In almost every group of friends, there was that one kid whose parents were much cooler than yours — the ones who had no rules, no curfews, a fully stocked liquor cabinet that was never locked, and maybe even their own stash of old people weed that you could pinch buds from. And if you don’t know who that kid was in your group of friends, then chances are it was probably you.
Usually, though, that parent isn’t Johnny Depp. If you’ve always dreamt of Jack Sparrow being your dad, here’s another reason why what would have been awesome.
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Johnny Depp supplied weed to his then-13-year-old daughter when she wanted to try it for the first time and told a British court he believes he was being a “responsible parent.”
During his libel suit against the Sun on Tuesday, Depp denied a claim that he was “encouraging” his now-21-year-old daughter Lily-Rose Depp’s use of marijuana, and said that he instead was “involved in” her decision to smoke cannabis, in order to protect her.
The Evening Standard reported that Depp told the court that “My daughter was 13-years-old and as we all know at 11, 12, and 13-years-old when you go to a high school party you are approached by people who will want to give you drink because they are drinking at 12 and 13, doing cocaine at 12 and 13, and smoking marijuana at 12 and 13, doing ecstasy and doing many many drugs”, he said in court in the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
“My daughter was at a party, and someone passed the joint to her. She was just 12, and she said she didn’t know what to do. “I said, ‘listen, sweetheart, if you are at a party and someone hands you the joint, take the joint from the person and pass it to the next person. Please don’t experiment with drugs with people you don’t know’.”
According to Depp, he was afraid that the weed could be laced with other drugs and asked Lilly-Rose to come to him instead, and he would give her some of his own stash. “Please, please, when you are really at the moment in your life when you are passed the joint, and you really want to try it, I said please do me the honor of coming to me when you are ready, and you really feel you are ready.”
“I don’t want your first experience to be with people you don’t know, taking things you don’t know, that you don’t trust,” he told his daughter.
“It’s a safety issue, it’s a father worried about his daughter in this kind of situation when she came and said ‘we are ready.’”
“I know the most important thing for a child if you are going to do something like that – I would rather have them be honest with me and me be honest with them, so she doesn’t go out there and do things and hide them from me.”
“I want her to trust me. If my daughter says she was ready, she was ready. I wanted to make sure the settings were perfection, put on family TV, fill the refrigerator with ice cream, fill the freezer, make a situation where the experience is as pleasant as possible.”
“I don’t want a 13-year-old going into some sort of paranoid tailspin. I knew the marijuana I had myself, that I smoked myself, is trustworthy and good quality.” Depp said, according to the Evening Standard.
He also told the barrister (that’s British for “lawyer”) that “If this is wrong in your eyes, I appreciate what you think but I was raising a daughter, and I was being a responsible parent so far as I’m concerned.”
There’s something refreshing about this moment of honesty and clarity from Depp. He didn’t try to deny what he did and presented a compelling argument from the standpoint of a caring parent. Depp also showed a celebrity example of a very common school of parenting that many pot smokers – and children of pot smokers – have experienced firsthand.
It’s the one that says “I know my kid is going to be smoking weed anyway, I know they’ll be out drinking and raising hell, I might as well let them do it at home, where at least I know they’re safe and won’t get arrested, ripped off, drugged, or worse.”
There is a very clear logic to this approach, and while many would see it as a dereliction of discipline, an abdication of your responsibilities as a parent, it’s also a clear recognition of the fact that you know your child will be engaging in all types of dangerous activities with drugs and alcohol years before their brains are fully developed, and if you can’t stop it, maybe you can at least contain it in a safe place.
But as anyone who has had a teenage child (or was a teenager themself) can tell you, when you give an inch, they’ll often take your whole arm and try to smoke it. And often, when parents say “if you’re going to do drugs then I hope you do it at home where you’re safe,” it creates a situation where their house becomes the party house, the one everybody goes to when they skip school, break curfew, or need a place to sleep it off when they’re too drunk.
Like the needle park in Zurich or other non-enforcement zones, it can create a sort of free for all where good intentions collide with the unbridled appetites and poor judgment of teenagers.
But like Depp, those parents have their hearts in the right place.
Captain Jack Sparrow’s marijuana parenting moment also brings another reality to mind, one that often falls on deaf ears when it comes to law enforcement, teachers, child-protective services, and celebrity ex-wives: Most of us parents are making this up as we go along.
We are terrified and don’t know what we’re doing, and are just trying against all odds to keep our kids safe for as long as we have any say in the matter.
Now, if anyone knows further details about Johnny Depp’s weed, please shoot us an email.