How Do I Answer Stepmom’s Burning Questions About My Medical Marijuana Tab?

A woman's hands roll a marijuana joint.
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Dear Penny,

I’m a married mother of four crazy kids. I am a stay-at-home mom and basically have been for 10 years. (My oldest is 10.) My husband is the sole provider for our family of six. We have almost always been low income, and on welfare and other types of assistance.

Recently, I obtained my medical marijuana card for the state of New Mexico. Therefore, I have been spending a good amount on weed. My (evil) stepmother is always trying to “help” by getting all up in our money business, asking questions, planning our money out for us, and lecturing about what I should be doing with money and tax returns.

I just don’t know which route to take on this?!


Nine times out of 10, I’ll advise people to be open about their finances. I’d love to see us all come to a greater understanding of the ways we make choices to spend and save our money.

But you, my friend, are the exception. I get the distinct impression that your stepmother wouldn’t approve of your marijuana spending even if a dozen doctors and the surgeon general of the United States signed off on it.

So it’s time for a new normal. Sit down with your stepmother over a cup of coffee or tea, and lay down the new rules of your household.

“As the kids get older, we’ve decided to keep our financial decisions within our immediate family,” you could say, making it clear that the immediate family you speak of includes you, your husband and your children — not your stepmom.

Make it clear that you appreciate the advice she’s given over the years, but that you feel confident keeping this financial information to yourself going forward.

Then, if she brings up money in the future, you can simply say: “We’ve discussed this before, and I’d like to remind you that I’d prefer not to talk about my family’s finances with you. Please respect that choice.”

It helps if you’re not asking your stepmother about her own cash, which it sounds like you don’t give two hoots about anyway.

Be calm, but firm. Be kind, but firm. You can do this.

I also want to say a bit about your budgeting, given your recent medical changes. First, congratulations on taking this step for your health that can take a lot of bravery and hoop jumping. Next, it’s time to do some financial planning to make sure you can consistently afford the products that relieve your symptoms.

If you haven’t already, do some research about local nonprofit providers, strains that can help you best and products that work best for your lifestyle.

There’s no shame in asking your doctor or medical marijuana retailer how to get the biggest bang for your buck, so to speak. Continue that conversation on a regular basis, too. There may be new ways to get the relief you need while saving a few dollars along the way, and checking in with your health care team can ensure you’re getting the best possible treatment.

Have an awkward money dilemma? Send it to [email protected].

Disclaimer: Chosen questions and featured answers will appear in The Penny Hoarder’s “Dear Penny” column. I won’t be able to answer every single letter (I can only type so fast!). We reserve the right to edit and publish your questions. Don’t worry — your identity will remain anonymous. I don’t have a psychology, accounting, finance or legal degree, so my advice is for informational purposes only. I do, however, promise to give you honest advice based on my own insights and real-life experiences.