Getting Rid of the Stigma, "Stiletto Stoner" Style

by Delia Pratico (at right with Anne Davis, Esq. on left.  Extra hyperlinks by “Radical” Russ.)
When I first read the article entitled “Stiletto Stoners” in Marie Claire magazine this month, I thought, “Wow, I can’t believe they’re talking about this ‘taboo’ subject.” The article dives into the lives of young professional women who enjoy smoking marijuana at the end of a long work day.
These are the women who are choosing to smoke a “plant” to relax instead of downing a vodka martini or a Xanax. These are the women who are making the smarter “safer” choice. Many women would rather take a few puffs of cannabis and feel great the next day instead of being hung over from alcohol, or groggy from prescription medications that doctors give out like candy (both being completely legal).
I have been an activist with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws for about a year. During this past year, one thought that always lingered in my head was, “how can we end the stigma surrounded by marijuana?” You know the old sayings “pot head” “Rastafarian” “lazy stoner”.
Our opponents of the marijuana law reform movement use these stigmas to their advantage which is most likely why half of them are still around. They advertise slogans such as “smoke pot and you can become a burrito taste tester” or “a couch potato remote controller specialist.” They are basically implying that if you smoke pot you will amount to nothing and become a loser “pot head” who can’t accomplish anything in life. Really? So how is it that young professional women in powerful positions with tons of responsibility can smoke marijuana and still work 12 hour days? Doesn’t make much sense does it? So why is there still this stigma about marijuana? Because professional women around the country have not “come out of the closet.” It’s not often that you see a typical “pot head” wearing “stilettos.”
Women are so “hush hush” about using marijuana because of two basic fears; losing their jobs and facing criminal prosecution. I am surrounded by my close female friends who are all in their mid-twenties and just starting their careers. These are women who are teachers, managers, nurses, and even some who work for the local, state, and federal governments. Although they all wholeheartedly support ending marijuana prohibition they all fear coming out and saying so. Most of them fear that if they speak out the authorities will be after them or they will get fired because of it. It takes a lot of courage for young professional women to come out of the closet, which is why in the Marie Claire article the names of the women in the stories were changed. Although this article is a huge step in the right direction because it spreads awareness of marijuana prohibition, we still need more women to come forward.
Fortunately, I don’t need courage to come out of the closet. I don’t have the two basic fears most women do. I work as a paralegal for an attorney (also a “Stiletto Stoner” and a member of NORML’s legal committee). That being said, the first fear for me is completely moot. Now I wouldn’t say I have no fear of criminal prosecution because that would be naïve, but it does ease your nerves working in the legal profession and knowing your rights. As a member of the NORML organization, I know I have some of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country on my side. So for me it doesn’t take courage. I’m proud to be able to put a name and face to the “Stiletto Stoners” and to be fighting against the War on Drugs.
There are women in the marijuana law reform movement who are professionals, mothers, grandmothers, patients and even retired law enforcement. Cheers to them all for having enough courage to come out and stand up for their rights, our rights, and the rights of our future generations. Ladies, lets all come out of the closet to end this stigma associated with marijuana and end marijuana prohibition for good!
Delia Pratico
Board of Directors, NORML NJ
(National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws New Jersey)
(Russ adds: What do you think of the term “Stiletto Stoners”? Discuss it in the comments and vote on our poll at the Daily Audio Stash.)

0 thoughts


  2. I just wanted to state I am a full time nurse and working towards my Administration degree at the present moment and I fully back your take on women in the workplace who do smoke marijuana here and there to relax, yet still manage to live a functioning, successful life. Thank You for working to reform marijuana laws and giving us hard working ladies a stand.

  3. you know, this thing with women being sucessful in life is nothing new for me. or the fact that many of these fine ladies are intelligent enough to enjoy cannabis after a long hard day at the office. i personally never doubted that women were making a difference in this world and, that they have good sense to use the good stuff rather then deal with the hangovers….whats good is that they’re speaking up for a great cause. a great enhancement of life. hopefully, others who dont know about its true effects will learn from the good ladies personal choices.

  4. I am 47 yr old female who smokes pot, well, actually I like to eat it raw like a bunny rabbit with a salad but i’ve been smokin’ for 31 yrs. I’ve done many horrible experimental hard drugs, drank like a fish, and the only mind-altering substance I consider safe to continue to ingest is cannabis. If you eat it the “mind altering” thing is so very minimal it’s practically non-existant unless you know what you’re looking for, but even smoking it, just take a hit or 2 and it’s not like you’re all stoned out like the classic stereo-type stoner. You’re just nice and relaxed – not out of touch with reality at all. I’d never consider myself in mainstream work force cuz I work at home doing medical transcription, but I do still have to interact somewhat with others, also having a 10 yr old son in local elementary school (the fear of having “The Man” taking your kid away – shame on them), and I’m pretty sure nobody looks askance on me like i’m some kind of deviant doper. Nobody knows what I do & I’m not tellin’. I do manage to take care of a job out of my own home, keep all the bills paid, help pay for my oldest kid’s grad school, still remember my 5th grade math so i can help my youngest kid w/homework … yep and i use marijuana. I love it, it is a wonderful gift from our earth – nonsmokers don’t get “it” – and it makes them scared – but if enough of us can band together or whatever it takes we can show them how harmless and wonderful it is – like mint or coffee or chocolate – other cool awesome plants we ingest. There’s enough written scientific and scholarly proof that cannabis is harmless and also very useful in so many ways – we should all just keep speaking out – we shouldn’t have to be scared. I hate being a scaredy cat, that is so annoying. Be brave sisters – don’t give up the good fight. It’s time for all the rest of us civil righters – gay people, pot users, whoever else is oppressed for some stupid reason to be free too – enlightenment must fill everybody’s minds. spread it like peanut butter. thank you.

  5. Delia: Well put. The fear of coming out of the “green closet” applies to both genders, though. I am a federal employee, and a member of my state NORML chapter. I have a few friends where I work who also blaze up, and obviously, we support legalization. I hear from some of them that there are many more, but no one wants to speak up. Sometimes I blaze up before work. It makes looking at endles spreadsheets tolerable. What would be interesting would be who would come out of this green closet when legalization should occur.

  6. Well the last time I wore heels of any sort was in my sister’s wedding almost 20 years ago, so for me the word “stiletto” conjures up something painful and awkward, but I also appreciate the motor control it takes to walk gracefully in those, so that again negates the myth that smoking pot impairs coordination and motor control.
    The word “stiletto” also for me conjures up female authority, denotes someone of high responsibility, someone who (unlike this stoner) is willing to put comfort aside in favor of professional image.
    I think the term also makes reference to feet, which conjures up images of someone marching forward, someone empowered.
    It’s also a bit edgy, bold, as are the women who have taken a stand and come out of the closet.
    I promise as soon as I’m self-employed I’ll come out of the closet publicly, and I actually kind of did at a recent professional conference when I asked the presenter about the use of medical marijuana in the context of a discussion on holistic medicine and use of herbal remedies.
    His response (this is a highly recognized psychiatrist mind you) was that we have taken a beautiful plant with some wonderful uses and demonized it and turned it into something terrible by driving it uinderground and putting it in the hands of violent drug traffickers. He also commented on how “mindfully” I hade phrased my question, so the main point was not lost on him!

  7. Perhaps the ladies would be interested in knowing that compounds in the cannabis plant can prevent Breast Cancer from Matastasizing(spreading). Perhaps they might like to see REAL research into the curative properties of this plant. I have used Cannabis Oil to treat, and cure 9 skin cancer lesions on my head, neck, and face. This prooves to me that there IS cancer curing compounds in the cannabis plant. I believe that if the fed gov would lift its rediculous restrictions on research into this plants ability to cure cancer, a means would be found that would allow a woman with breast cancer to simply take a pill, or have a long needle inserted into her breast, directly into the malignint tumor. The appropriate amount of these compounds would be injected, the needle withdrawn, and an alcohol wipe of the puncture site, with a band-aid applied would be preferable to having a doctor hack her breast off. I know that I find the oral consumption of cannabis oil preferable to having my prostrate chopped out, leaving me wearing a diaper, and never being able to get it up again.

  8. Great. thats all fine and dandy. now, if anyone knows where to get a job to legalize—please let me know. i wrote letters, sent resumes, etc,.- to no avail. and yes, i used proper english where capitalization was needed (im lazy with it otherwise).
    Frankly, i think the article is crap. All it says is that a lot of people smoke pot and not so surprisingly, females do it while making money….whatever. whats new.
    legalize now.

  9. I can’t tell you how happy I am that, for once, Marie Clare actually produced an article that might actually get the women who read it to THINK about something important for a change! HOWEVER, I can’t help but be annoyed by the title “Stiletto Stoners.” I don’t like the title for reasons that have nothing to do with cannibus use. I’m annoyed by the title because of the fact that it perpetuates another stereotype; that intelligent, driven, hardworking women must wear Stiletto’s rather than, oh, I don’t know…another type of shoe that doesn’t destroy feet (but DAMN they make our legs look long and sexy, don’t they, ladies? *that’s sarcasm you sense*). Call me what you will, but I cannot help but be annoyed by that. I feel that, as cannibus users, we are all subject to negative stereotypes. As such, I feel that it is our responsibility to call out all stereotypes when we see them, or else our fight for legalization and true freedom is only half hearted. In short, other than the title which perpetuates a stereotype, I think the article is great and we need more like it (but not EXACTLY like it lol).

  10. Women have always played a major role in the struggle for personal freedom in this country. So I find it quite fitting that these fine women have stepped up to the plate to take on that role as leaders for a repeal of this terrible prohibition. I wish them all the best.

  11. Ditto, this nation has to wake up and stop using 1920’s propaganda to label people, especially when the usual “stoner” stereotypes are completely ludicrous. Forget personal stories, successful or otherwise, the truth to this article is how can we judge anyone, even if they sit around and use marijuana all day, for personal consumption without harming anyone else. (including themselves due to the harmless and now scientifically beneficial effects attributable to ganja) It is time for freedom in action and not mantra. You want to be a lazy, couch potato? Fine. You want to be a rocket scientist? Fine. It’s your choice, marijuana has nothing to do with it. Be, think, and LIVE, FREE.

  12. #14 – chuck taylor: There needs to be a WOW factor in all of this. Perhaps a gut wrenching, heart breaking story of how prohibition has ruined a persons life ——- followed by a highly visible success story of how cannabis has enhanced an overly educated, successful persons life.
    Complete visuals with poster size pictures starting with the sad story, followed by facts, then the success story, followed by facts.
    Then we can get into the “financial” benefits of legalizing cannabis.

  13. But do (they) being successful, have random drug screens thats the big question here,an only because thats what cathes most people up as far as the o’l going down hill effect. Losing job,house car or cars,and or etc.

  14. I like the title, to me it says the image of the zonked female at the mercy of those around her (past teen anti-drug commercials) is not the image of the adult female who is actually making a better choice with her “chill” vice.
    I think most women who have partaken of both would say that alcohol has more vulnerability potential than MJ. All of the lies need to be countered.
    And #18, I agree…can’t go around arresting people simply because they are couch potatoes.

  15. I like the idea of helping society’s perspective on pot culture. I believe that some people may have misconstrued the personalities of marijuana smokers partially due to some media hype. All I’m going to say right now is that I’m a young college student with a 4.0 average. I have received promotions in the workplace of a technical field and the bottom line is that I’ve never had or experienced any problems whatsoever…

  16. Hey Delia and Ann,
    What a great photo of you guys! From all of our phone conversations I think you know my position on this issue. But I’ll post our office response. I’m looking forward to working with you both over the next several months.
    Cheryl Shuman
    Our Position:
    Intrigue abounds with the Stiletto Stoners’ media phenomenon. Cannabis has captured the attention of the world. It’s my job as the Executive Director for Beverly Hills NORML90210 to rip the door open to the closets of the REAL women behind the Marijuana Reform movement. The time is now to take a stand and make a change but boldly coming “out of the closet”.
    We as a modern society can fiscally improve our budget by moving cannabis from the criminal sector into the lawful sector. This is not a left or right issue–it’s really common sense and Government can do good things.
    I am asked all the time about marijuana being a gateway drug and the corruption of our youth. Actually, you know who is opposed to the legalization of marijuana are the drug dealers and it is their margins that will be going down. It’s an incentive for them to prey on our sons and daughters.
    The cannabis movement is not just the Stiletto Stoners, not just medical marijuana patients and not just the stereotypical dead head from the 70s. It’s a broad cross section of Americans.
    …..Cheryl Shuman, Executive Director
    Beverly Hills NORML 90210
    Beverly Hills
    NORML 90210 (Coming Soon)
    Board of Directors:
    Cheryl Shuman, Executive Director
    Jacek Lentz, Esq. Deputy Director
    Sabrina LaBow, Director of Communications
    Frederic Rhoades, Treasurer & Director of Operations
    Aimee Nicole, Secretary & Celebrity Relations

  17. I have often ruminated on an idea of a “Pot smoker registry” where people who are willing to come out of the closet and say to the world that they smoke pot, and pay some kind of monthly fee. The monthly fee of all the members would go to pay for legal representation for any member busted for a non-violent marijuana offense.
    Problem is, right now there is no real motivation to come forward. I have, to a limited extent, by actively posting articles from NORML to facebook, and now my friends and family all have a pretty good idea of what I do. Even my coworkers have a good idea what I do, and my office actively drug tests employees (both with probable cause and randomly).
    If we really want people to come forward, there must be some protections for those that do
    [Russ responds: Take a look at Mikki Norris’s Cannabis Consumers Campaign for starters…]

  18. Bravo! Information is power. The mainstream media can no longer demonize the use of marijuana as they once did. Science clearly contradicts the nonsense government has historically fed to the public. Notable public figures (e.g. Barack Obama and Mike Bloomberg) have shared their personal views that smoking pot is normal.
    I am successful finance professional living in NYC. I am proud to say I have been “stiletto stoner” for close to a decade. I hope this type of media coverage continues and helps bring about much needed reform.

  19. #24 just to let you know its called freedom of speech we should all be able to speak out about cannabis n not be afraid of losing our jobs

  20. I enjoyed your article very much; it is very important for those able to look at the cannabis issue with objectivity and intelligence to speak their mind about it. However, it is equally important to know that even the ‘lazy potheads’ are citizens with equal rights to choose to do nothing but sit on the couch: this country’s fundamental principle is that individual right is superlative to the machinations of society as a whole. Two of my best friends spend almost every waking hour in front of a computer screen, smoking grass and eating doughnuts (among other tasty treats), and isn’t their freedom as important as an attorney who lights up? Not to say that the ‘lazy stoners’ contribute nothing to le bien commun; right now those two friends, smoking and snacking away, one is coding and modeling cell structure at the forefront of the fight to cure AIDS, and the other is forging new encryption methods to provide entirely secure communication, a necessity for a free society.
    Last but not least, ‘Rastafarian’ is not a pejorative for a lazy, dreaded pothead. It is a strong and rich culture of faith, and sect of Christianity far removed from the hate-mongering filth-swilling right-wing mess of that religion in our country.
    So in short, I agree with and support your call to safely out the professional, socially acceptable people who also indulge in marijuana, for it is crucial to defeating prohibition. But not at the expense of those that visibly fall straight into the category of potheads whose lives will amount to nothing. We’re all in this together. And remember, a red-eyed hophead hunched over his donut-crumbed keyboard can contribute as much or more to society as any suit.
    [Russ responds: Very well put, Laurence. As a red-eyed stoner hunched over my Cheetos-crumbed keyboard cranking out 10-to-20,000 words and 45 minutes of audio every day in support of cannabis re-legalization, I salute you! 😉 ]

  21. GREAT POST . . single mother of a four yr old daughter who works full time as a customer service manager in the nutraceutical industry and presently over 3yrs at this job and i am PROUD to be a smoker. Although Stiletto’s arent really my style, strong independent females are my pack of peers.

  22. 60 year old female used pot since I was 21. Completed college degree and certified Graphoanalyst. Used to drink but never really liked it. Now use pot for medical reasons, arthritis, fibromyalgia.
    Becoming more active because I am tired of having to worry about getting busted. Had been using the same provider for last 20 years but he recently died. Now afraid of having to trust other people to get me my medicine.

  23. More Food for Thought
    Our Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments of the United States Constitution, our very contract with our government employees curbs all three branches of government employees from acting as tyrants. It subjects all departments of government (our employees) to a rule of law and sets boundaries beyond which no official (employee) may go. It emphasizes that in this country a person walks with dignity and without fear or it’s government (employees), that people need not grovel before an all powerful government / the hired help.
    The Constitution is not primarily designed to protect majorities, who are usually able to protect themselves, but rather it is designed to preserve and protect the rights of the individuals and minorities against arbitrary actions of those in authority – (our employees / hired help).
    Every person who, (is an employee) under color of any statue, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage thereof, of any state or territory, subjects or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States (employers) or other person to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the constitution and laws, shall be liable to the injured in an action at law, equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.
    Therefore Government Agents Beware! To ALL and ANY of those in government jobs / hired or elected employees alike, you all are hereby given this public notice by at least one of your employers that your continuos unlawful behavior in the enforcement of the unconstitutional cannabis laws will hold you personally liable under U.S.C. Title 42 1983. Beware that a Class Action U.S.C. Title 42 1986 thru 1986 suit is being prepared at this time against all conspirators and co-conspirators who have acted and continue to create harmful injury by unlawfully abrogating the inalienable rights secured and retained by the United States People. Further Beware that “I’m just doing my job” statements will not protect you from being found liable under the Color of Law by a Jury of your Peers.
    To my PEERS, fellow citizens it is time to act. It is time that we all start to put this government on notice. That if they can not pull their heads out of our ass we must do it ourselves. We must warn them that we can and will take each everyone of these agents of government to Court. We can act through our Courts and our peers will decided this issue not the government. It is time for each and everyone of you to start the process of putting this government on notice. After that we can attack this government in the Courts and they can do nothing to stop it. We are in control, the veil has been lifted, the wool pulled back from our eyes. It is time, It is time and we must not waste it. Each and everyone of us must push now, together we must push at the local and national levels. We are united and we have told no lies, it is the government that lacks foundation in this issue of cannabis. It is they who built this fraud upon one lie after another. It is time, so will you strike with me and the others who have suffered at the hands of these unlawful employees? Send them their notice and let the shit fly.

  24. As a college graduate (University of Michigan ’83) 49-year old caucasian,Republican Lutheran, who would rather smoke than drink, I am relieved to find out there are other women out there like me! At the end of the day, when I’ve worked eight hours, the children are in bed, lunches packed, homework complete, laundry finished, personal correspondence answered, I must say I DO enjoy settling down with a bowl, the L.A. Times crossword puzzle, and some alternative rock….

  25. Seriously, how many of these “Stilleto Stoners” are there? This is just ONE article about a few women who (rather stupidly) admit and actually show themselves doing something illegal. There’s absolutely no reason for them to be doing this. Couldn’t they be drug-tested by their employer? This can easily come back to bite them in the ass! I can’t imagine a LAW firm wants a “criminal” working for them.
    The stigma will only go away if stoners go away. Not the people that occasionally use marijauna, but the idiots that can get out of bed unless they smoke. Which, I’m afraid, there are far too many of. When I think of motivating drugs, marijuana is probably in last place. It does, in fact, make people lazy and apathetic. It shuts your makes you drowsy and shuts your brain off, and you sit there like a god-damned vegetable. It certainly effects memory. The stigma is usually justified.
    That’s my experience with potheads, anyway. Legalize ALL drugs, NOT JUST MARIJUANA!
    Let’s be fair to people who prefer other intoxicants like psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, real LSD-25 (if you can find any!), and other ethneogens that have actually helped people in many ways. Marijuana is just a party drug, which is fine. But, you won’t learn anything from it. It’s not transcending or though-provoking. It’s only for people that want to “escape”, not be introspective.

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