in the plants is rapidly growing which makes you faster addicted and makes marijuana the perfect beginner drug. Her son might be of legal age, but as his mother she’s got to talk to him about it. Just my two cents.



Sabina on

To everyone who’s saying they don’t have a problem with marijuana because of the medical facts surrounding it or because someone is of legal age or is honest about doing it- those are all valid points, but ultimately: IT IS ILLEGAL. Taking marijuana in any form at any age for any reason is against the law. I know in some states in the USA doctors prescribe it for glaucoma medication etc., but that doesn’t happen in the UK, there are no loopholes at all. It is illegal, full stop, and I would not permit my children at any age to indulge in any illegal activity. If they were over 18 I would not attempt to stop them, but I would make sure they knew how disappointed I was in them, confiscate any stashes I found under my roof, and would not permit them to enter my house if I could smell it on them. If they were caught by police I would not defend them, and I would make sure they knew that as well. It may sound harsh to some of you, but this lax attitude towards an illegal substance seems to be rife in our society and it is alarming to me.
I’m frankly shocked that Ellen Barkin would not only admit to the world that she used to/does smoke pot, but would also criminalize her parents and her son by announcing that they do it too.

kyoto-chan on

Marijuana’s illegality largely stems from racism that was rampant during the early 1900s. Here are a few interesting articles from the web for a bit of education:

Here is a list of some choice phrases used to demonize marijuana in the early 1900s:

If you have time, there are many interesting books (such as Reefer Madness: The History of Marijuana in America) on the history of marijuana and the government’s efforts to categorise it as a hazardous and illegal substance.

Basically, much of the drug wars that occur in the United States vilify minorities while demonizing any sort of drug usage. You don’t see the same campaigning dollars used for rallying against alcoholism or used to talk about the dangers of alcoholism. You see commercials that denounce drinking and driving but none which constantly stress the dangers of drinking massive amounts of alcohol. I for one can attest to the fact that university students are basically alcoholics surrounded by other alcoholics. We drink ourselves silly on most weekends…and some of us even drive while drunk. We engage in some pretty dangerous behaviour and I think marijuana usage is the least of those unsavory behaviours to be honest.

For the most part, I’m in favour of legalising MJ although I’ve never had any interest in indulging. In California and a few others states, marijuana is practically legal.

Lauralee on

You all seem to conveniently ignore the fact that marijuana is a serious gateway drug, (It stays in the system far longer than alcohol) paving a clear path to the desire for a bigger high in addictive drugs that once tried, may never be recovered from.

Also, the marijuana of her heyday is far different than today’s, and is often laced with other highly addictive drugs or hallucinigens (PCP among them) unbeknownst to the user. And just because it’s natural, hardly makes it harmless. It’s dangerous not only in terms of getting behind the wheel of a car, (and possibly killing themselves or someone else) but in being clear-headed enough to make potentially life-changing decisions about having sex without protection, with someone they do not know well enough to stop and discern whether their partner has STDS or AIDS etc.

Barkin seems to enjoy making provacative statements. Perhaps that makes her a ‘hip’ mom, but she won’t be laughing if her kid gets arrested for possession of illegal drugs, DUI, manslaughter charges and does jail time. It won’t be funny to watch her kids die of AIDS, suffer through an unplanned pregnancy (if her son fathers a child–he’ll still owe child support even if he turns his back emotionally on his offspring), or escalates and spirals into dependency on harder drugs.

Everyone wants their freedom to do drugs, but it’s society who pays when it goes bad. We’re expected to pay for housing of drug addicts to keep them off the street, their never-ending healthcare costs… cleaning up all of messes they leave behind in the broken families… The lists go on and on. An innocent personal decision to do drugs carries a huge amount of responsibility, and using them for mere recreation is pure selfishness. Is that what we’re supposed to teach our kids? If it feels good do it? So it seems in Hollywood.

ix on

Um, I wouldn’t say marijuana is harmless; http://www.nida.nih.gov/Infofacts/marijuana.html

Lilybett on

I’d just like to say marijuana isn’t illegal in all countries in all circumstances. Some have legal medicinal use, others have legal personal use. In Australia, the ACT used to have a one-pot-plant rule. I don’t know if they still do.

I don’t think it’s so much a problem that her son smokes, or she used to. I think it’s more of a problem that she’s so permissive of law-breaking.

From a personal perspective, marijuana isn’t as innocent as it looks. Not only is it a gateway drug, its chemicals still do some awful stuff to the brain. I don’t necessarily think it’s as bad as what excessive alcohol consumption can do – but it’s not harmless. My brother in law was diagnosed with schizophrenic believed to be caused from excessive use. It’s also been proven that regular dope use affects men’s dna/sperm and may be the cause of some childhood development issues.

Lissette on

I completely agree with Melanie above said. I think it’s kind of awkward for a family to sit around doing it but there are a lot more harmful things in the world.

Wow! on

Wow. I’m stunned at those stupid comments she made.
My comments? “Bad mother!”

Kori on

In no ay would I ever “not mind” that my child smokes pot. I am against smoking of ANY kind. However, honestly, I would probably rather hear that he’s experimented with marijuana than hear he’s taken up smoking cigarettes. That is oe thing I hope he NEVER does is start smoking. Ugh. It is my worst nightmare. But, in the end, marijuana is illegal, and whether we like what the government rules or not, as parents it is our job to teach our children to be law-abiding citizens, not turn the other cheek.

me on

marijuana is a gateway drug, plain and simple!

sarawara on

Pretty sure that this thread is quickly getting away from CELEBRITIES and BABIES…

Just because you and your parents engaged in an activity together does not mean that it was beneficial.

Whether or not you AGREE with marijuana being illegal to everyone, or alcohol and cigarettes being illegal to minors (as in, the photos we saw recently of Melanie Griffith lighting a cig for her kid), does not change the fact is that it is still illegal.

And (statistically speaking and from my experience as a counselor) parents who enable their children to do ANYTHING illegal are asking for rehab, jail, and serious emotional problems and therapy for their children.

The fact is, right now her children might think she is cool, but they are being childish and they do not respect her. If her children ever grow up (some folks never do) they are going to resent her for encouraging them down a road that does not lead to their betterment.

Medical journals everywhere show that even casual drug use is harmful and dangerous, and experimenting with recreational drugs more times than not leads to use of harder substances, depression, suicide, incarceration, and death. How anyone could approve of that for their child is beyond me. How anyone could admit that to a news source to be put into print for the entire world to read is even more baffling.

Callen on

First of all I “Hate” when people call other people a Bad mom! Who are you to judge?

Somethings in others lives may seem Off key. But how perfect is your life.

Drugs are Drugs to me! You cant paint it pretty. And if you cant buy pot at your local gas station or store(because its illegal). You shouldn’t have it!

Diana on

I honestly think many of you are blowing this WAY out of proportion. I honestly don’t think smoking pot is THAT big of deal, IMO probably worse than drinking, or smoking cigarettes. I have never heard of anyone that was addicted to pot, but cigarettes?? So to me that would be worse.

To those who say OH its illegal? Well there are a LOT of things that people do that are illegal. Can you honestly tell me none of you NEVER speed? Thats against the law. Now if he was smoking weed and driving I would see some concern for that.

Personally I think it should be legal, so maybe thats why I don’t have a big problem with it.

Jennifer on

In my opinion, her statements seemed very arrogant and weird to me.
Some messages I’ve read about this, people seem put off that we are “judging” her for saying this. How can we not when something like this is said???
This to me is just plain scary. If her son coming home smelling like pot doesn’t phase her, it’s no wonder he’s coming home smelling like pot in the first place I feel. Also the fact that she basically boasted about smoking pot with her family to me is shocking. Weird to say the least. I’m willing to bet if her kid is in fact smoking pot, he may just be doing other DRUGS too. Wonder if her attitude will be so “laid back” about it then??

Jenny on

I’m betting posting comments for this article will be disabled by this evening.

Lauren on

I am stunned that people here would actually admit that they don’t see the big deal with teenagers smoking pot-and I am one of the younger people that visits this site! The reality is that marajuana is a mind-altering substance that is illegal in the US, UK, and other areas of the world for a reason. A friend of mine’s acqaintence was recently hospitalized for months. Why? He went skiing while high on marajuana. Marajuana is also a known gateway drug, with many users moving on to abuse far more dangerous drugs such as cocain, ecstasy, etc. Finally, anyone that knows anything about marajuana nowadays knows that marajuana is not what it was years ago. Marajuana today is oftentimes laced with other drugs and is far more powerful.
Bottom line: It is a dangerous, illegal, mind-altering substance, and anyone who allows their children to use it has serious issues with themselves that they are unfairly passing on to their children. People wonder why my generation is so spoiled and out of control. This is one of the most obvious reasons. Parents, if you don’t want your own kids being a part of this crazy generation, I say grow up, buck up, and act like parents. I feel sorry for anyone whose mother or father behaves as their enabler and/or drug dealer.

Shelby on

Lilybet, I completly agree!! I used to see marajuana as harmless and it should be decriminilized, until my brother. Unknown to our family he had been smoking pot for months and sometimes in excessive amounts. This soon lead to a mental breakdown which included crashing his car, and being in an mental hospital for over 2 weeks. We were terrified of what it could be including schizoprenia. The Hospital’s Director later told us after a lot of time talking to him that it was related to his drug use (only pot). Marajuana has a huge effect on the brain, yes it may not seem as severe as alcohol or “harder” drugs but it has the ability to mess with the body’s natural chemicals and imbalance the system and it’s ability to cope. I’ll try to find an article on it somewhere. All in all it is illegal so if you choose to do it be careful. It IS harmful, those who say it isn’t are just trying to cope out for themselves. Yes it could be less addictive or dangerous than alcohol but why need any of it?! Seriously being 19 I do not understand what is wrong with some kids today.

sunflower82 on

I hate to be the one to tarnish the eternal soul of the Barkin family, but it turns out that marijuana isn’t kosher for Passover. Apparently bong hits really ARE for Jesus.


calyopi on

People drink and use drugs for 1 of Only two reasons:

1. To create Good feelings
2. To Mask bad feelings

It’s a coping mechanism, for better or for worse. If you think about it, many many adults drink and do drugs to feel good or to obliterate bad feelings, severe or light.

Adults don’t know how to have clean, silly fun anymore (well most of the ones I know). We don’t engage in things we consider “childish” like coloring, or any number of activities we used to love as kids (jumping rope, making silly faces, etc.).

The pressure to be “grown-up” helps a lot of people turn into addicts and alcoholics.

If people started exercising as much as they drink in this country we’d be incredibly healthy and clear-headed, but we don’t, instead we drink and drive and become extremely passive about drugs in general unless it touches us personally.

Nicotine, Marijuana, Alcohol are all gateway drugs. Period.

ericka on

oh get over it! my god! Who gives a rats arse? That’s her family, her child and she can do what she wants. Yes, she told the world but do you really think that’s the WORST thing a parent can do to their child? I think i’d rather know what my child is doing than not know. I think it’s cool that she participates and obviously has done it for a while SOOOOOOO she’d be the person to go to to get good pot. Can you imagine how much post is sold on the street that’s laced? WTF cares…get over it!

(not a smoker in anyway, shape or form BUT i think it’s stupid people sit around and judge when they’ve probably done worse. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!)

Erica on

IMO, just because our legal system deems something wrong and something else not doesn’t make it so. All of the examples people here have brought up highlighting the ill effects marijuana can have on your life are valid, but they are also the extreme. After all, for every alcoholic you or I know, there are probably a thousand others who drink in moderation and don’t overindulge to the point of incapacitation.

So, while I would never condone my future kids or anyone else I know becoming some hardcore, passed-out-on-the couch MJ user, no one will ever convince me that occasional use means that your life will be ruined–I know several people who probably shouldn’t partake in the weed as much as they do, but I’ve never once been around an angry or violent pothead. Can’t say the same for alcoholics.

And anyway, it’s not as if Ellen’s son is a minor! If you want to talk legality, she can’t legally stop him from doing anything!

Jessica on

Nothing says quality family time like a trip to the local drug dealer.

I agree with sarawara. Her children do not respect her, you cannot make me believe otherwise. My husband grew up with his mother who would encourage smoking pot and drinking alcohol as long as it was in front of her because it was “safer that way”. He never smoked cigarettes but he was addicted to pot and alcohol during his sophmore, junior, and senior year in high school. He thought she was a “cool mom” at the time, but now their relationship is next to nil. He may have thought she was cool, but he never respected her for not setting boundaries and the fact that she smoked with him and his friends (and she still does on her own to this day) made him think very low of her.

Marijuana is addictive and for heaven’s sake, it’s not as bad as cigarettes? At least cigarettes have filters on them, where do you think all the smoke that you inhale goes? And at least cigarettes don’t come laced with PCP or heroin or sometimes household cleaning products.

It’s terrible that she encourages this and don’t even get me started about the Passover comment. Yeah, our Lord would be real proud Ellen!

Scarlett B. on

If my son was 18 and he smoked pot from time to time and wasn’t hooked on it I wouldn’t mind. Same with drinking alcohol under age. Yes, marijuana is illegal but it’s also illegal to drink alcohol under 21 in the states but it’s done every single day. People do it and I think it’s no big deal if you don’t develop an addiction. I myself have tried it once and didn’t like it much but up until a few years ago my dad and his friends smoked it all the time and even smoked it with my boyfriend. I know a lot of people would look down on that but everyone is different and I think people should mind their own business if you don’t want to do it FINE but if so that’s fine too. As long as you don’t get caught =D

Natalie S. on

Well all I have to say is that is Ellen’s approach of dealing with the situation. Though everyone apparently has/had an opinion on how she should or should’ve addressed the issue, it is what it is. Frankly who cares about what Ellen Barkin has decided to do about the situation, it’s her choice.. let’s move on.

ericka on

Things that are Illegal that you do on a daily basis…

Download Music
Drive over the speed limit …which is a FELONY
Drive UNDER the speed limit
Run stop signs
Run red lights
Not wearing your seat belt
Drinking underage
Lying on your taxes
Using Copyrighted Images

Heck! Police break the law!! Using their sirins when theirs no emergency to attend to is against the law!

The list goes on and on!!!

So if YOU want to get teqnical and say he’s breaking the law by smoking pot then lets say you break the law on a daily basis! A crime is a crime…no crimes are really less criminal than others.

Cindy on

I’m seriously wondering what smoking marijuana has to do with unplanned pregnancies…perhaps I misread what Lauralee was saying, but that really stuck out in my mind.

Either way — who cares? It’s her child, her business. She can feel the way she wants.

L on

Americans are so deluded and misinformed about marijuana use. Marijuana is not harmful. Yes, because it is illegal and thus unregulated, sometimes it is laced with harder drugs. But marijuana is NOT addictive, you cannot overdose on marijuana, and other than drowsiness marijuana has no ill effects on the body. Yes, smoking anything damages the lungs. It should, though, be noted that marijuana is far less damaging to the lungs than cigarette smoking.

Alcohol is legal in this country, and yet is far more dangerous. Just because it is illegal in the US, doesn’t mean it is wrong or dangerous. Our country has a long history of making things illegal based on fear, religious beliefs, and wrong information.

Do you know why marijuana is a gateway drug? It is because of the “a drug is a drug” attitude, which is the stance our government has taken. There is no distinction made between marijuana and other, harder, dangerous drugs as far as the law, and most parents, are concerned. They are all wrong and dangerous and stay away! So when kids try pot, find that it’s fun and harmless, they are more likely to try something harder. Because, hey, our parents said pot was bad and scary, but nothing happened, so they must be wrong about coke/acid/ecstasy/etc.

The US government’s current laws regarding drugs have only added to the country’s drug problems.

Do some research, inform yourself. Don’t believe everything the government tells you.

As for Ellen Barkin, I’m glad to see she has a healthy attitude about marijuana.

J.M. on

I’m indifferent to the subject.

I am in my early 20’s and never tried pot however my friends smoked it all the time. I personally hated the smell of it and that’s what turned me a way. And I saw how ridiculous my friends acted and I didn’t want to feel like that. I always was able to laugh, have fun, get over my problems doing other activities besides sitting around smoking pot.

However it’s different strokes for different folks. I know where I live there was hardly anything to do for us kids. So sitting around at someones house smokin weed was the only thing to do.

I also only tried cigarettes twice in my life and didn’t like it. So I am also not an advocate for that either but it’s not my business who chooses to do it or not.

That being said, I hope I could teach my child the same values however you can’t control a teenagers every move. My mom would of been disappointed had she known I smoked pot but she wouldn’t have grounded me or have been mad. And if I catch my child doing any of it as well I won’t be mad but I will make sure they know that I do not agree with it. I also will not allow them to do it near me or in my home. They want to do it somewhere else and face possible consequences that’s on them. My mom always said this to my brother and I when we were teens and going out, “have fun, be safe, and if you do something your not supposed to be doing and get arrested, don’t call me because I’m not getting out of bed to get you!” πŸ˜‰

The bottom line. Pot is illegal to possess it so if your caught – so be it! I feel no sorrow for you. Just like I don’t feel sorry for any other person who is caught doing something “illegal”. Your old enough to know better so be old enough to make the right choices for yourself.

Amy on

Well, regardless if she is a bad mom or not I think it is terrible that she is bragging to media outlets that she condones her son breaking the law…like it is some badge of honor that she and her family are potheads!

I mean, if she had said, “My son likes to steal from stores, but I don’t mind because when I was a child I used to shoplift packs of bubblegum” I highly doubt people would be defending her. The bottom line is that her son is breaking the law, regardles of whether there should be a law against it or not, it is ILLEGAL! She should have kept this private.

Luna on

Alcohol causes more car accidents because it a) lowers one’s inhibitions, meaning people do things they normally wouldn’t, and b) causes coordination problems, which means when people do these things, the end result is bad. Marijuana causes neither of these effects, but that’s certainly not an argument for it being harmless!

Long term Marijuana use has been strongly associated with psychosis, and early onset and more severe schitzophrenia. If you look at this article (http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/186_07_020407/deg11127_fm.html#0_CACHJHAF) it tells you that in Australia, 60% of hospital treatments for drug-induced psychosis in teenagers are due to cannabis use. I would argue that anything which can cause psychosis NOT harmless.

Liza on

You know, smokin some bud just doesnt bother me. I’m not saying that I personally are taking bong hits or anything at this moment, but I was a highschooler, and I smoked pot
(nothing else, EEVVEERR) But who hasnt experimented? Think of all the people in the world who partied in the 60’s and 70’s and smoked weed and are hard workers and decent members of society. You have one life to live people, lets not get bent out of shape. I grew up with a father who smokes weed. AND?

Yes, it is illegal but why? Think of how much hemp we could grow locally, and the uses of it? We wouldnt have to rely on other resources from other countries? We used to grow lots of hemp here, until the US decided it was illegal and it made our teenagers act nuts… or for other reasons that I feel are part of a whole big conspiracy, but thats besides the point.

I use Hempz hair and body products that are THC free, and I feel like there are many other uses for the plant besides getting high. http://www.hempzhaircare.com

People need to lighten up, to each their own!

Robin M. on

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I’m just surprised that she spoke so candidly about it, since people get so uppity and self-righteous about this topic (see comments above).

Kim on

I think marijuana use is just plain stupid. Since when is taking drugs okay? Aren’t we meant to teach our kids NOT to take them? Marijuana is a mind altering drug, changes who you are and how you act. I’ve never seen anything more stupid then someone whacked off pot really. Sitting there giggling and totally demeaning themselves. It really shows a lack of intelligence if thats what you do for fun. My husband used to do it heavily when I first met him. Since the birth of our son/our wedding he has completely quit. This also lead him to quit smoking cigarettes as well because he didn’t have the weed influence keeping the smoking going. He only started cigarettes due to weed as well and used to be paranoid and in a permanent state of being a totally different person whenever I’d see him. I don’t know why anybody would rather change who they are that way. There are also scientific proof of links to schizophrenia through pot. It does screw your brain up no matter what anybody says, I’ve seen too many people on it to know otherwise.
On the legal aspect, why advertise that her son is doing something illegal? That’s another thing, why teach your kids that breaking the law is okay? The law is there for a reason. That’s just my two cents worth anyway.

preesi on

Lauralee and everyone who said that POT is a Gateway drug?
Cigarettes are the Gateway drug!
Kids try cigarettes FIRST, then Beer or Wine, then they try pot!

no one thinks for themselves anymore!

The Gov’t keeps pot illegal cause everyone would use it and NOT Alcohol and since you can grow your own they wouldnt be making any money off of Alcohol taxes!

Cindy on

Luna — from what I understand it doesn’t CAUSE psychosis, it just happens to bring it to the forefront if it’s underlying.

Lauralee on

Sure Ericka, everyone one of us does the wrong thing. We break the laws, we make mistakes.Everyday. Absolutely. That doesn’t mean we brag about it, or pretend it isn’t harmful, and encourage it to continue. We’re supposed to learn from our mistakes and try to pass on what we’ve learned to prevent our kids from making the same. It doesn’t matter that they may not listen. We have an obligation to try.

Mj is addictive, it’s a gateway drug. As long we’re being so honest and upfront, let’s tell the whole truth and not just the cool parts. Drug use of any kind can indeed affect many many other peoples lives in a negative way. It is not simply a personal choice that no one else is touched by.

As parents we’re supposed to try to set a good example, and own up to our mistakes when we fall short. We don’t excuse ourselves by saying, “Well I did it, so I can’t tell my kids not to”. That’s a cop-out. It’s easier to remain on the sidelines (feigning understanding & objectivity) in denial by claiming as long as we do it out in the open there’s no harm done. Doing it in your own home is not safer, it just starts the ball rolling, makes it acceptable and so commomplace that kids won’t bother to be cautious and responsible when they are away from home. Drugs like mj affect the mind and alter one’s ability to make sound decisions even if they want to.

Barkin is in the public eye. People do listen to her like it or not. She does have influence. She’s free to conduct her personal life as she sees fit. So she should keep her private life private then, and not bait the press with her attention-grabbing comments designed to elevate her public status.

And Cindy, yes you certainly did misunderstand my comments about how drugs can lead to unplanned pregnancies along with a myriad of other problems. That was just one of many problems that can come about. Drugs like MJ cloud your judgement just as alcohol does. One’s thought and decision-making process is hampered under their influence. It’s a dangerous diservice to encourage purely recreational use of any drug especially to young vulnerable people. These drugs hurt more than just the user. They can hurt entire families.

Yes most will experiment and many will not become addicted or do any serious harm to themselves or others, but man, would you push a kid into the deep end of a pool because well, he’s had a few swimming lessons and sink or swim, he’s gotta learn sometime? Why encourage it?

sarawara on

Serious name calling going on here. Anyone moderating?

CBB Note: Of course. There was one sheep comment that was removed — no ‘serious name calling’ though. What were you concerned with?

Γ‰milie on

I have a lot of friends who are addictive to marijuana and it’s not funny at all. Yeah smoking some pot once in a while is okay, but it can become a very serious problem, you can be addictive, it’s a drug. My mom is a psychologist and she has a lot of patients these days who are addictive to pot and they can’t work anymore, because all day long they want to smoke. It’s not like in the 70, pot isn’t that natural anymore. I think she is an irresponsible parent, but that’s my opinion.

I’m sorry if I have made mistakes, I’m french;)

Lauralee on

It’s Ellen’s choice yes, but that choice affects more than just her own family. It can become everyone’s business. For those who say casual use is harmless, ok, but how do you know how it will manifest itself once it begins? You have no idea where it will lead. Why endorse it to begin with, and support further use by pretending it’s no big deal? It’s one thing to be truthful about your own past indiscretions, it’s quite another to place the gun in their hands to see what they might do with it. Honesty should be encouraged. It’s unwise to run a household with an iron fist where kids are afraid to talk to their parents, but certainly that doesn’t mean you should condone drug use.

Grow up. Be the parent, not your baby’s best friend. Seems to me parents are afraid of looking old and unhip so they gotta be cool. The reality is you have an obligation to set an example not win a popularity contest. You’re not doing you’re children any favors by treating drug use as a fashion trend.

Who cares? It’s her business? You’ll care when users get behind the wheel of a car, crash and kill your kid. You’ll care when your taxes go to pay for their housing, healthcare because they’re their brains are too fried to help themselves anymore. Even casual drug use can affect others lives. People who are casual marijuana users, know that the drug can be easily controlled. But, this is true of all drugs. Why promote any?

long-term consequences to smoking marijuana:

Someone who smokes marijuana regularly can have many of the same respiratory problems as cigarette smokers. Persistent coughing, symptoms of bronchitis and more frequent chest colds are possible symptoms. There are over 400 chemicals that have been found in marijuana smoke. Benzyprene, a known human carcinogen, is present in marijuana smoke. Regardless of the THC content, the amount of tar inhaled by marijuana smokers and the level of carbon monoxide are 3 to 5 times higher than in cigarette smoke. This is most likely due to inhaling marijuana more deeply, holding the smoke in the lungs and because marijuana smoke is unfiltered.

Memory and learning:

Recent research shows that regular marijuana use compromises the ability to learn and to remember information by impairing the ability to focus, sustain, and shift attention. One study also found that long-term use reduces the ability to organize and integrate complex information.
In addition, marijuana impairs short-term memory and decreases motivation to accomplish tasks, even after the high is over. In one study, even small doses impaired the ability to recall words from a list seen 20 minutes earlier.


Long-term marijuana use suppresses the production of hormones that help regulate the reproductive system. For men, this can cause decreased sperm counts and very heavy users can experience erectile dysfunction. Women may experience irregular periods from heavy marijuana use. These problems would most likely result in a decreased ability to conceive but not lead to complete infertility.
short-term dangers of smoking marijuana
 Impaired memory and ability to learn
 Difficulty thinking and problem solving
 Anxiety attacks or feelings of paranoia
 Impaired muscle coordination and judgment
 Increased susceptibility to infections
 Dangerous impairment of driving skills. Studies show that it impairs braking time, attention to traffic signals and other driving behaviors.
 Cardiac problems for people with heart disease or high blood pressure, because marijuana increases the heart rate

marijuana addictive:

No one would argue that marijuana is as addictive as alcohol or cocaine. However, it’s wrong to say that it is not at all addictive. More and more studies are finding that marijuana has addictive properties. Both animal and human studies show physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms from marijuana, including irritability, restlessness, insomnia, nausea and intense dreams. Tolerance to marijuana also builds up rapidly. Heavy users need 8 times higher doses to get the same effects as infrequent users.

For a small percentage of people who use it, marijuana can be highly addictive. It is estimated that 10% to 14% of users will become heavily dependent. More than 120,000 people in the US seek treatment for marijuana addiction every year. Because the consequences of marijuana use can be subtle and insidious, it is more difficult to recognize signs of addiction. Cultural and societal beliefs that marijuana cannot be addictive make it less likely for people to seek help or to get support for quitting.
Because THC is fat soluble and remains in the body for up to 3 weeks, it’s important to remember that withdrawal symptoms might not be felt immediately.

How do you know how you or your child will react to it? Why take that first step? Why promote it as harmless?

Lauren on

Amen, Lauralee. I wonder how long it will take for the comments telling you to educate yourself on the realities of marajuana and not be a “sheep” to pop up again?

And Ericka, since YOU apparently want to get technical, I will do the same and ask that you refrain from accusing everyone on this board that you don’t know anything about of engaging in illegal activity on a daily basis. I for one did not engaged in any of the activities you mentioned today, and despite your offer, I ask that you not speak on my behalf. The fact that you are unable to come up with a more mature argument than accusing total strangers of illegal activity and saying that no crime is worse than any other (Thank God most people don’t share your logic; running a stop sign and murdering someone are hardly equal in terms of seriousness) is sad.

Tonya on

There are way too many laws in the world to remember them all. If he does pot, then the boy just does pot! Its not like you all are there to actually stop him. And even if you were there? Do you think he would still stop? No! Marijuana is legal in some states. Alcohol and cigarettes does more to the body then pot. True they may have the same dangerous effect. But alcohol and cigarettes are the real damage here. The only problem with the comment that Ms. Barkin says is the fact that she used to smoked with her family like it was nothing.

Thats just weird to me.

Lauralee on

As I mentioned in an earlier post, just because there’s a good chance he won’t listen to you doesn’t absolve you of your duty to be a responsible parent and warn your kids that drugs are dangerous, using any example you can.

And your own previous drug use does not make you a hypocrite. It’s a prime opportunity to tell your kids that you were young & stupid once too, you were lucky to survive, and you don’t want them to play Russian roulette like you did. You can cite friends and loved ones (we all have them) who were not so fortunate.

If they want to experiment anyway (which is likely) at least you fulfilled your responsibilty as a parent by being honest & truthful in trying to prevent them from making mistakes instead of overindulging them within such a dangerous denial.

Alcohol, cigarettes, they’re dangerous, and are indeed gateway drugs as well no doubt about that. Educate your children about them too by all means. But keep the blinders on by minimizing mj’s dangers and it will be all people need to ignore the true facts. It gives users the false impression that they are not in any significant danger and they’ll continue to use. They can become addicted over time (some very quickly) and in the meantime they damage their body & brain in small doses.

In the process they limit their scope, & waste their lives and those of others around them, (to various degrees) creating a damaging cycle of abuse and apathy.

Xan on

Thank you for all those great facts! I am a 23 year old woman and I have NEVER and will never do marijuana or any other illegal substance, smoke cigarettes/cigars, etc., or get drunk. I’m always the “uncool” one among my friends, and I have been disgusted to the point of wanting to scream when I’ve heard from a few friends that they smoke with their parents. How utterly irresponsible!

I trust hard, clear, medical facts over the hippy masses’ rants about how “safe” marijuana is. And trust me, I’m no conservative.

Thanks again for these facts which I think more people should learn and disseminate to their peers.


esperanza on


mom4bob on

This is so insane! LOL Am I the only CBB reader who read Ms. Barkin’s comments and laughed at what I assumed was simply a smart-ass answer to the interviewer?

mom4bob on

Oh yeah, I forgot my own smart-ass comment…

Ellen, you’re supposed to EAT the bitter herbs during Passover, not smoke them!