I recently attended a local concert with a friend. As we walked towards the outdoor venue the couple in front of us shared a joint during the entire 15 minute walk, and made no attempt to hide it from 2 police officers directing traffic as they walked by. Once inside we joined friends on the lawn first down in front then later farther up the hill. Two things struck me as I sat enjoying the company of my friends. One was the number of young children wandering around our immediate area (toddlers up to about age 10), a little surprising for an 80’s English rock band with a slightly older demographic. The other surprising fact was the amount of marijuana around me. In our first spot on the lawn there were about 5 of 6 groups surrounding us (if you have ever seen a popular concert on the lawn you know how close you are to your neighbors). Every group was smoking despite some having small kids with them. About 30 minutes later we met up with a larger group of friends quite a distance away but also on the lawn and found the same scenario. Small kids surrounded by pot smoke.
Shortly before the show began we left the lawn and took our amazing 8TH row seats. At first I was relieved that the area seemed smoke free since I really don’t like the smell of it, especially after being surrounded by it for the past hour. But as soon as the show began the groups behind and on both sides of us lit up. The show, and the smoking, lasted for 3 hours. There were 3 tweens in front of us breathing it in the entire time and I thought of my own 14 year old daughter who has started to ask to go to concerts. I was glad that she wasn’t there with me.
Whether you believe pot should be legal (or not), whether you smoke it (or not), it is still illegal in Maryland. I was disappointed that the venue doesn’t enforce their own “no smoking” rules posted on their website. As a mom, I worried about the kids I saw at the show breathing it in for hours on end and even more so for the kids I saw on the lawn watching adults around them doing bong hits. Other than leaving the concert and being out hundreds of dollars in tickets or leaving their kids at home I’m not sure what parents can do. I’ve been to lots of concerts over the years and there has always been pot but I have never seen it as prevalent as I did at this show and I have never seen parents doing it in front of their kids. After speaking to friends who have had similar concert experiences at all types of concerts, I think it is safe to say that if you bring your kids to a concert you can expect for them to be exposed to drug use and second hand marijuana smoke, and when you attend you should know that chances are you’ll be sitting in the middle of it as well.