Because Women Are NORML Too – Part II


There’s an air of cognitive dissonance about it, that a woman, especially a nurturing, professional woman, could both smoke pot and not be Jim Breuer in Half Baked was, to many, a revelation.” Emily Dufton, The Atlantic (10/28/13)

Emily Dufton does an excellent job identifying the cultural challenges and social setbacks that are experienced by female cannabis consumers on a regular basis.  The issue of women and weed has become a hot topic recently, and being on the forefront of this push for female engagement has been nothing short of fascinating.  The emergence of independent, mainstream professional women becoming more outspoken about their cannabis use has prominently challenged traditional stereotypes, and started the long-overdue process of reframing gender norms.  As marijuana goes mainstream, its cultural connotations will continue to evolve.  In return, more women will feel comfortable coming out of the cannabis closet.

A little over 4 years ago, I wrote an aptly named blog; Because Women are NORML Too, in response to the overwhelming interest to Marie Claire’s famous Stiletto Stoners article.  In that post, I noted, “The normalization of recreational cannabis consumption is not just happening with men, which is what most people think of when they think of pot smokers.  Women, who are not necessarily left out of the movement, are rarely recognized as a major demographic that is essential for the reform effort to push forward in a truly legitimate fashion.”   It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come.

Since then, there has been a major effort on behalf of NORML and the movement to identify and close the gender gap.  Reformers are acutely aware that in order to succeed in ending blanket prohibition, female outreach has to be a key component to their advocacy work.  Women, a significant demographic were largely responsible for bringing down California’s Proposition 19, but were also a key factor in the passage of Washington and Colorado’s legalization initiatives in 2012.  In fact, campaigners in Colorado and Washington spent a significant amount of time and resources cultivating the female vote. Though a gender gap still exists nationwide, it is shrinking, fast.

While great strides have been made culturally and politically, there still remains a great deal of curiosity and intrigue surrounding female cannabis consumers.  Many want to know, who are these women who smoke pot?  Why do we smoke pot? Is it because we are sick or in pain, need a crutch or because we simply want to relax with a substance that has less side effects than alcohol?  Why don’t more of us speak out about it?  Why aren’t there more women leading the fight?  Can a responsible mom still smoke pot?  It’s truly amazing how a single chromosome can alter the entire construct and perception of a certain behavior.  One can write volumes on each of these questions, but the interest clearly comes from the disconnect of deeply rooted gender norms regarding women, intoxication, and our various roles in society.  Many of these abstract components have been mulled over time and again by different authors and publications.  But if we look at our current policies, some of these questions are answered in very real terms.

For example, a mother who chooses to unwind with a joint after her child has gone to bed is no more a danger to her child than one who chooses a glass of wine.  Yet, our laws say otherwise.  A mother who smokes pot is in constant danger of losing her children because child protective services maintain the false presumption that this behavior (or the mere presence of pot) poses a threat to the child’s safety.  This is just one example of how the culmination traditional gender norms and our current marijuana policies play a real and tragic role in our society.  The proliferation of government agencies across the country removing children from safe, loving homes for the mere fact that a parent is a cannabis consumer, even in states with a legal medical marijuana program, or where marijuana possession is no longer a criminal offense is not just an abstract discussion, but a tangible, legal issue that requires immediate attention and an expedited solution.  Support for marijuana legalization is higher than ever before, and as the political winds change, so too will the scope of the marijuana culture.  Women, and our relationship with marijuana will have political and social implications for years to come, and it is therefore up to us to make sure we take a leading role in defining what those outcomes will be.



24 thoughts

  1. i dunno? the peyote sweat lodges where for men only.

    The writers/ transcribers of the bible.The prophets, where men.

    I guess it’s up to women to break the traditions for the future.
    but like you where observing,the changing demographics of a higher female ratio are taking it over the tipping point…58%,wow, bring it on!

  2. “The proliferation of government agencies across the country removing children from safe, loving homes for the mere fact that a parent is a cannabis consumer, even in states with a legal medical marijuana program, or where marijuana possession is no longer a criminal offense” is a backlash to the increasing momentum in favor of legalizing marijuana and ending the failed Drug War, just like sudden recent proliferation of drug testing in areas where it never was before. They’re running scared and just lashing out desperately in any way they think might somehow extend their unearned and undeserved power and profit, or somehow stop and even reverse our momentum and circumvent their inevitable defeat.

    That’s not to say we should stop fighting, but let’s face it, they have forty years of entrenched power on their side right now, and while they still have it they’re going to throw it all in our faces. But the hilarious, hysterical desperation with which they are throwing it should make us very happy, because it’s yet more evidence that we are winning. Years ago, they didn’t even bother, as people on our side were just considered to be nothing but evil yet powerless stoners with no chance of ever making a dent in the All Powerful Drug War–and now they are desperate enough to try and stop us from being allowed to publicly make our case, as in the situation in Portland Maine where they wanted to keep the pro-legalization side from being allowed to advertise in favor of the legalization legislation. And they are certainly not above trying to lash out and punish anyone who uses MJ by threatening their children. That’s how failed authoritarian villains roll.

  3. I am a woman that has used MMJ both for my M.S. and now stage 3 lung cancer.I grow my own and use the dispencery when my plants wer’nt ready.It’s sad what the government ‘try’s to use aginst,family etc.I have alway’s stood up for myself and got a lot of flack for it.Very sad that now that I have unoperable lung cancer I don’t feel well enough to keep on working with the orginazion’s I once help out with.But I will keep on smoking my MMJ!

  4. Well said, @Demon, I am a “former father” whose children and spouse were “moved away” in 1975 by a consensus of grandparents (“We were afraid you would impose a marijuana culture on the children”).

    It occurred to me to suggest users can strengthen their position against such attack by being pro-active and getting their children cyber-literate even in the preschool years, which means knowing how to use search engines and research things independently.

    @Linda, you mention “smoking”, can you afford a Vaporizer? Plus, do you have a conscious pro-active health-regwenerating program for the four hours after a toke (Our Four Hour Tour– pronounce the Oh, You four different ways)– includes using a sip of water, swish it around a minute, to abstain from eating.

    Do Smooth Firm Gentle Massage Exercise, rub every inch of skin you can that doesn’t overtly hurt; get the arm exercise from using both hands; scrunch hip muscles when you massage nearby (reefer response reflex). Think the word “smooth” whenever in doubt. Think of your exercises as preparations for the active life after you regenerate and beat the cancer.

  5. Good for you Linda, don’t take any bull$h1t. Sadly my aunt passed away a couple of years ago from cancer. She expressed an interest in cannabis, but got brainwashed along the way, and died later in a morphine induced coma. I’m still boiling with rage. I feel like people naturally seek out the things that have the power to improve their quality of life, but these selfish automatons that don’t really fully grasp the meaning of the word “suffering” keep playing their social role-playing games. But at this point I think the anti-cannabis fascists are like a dead snake,twitching and lashing out at anything and nothing in particular.

  6. Just wanted to add something about the changing female demographic.
    Women(as nurturing mothers have been more impressionable to the media induced “drug war. because it was”for the children”. But the real question is–was it to protect the children or destroy the children,like in a real war? A mother that raises a child to get good grades and be a moral person could have their offsprings potential and future career possibilities decimated by a cannabis conviction,what is more harmful,smoking pot, sleeping it off and waking up too a fresh day with endless opportunities or waking up in jail and being exposed to all kinds of harm with a permanent record for future job references.
    The transformation of a child going into puberty and then developing into a awkward teenager is an easy target for the prohibitionist industries,and when a teenager becomes rebellious(that is a natural stage of development) the culture,hairstyles, music that is constantly changing with each generation is also seen and attributed to drug use-thus,confusing cause and effect. All the necessary ingredients for a perpetual war.

  7. Just wanted to add,that it doesn’t have to be a “perpetual war.

    Stay positive and vote them in or out at every opportunity.

  8. you don’t have to be a male to appreciate the benefits of responsible cannabis consumption, because personal experience teaches more than propaganda the truth about natural pain treatments.

  9. I am a woman I raised my kid an I smoke weed.I am a resposiable parent.I dont like alcohol.I use weed to relax just like a woman have in a glass of wine.its no different. Woman need to step out of the closet.I know many well respected woman some mothers others with big jobs an they all are weed smokers. It calms you an relaxes you an helps you to relax after a long day.i am all for using weed its safe an better than pills or alcohol.

  10. When my wife was Pregnant with our daughter she was experiencing nausea and all sorts of labor pains. So while we were visiting her parents in Mexico we saw a curandera, a healer. The old, toothless woman instructed my wife to kneel down while she rubbed an oil she made on her back. The old woman sang and rocked the baby back and forth, and with a sudden move she turned the baby into the correct position. My wife’s pain and nausea went away enough for her to walk on her own again. Later, my brother in law told me that there was marijuana in the oil. The curandera confirmed it was not only marijuana, but the same olive oil from the “santos olios,” or the holy healing oil provided to the local church.

  11. Recently hospitalized, I was honest about my legal medical marijuana use. Big mistake. I was treated like a drug addict. We have a long way to go beyond legalization. (I’ve been an RN for over 30 years and worked at said hospital for 20.)

  12. “A mother who smokes pot is in constant danger of losing her children because child protective services maintain the false presumption that this behavior (or the mere presence of pot) poses a threat to the child’s safety. This is just one example of how the culmination traditional gender norms and our current marijuana policies play a real and tragic role in our society.”

    I can’t see how gender is related to marijuana prohibition… A father is equally at risk of suffering the same bullshit from the same assholes using the same excuses. And a father will more likely end up in jail than a mother. Our system is fucked up, and all potheads are scapegoats and targets of ridiculous harassment regardless of gender.

  13. “Live forever, do everything.” @Julian encountered a massage oil combination which includes cannabis bush– lives a season but does everything– and olive tree, of which there are known individuals over 2000 years of age!

    @Holly, weed is different from a glass of wine– for the Self-Medication benefits you are seeking (“calm”, “relax”) try the oil-plus-massage recipe Julian mentions (above)! For Creativity and Occupational Achievement in the Morning do VAPE TOKES right before the vigorous works you would do anyway.

    Some folks hesitate to toke on rising because they feel a “duty” to have a large breakfast early, on the contrary, try water-only the first hour after inhaling cannabinoids, fruit-only the next three hours, meanwhile keep your hands busy, and consider the entire “Our Four Hour Tour” an over-all-designed unit in which you expect to do “everything” (or at least something original) before taking on digestive distractions.

  14. …these are the things i wish to read about…these are the things i wish for those who do not know the awesome healing that cannabis can give NEED to here. i have found much peace in using responsible amounts of cannabis, comfort , wellbeing. i am inspired to create, to get up and do, to conduct my daily life in much balance and harmony. cannabis is for SOOO much more than JUST a buzz…altho, THATS a great part as well, its just not the only reason i support it! peace to you all.

  15. We do have a long way to go regarding the misconceptions about cannabis use !!

    I’m a 58 yr old professional woman.
    Forty some years ago, my grades and athletic interests went up after starting to smoke.

  16. Vicci,

    I respect you for coming out of the closet. Sorry it backfired for you.

    The hospital is “The Establishment” as we used to say in the 70’s.
    They are the leaders of the…
    “War on NON-prescription Drugs”

    Do you think the drug companies and western medicine doctors want you to use a self- administered herbal treatment?
    Would they rather prescribe you one of their “magic pills” ?

    I’m so sick of the Drug/Beer Companies being the only “Drug Pushers’ in this society allowed to advertise on TV !!
    In the meantime the cannibis user has to emerge from the closet.

  17. I’m a woman, I’m an Accountant and an Attorney. I enjoy vaporizing Cannabis, and have enjoyed it for many years. I don’t like to drink alcohol (which most use to relax) Cannabis helps me relax after a stressful work day. I will continue to use it, and continue to support its legalization.

  18. Thank you Rebecca that’s what I’m talken about.I have been doing the same thing for years except I am a stay at hm. Mom who has raised my daughter an is now a responsible adult never been In trouble. I will keep on supporting cannabis legalization and consumption.

  19. Well, now with the problems of obamacare, hopefully cannabis will definitely be 100% approved and who needs insurance, of course we will for somethings to use doctors, but if we can stay healthy by smoking or eating marihuana.
    thank you God for the plant…Im diabetic according with medical analysis, well six months ago I started using cannabis and my cholesterol and high blood pressure are perfect, without medicine, although my doctor thinks I am taking it. My goal is to bring my glucose down to nothing…Yeahpp

  20. I am a 53 year old grandmother that is currently living away from her children and grandchildren so she can legally grow to medicate. I suffer from chronic pain due to severe degenerative bone disease, can barely walk, and am in a wheel chair most of the time. I am heartbroken constantly because my children and grandchildren are not as close as they should be because I fear legal harassment in the state I have lived and raised my family in. SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE FEDERALLY ACROSS THE BOARD We should not feel forced to live in states we do not want to live in as to be “legal” in our choice of pain medication and to be able to grow it ourselves.

    I live on disability it is my only income so can not afford to buy mj in any state. I raised my children in a state where it is illegal, so I felt my only reasonable option was to move to the closest state that allowed growing a few plants, Marijuana is the only thing that keeps my pain levels down enough to semi comfortably get through my few daily activities without knocking me out or having dangerous side effects like “massive heart failure” which was the first side effect listed on the last medication my doctor tried to get me to take. I refused to take it! FEDERALLY LEGALIZATION WOULD CREATE UNITY IN OUR NATION Job possibilities would abound!! Anyone that has had to wait outside a medical marijuana dispensary could not help but see the job possibilities. The stream of customers is endless. And sad grannies could go home and be happy!!! 🙁

  21. @Mexweed
    Reading your post, I’m laughing because I never expected that I was witnessing some kind of holy “oil combination” that connected 2000 years to the root of an olive tree… but from my limited knowledge of molecular biology, the “santos olios” could very well be alive and connected to modern spiritual medicine. It never occured to me until after I witnessed the healing of my wife before a “curandera” to research the bible and find out about “kaneh-bosem,” the holy healing oil that dates back to the time of Moses, 4,000 years ago.
    It was Jesus who famously used the holy healing oil on the poor, the imprisoned and the sick instead of reserving it for the Priests and the Kings by Jewish custom. This was a major factor in creating Christianity. But it was only in 1967 the Polish anthropologist Sula Benet wrote the, “Early Diffusion and Folk Uses of Hemp.”
    While I have linked the test here, the word of God deserves some respect brought forth by a female anthropologist on a pro-female cannabis blog: Behold the words of the scrutinized wikepedia: {Legend}
    “Benet’s writings have gained modern notability among supporters of cannabis use[citation needed]{NORML?} for her interpretations of the herb appearing in Hebrew text as kaneh-bosim (Hebrew ?????-??????) five times in the Hebrew Bible and how it relates to the religious use of cannabis. Kaneh-bosm is mentioned twice as part of the holy anointing oil used in the temple, and has been interpreted traditionally as calamus (an herb that is known in North American shamanism and in vedic atharva and has been discovered in modern times to contain a molecule known as Asarone that is a precursor of trimethoxyamphetamine, a psychedelic). Through comparative etymology, analysis of ancient texts (including pre-Hebrew Semitic language), and pharmacological consistencies she contends that the word kaneh-bosm actually refers to cannabis and was used in ancient Jewish religious rites, as a medicine and ritual sacrament. Benet’s work claims that cannabis use has a long culturally important history, and that the criminalization and demonization of cannabis is a recent invention (an occurrence of the previous century compared to Torah: dating back at least 3,000 years). While Benet’s conclusion regarding the psychoactive use of cannabis are not generally recognized among Jewish scholars, there is general agreement that hemp (“Kaneh”) is used in talmudic sources to refer to hemp fibers, as hemp was a vital commodity before linen replaced it. Benet claims that traditional identifications of kaneh bosom do not account for hemp shirts being produced from industrial hemp, (rope hemp) which Benet points out is “Kaneh” in Hebrew.[2] Benet claims that this kaneh differs from the “fragrant” or “sweet” hemp called especially kaneh bosm, because the latter produces much more of aromatic and psychotropic substances like CBD and THC.[2] [3]
    Exodus records Moses receiving the instructions for making and distributing the holy anointing oil, as follows:
    Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of kaneh bosm, 500 shekels of cassia – all according to the sanctuary shekel–and a hind of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil” (Exodus 30: 22-33)

    I challenged my brother, a religious scholar and Argentine lawyer over this issue of the ingredients of “kaneh bosim.” I said, “Here, in your vast biblical archives, you have an Aramaic version of the bible that says “calamus,” as one of the four major ingredients of kaneh-bosem. In the Greek version, it clearly reads, “sweet cane,” or sometimes, “sweet aromaic cane.” And the terrible irony of it all is that although the bible or even the Torah aren’t specifically clear about WHAT the main ingredients of Kaneh-Bosim ARE; The chapter of Exodus is VERY clear about what the consequences are of getting the ingredients of Kaneh Bosim WRONG are; Nothing less than BANISHMENT from the KINGDOM (or family) of GOD!!!
    I looked at my prohibitionist brother in the eye and said, “Sweet cane? Really? I’m sorry, but if you spread sugar cane all over your body in the middle of the Sahara, the desert ants would soon have their way with you.”
    To which he responded, “What? You want to give children HEROIN? Is THAT what you’re SAYING?”
    “NOOOOoooooooo…” I said in my most reserved state of nobility… and shock… “I don’t think ANYONE is saying THAT, my brother!”
    It was then that I realized that with even the most rational scholar I knew, the basic premise of marijuana legalization in the U.S. was only reserved for those whose balls who were prepared for battle. Even if those balls were mounted on the chest of a woman! In that case I mean CHEST balls! SHIT! You KNOW where I’m going with this conversation!
    “The truth is an offense, but not a sin,” So a good book once said.
    “Oh Jesus! Forgive me for I have sinned! But hey; while I’m talking to you; One of those wise men gave you weed, didn’t he?”

  22. Women do need to give a testimony concerning Cannabis…I myself; I used Cannabis for over 50 years, just got a major Blood work done; all blood work came back Normal, including blood cholesterol. MRI -EEG – normal, then the want to push this drug Lyrica on me for anxiety.

    My issue is when will we stop putting up with what stops us from being the Beings who are in touch with this planet’s natural resources; thanking it for the best medicine ever!!!

    Dr’s who are doing Cannabis research don’t want people like me on the their research, who can provide creditable proof of what the body will tolerate.

    I raised a 40 year old son, he turned to be a valuable person in this life, especially family! Sorry folks he grew up around Cannabis. He is a responsible husband/ father, an example to the community.

    Me, I’ll be glad when Cannabis will be LEGAL for everybody!!!
    Cannabis has help me with severe back, neck , and joint pain from injuries sustained by car/bus/domestic violence.

    I pray people will stop trying to control what God is trying to do and has been doing for centuries, to Heal all peoples issues,. burdens, and sufferings. Cannabis stops major fights within self and others…. If they hate Cannabis they are not of this planet. Even their disposition is not compatible to show LOVE
    and Compassion.

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