In national polls, women statistically are more resistant to the idea of legalization than men. For example, the latest Angus-Reid poll showed male support for marijuana legalization at 57% while female support lags at 53%. More dramatically, a 2010 Gallup poll showed women trailing men by ten percentage points (41%-51%) in their support for legalization. It is arguably impossible to reach strong majority support for marijuana legalization as long as this gender gap remains.
We as reformers must do more than just acknowledge this gender gap exists; we must close it. To do so, however, we must first understand why women are less likely to support marijuana legalization than men. Specifically, are there particular concerns regarding the legalization and regulation of cannabis that are held by a majority of women but not a majority of men? In an attempt to answer this question, the NORML Women’s Alliance is conducting the following poll. By conducting this and similar polls and by analyzing the results, NORML hopes to find ways to better target women with more persuasive messaging as we seek to close the existing gender gap and continue to move public support in favor of ending marijuana prohibition.
Several studies suggest a prisoner’s mental health is dependent on their contact with the outside world. For many, mail correspondences are their primary contact with the public.
Many of the women incarcerated for marijuana offenses are isolated and alone. Receiving any outside communication from the public can be the highlight of their week or month. These small gestures let them know that they are not forgotten, and that the NORML Women’s Alliance is here to support and comfort them.
Recently, the NWA and Freedom Is Green collected letters for Patricia Spotted Crow, a first time offender from Oklahoma who was sentenced to 10 years behind bars for selling $30 worth of marijuana. Here is her heartfelt response to this small gesture from the outside world:
Want to write a marijuana prisoner?
Beth Mann of Freedom is Green provides some guidelines for individuals who are interested in writing to women (and men) that are in prison for marijuana-related crimes: “What should you write? Anything. Prisoners benefit from seemingly mundane letters about your daily life to words of inspiration to pieces of creative writing to news or current events. The important part is simply reaching out.”
[Note: We are focusing on one prisoner at a time. Right now we are sending letters to Patricia Spotted Crow. Please send a letter appropriate for her. Soon we will focus on other prisoners.]
Please keep in mind that all of the prisoner’s mail is read by authorities.
- Please send text only, no images or attachments
- Put the prisoner’s name in subject line of email
- Send separate emails for each prisoner
- Up to 1,000 words per letter
- By sending a letter through freedomisgreen.com we may contact you and ask that your letter be posted on the site to bring awareness to victims of prohibition. You may decline and we will still forward your letter directly to the prisoner.
- Send your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
At Least 1 – 1.5 Million Americans are Legal Medical Marijuana Patients
Market for these patients in sixteen states and D.C. estimated at between $2 – $6 billion annually
MAY 31, 2011 - We don’t know his or her name, but somewhere in one of sixteen states and the District of Columbia is America’s 1,000,000th legal medical marijuana patient. We estimate the United States reached the million-patients mark sometime between the beginning of the year to when Arizona began issuing patient registry identification cards online in April 2011.
Between one to one-and-a-half million people are legally authorized by their state to use marijuana in the United States, according to data compiled by NORML from state medical marijuana registries and patient estimates. Assuming usage of one-half to one gram of cannabis medicine per day per patient and an average retail price of $320 per ounce, these legal consumers represent a $2.3 to $6.2 billion dollar market annually.
Based on state medical marijuana laws, the amounts of cannabis these legal marijuana users are entitled to possess means there is between 566 – 803 thousand pounds of legal usable cannabis allowed under state law in America. These patients are allowed to cultivate between 17 – 24 million legal cannabis plants. There may possibly be more, as California and New Mexico “limits” may be exceeded with doctor’s permission and some California counties explicitly allow greater amounts, so there may be as much as 1 million pounds of state-legal cannabis allowed under state law in America.
Active Medical Marijuana State (Total population of sixteen medical marijuana states + D.C. = over 90 million. D.C., Delaware, and New Jersey programs are not yet active.) # Legal Medical Marijuana Patients (% of state population) California (1996) - No central state registry, 2% – 3% of overall population estimate by Dale Gieringer at California NORML by comparing rates in Colorado & Montana. ~750,000 (2.00%)
Washington (1998) - No registry, 1% – 1.5% of overall population estimate by Russ Belville at NORML by comparing rates in Oregon & Colorado. ~67,000 (1.00%)
Oregon (1998) - Centralized state registry data published online. 39,774 (1.04%) Alaska (1998) - No data online, verified by author’s call to Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics. 380 (0.05%) Maine (1999) - Centralized state registry data published online. 796 (0.06%) Nevada (2000) - 2008 figures from ProCon.org, awaiting return call from state for official number. 860 (0.03%) Hawaii (2000) - Estimate from Pam Lichty of Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii; program is run by law enforcement who are reluctant to release data. ~8,000 (0.59%) Colorado (2000) - Centralized state registry data published online. 123,890 (2.46%) Vermont (2004) - No data online, verified by author’s call to Vermont Criminal Information Center. 349 (0.06%) Montana (2004) - Centralized state registry data published online. 30,609 (3.09%) Rhode Island (2006) - Centralized state registry data published online. 3,069 (0.29%) New Mexico (2007) - Centralized state registry data published online. 3,615 (0.18%) Michigan (2008) - Centralized state registry data published online. 75,521 (0.76%) Arizona (2010) - Centralized state registry data published online. 3,696 (0.06%) TOTAL US LEGAL MARIJUANA USERS ~1,100,000 (1.22%)
Yet after fifteen years, one million patients, and a million pounds of legal marijuana, few if any of the dire predictions by opponents of medical marijuana have come to fruition. Medical marijuana states like Oregon are experiencing their lowest-ever rates of workplace fatalities, injuries, and accidents. States like Colorado are experiencing their lowest rates in three decades of fatal crashes per million miles driven. In medical marijuana states for which we have data (through Michigan in 2008), use by minor teenagers is down in all but Maine and down by at least 10% in states with the greatest proportion of their population using medical cannabis. (more…)
By Diane Fornbacher
Vice Chair of the NORML Women’s Alliance
and writer for Freedom is Green
On Mother’s Day we celebrate and honor those who gave us life. However, as a mother, every day I am reminded of a terrible war that is destroying the fabric of our families and putting our children at risk. It is the so-called War on Drugs. It happens all around us and is primarily a war on cannabis consumers. Today I hope that mothers will join me in advocating for a cease fire in the war on cannabis consumers.
As a compassionate and reasonable society, it is time to legalize cannabis for responsible adult use. Drug dealers do not card children. Prohibition has only kept our youth in constant contact with pot instead of putting it safely behind the counter. Cannabis belongs in a controlled environment where taxpaying and responsible adults can purchase it.
Let me be clear – I do not want my kids to use or abuse cannabis. But I certainly don’t want them going to jail or losing their chances at a college education if they end up getting caught with a joint. Prisons do not protect children, parents do. By legalizing marijuana we can begin to have more truthful conversations with our kids and teens about using it.
Further, legalizing marijuana will keep families together. Mothers do not deserve to be persecuted in the courts or in the delivery room for their private use of marijuana. Children should not be separated from their parents over pot. Hard working Americans should not lose good paying jobs because they medicate or recreate with cannabis. Mothers played a crucial role in calling for an end to alcohol prohibition almost a century ago. I hope mothers will join the growing effort to end marijuana prohibition today, for the sake of us all but mostly for the children.
NORML Update: A Mother’s Day Message
I don’t know if it is A) Denver: The Mile High City, B) 4/20 week C) Colorado’s For-Profit Medical Cannabis Industry or D) Marijuana’s popularity is ever increasing in America. The reason why I muse is that after only posting host hotel reservation information in January not only did NORML’s large room block sell out almost immediately—we signed an additional contract to double the capacity, and that too is almost sold out!
Well, all right…
Looks like a lot of folks want to convene and talk up cannabis law reform in Denver!
With no further ado…
Please check out the current schedule, which features three confirmed and prominent speakers:
- NORML founder Keith Stroup commenting on NORML at 40-years-old
- Marijuana maverick and Harvard Medical School’s Lester Grinspoon, MD
- Congressman and supporter of legalization Jared Polis (D-CO)
Some equally notable and popular speakers will be announced soon! Check out the conference agenda here.
Register online for the conference here (there are discount rates for senior citizens and students).
Want to stay at the Grand Hyatt, the conference’s host hotel? You’ll have to move fast to snap up the last of these steeply discounted hotel rooms here.
Conference sponsorship packages and vending table opportunities for cannabis-related businesses, services or organizations are still available, though, these too have nearly sold out this year as well. Contact Kim for more information!
Socials and NORML fundraiser: A La Carte
Lastly, this year’s conference planning committee is still working on procuring top-notch musical acts and performers for some of the event’s awesome socials and fundraisers. At this time, the online registration does not have options to sign up for these events, but, the information will be posted online ASAP and directly marketed via email to all conference attendees.
This year’s national conference convenes in the wake of the most important political effort to date to legalize cannabis in the narrow defeat of Prop. 19 in California this past November and in advance of 2012—a year that by all accounts will be the busiest ever regarding legalization initiatives and legislation in a number of states and in the United States Congress.
If you’re concerned with reforming cannabis laws in your lifetime, please make the necessary arrangements to join the cannabis legalization movement’s most important conference—the annual NORML national conference—this April 21-23 in the beautiful and amazingly cannabis-friendly city of Denver, Colorado.
Allen St. Pierre