NORML Women featured as the secret to legalization

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator December 7, 2009
    Three of our favorite NORML Women (L-R): Anne Davis (NORML NJ), Madeline Martinez (Oregon NORML), Cheryl Shuman (Beverly Hills NORML 90210)

    Three of our favorite NORML Women (L-R): Anne Davis (NORML NJ), Madeline Martinez (Oregon NORML), Cheryl Shuman (Beverly Hills NORML 90210)

    Daniela Perdomo has written a fantastic piece on Alternet entitled “The Secret to Legal Marijuana? Women” featuring a look at some of our favorite NORML women…

    In 2005, only 32 percent of polled women told Gallup they approved legalizing pot, but this year 44 percent of them were for it, compared to 45 percent of men. In effect, women have narrowed what had been a 12-point gender gap.

    Women are also smoking more weed. The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that current marijuana use increased from 3.8 to 4.5 percent among women, while there was no significant statistical change for men.

    …Cheryl Shuman, a 49-year-old optician in Los Angeles, would agree. Up until she started using cannabis therapy to treat her cancer, she was on a daily regimen of 27 prescription drugs, attached to a mobile intravenous morphine pump, and undergoing constant CAT and MRI scans. In 2006, her doctors told her she’d be dead by the end of that year.

    This year, Shuman became the founding director of Beverly Hills’ National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) chapter — and she hopes to attract women to the cause.

    …Enter Jessica Corry, a pro-life Republican from Denver. A mother of girls aged two and four, this 30-year-old newly-minted lawyer is widely hailed as a rising star in Colorado politics. … Mothers like Corry are drawn to marijuana regulation as part of a larger appeal that encourages the use of harm reduction to more pragmatically deal with substance abuse. … This year, there was a 37 percent increase in teens who said pot is easier to buy than cigarettes, beer or prescription drugs. Nearly one-quarter said they can get weed within the hour.

    Those stats matter to women. In light of this, children and family will be included in the mission statement of the Women’s Alliance, a group NORML will launch next year. The coordinator, Sabrina Fendrick, plans to include mention of how current marijuana policy undermines the American family and sends mixed messages to young people.

    Be sure to click over and read the entire article, as it also spotlights important female allies like Valerie Corral, Mikki Norris, and Debbie Goldsberry, who have all generously donated their time and expertise to our NORML podcasts and numerous NORML conferences, and my newest acquaintance, Deborah Small, who presented on my panel at the DPA Reform Conference last month. I agree with Perdomo; women will be the key to ending adult marijuana prohibition, just as women were key to ending liquor prohibition.

    Ladies, won’t you join us? NORML is always looking for accomplished and confident women to join and lead chapters at the grassroots level all across the country. Send me an email at russ@norml.org and I can put you in touch with Sabrina and the forthcoming NORML Women’s Alliance as well.

    36 responses to “NORML Women featured as the secret to legalization”

    1. Responsible Advocate says:

      then tell the ” women of legalization” to stop slacking and make a change already.

    2. Anna says:

      Count this woman in. I’m sick of the oppressive, regressive prohibition of cannabis by the snobs in power. We’re long, long overdue for REAL CHANGE.

    3. Phil says:

      Its good to see that NORML is making sure to get everyone involved in changing our failed prohibition policies.

      I would like to applaud all of the women who are fighting with us to put a stop to the drug war.

    4. Jed The head says:

      Great article Russ. I love hearing about these incredible,smart and wonderful women. The fact that they will be remembered in history for liberating us from cannabis prohibition is only right. They have a way of being very convincing to everyone because of their sincerity and openly honest message. This is one of the best things that has happened to this movement in a long time. We all welcome the help and appreciate everything they do for our cause. We will overcome this destructive law.

    5. GO GIRLS!!!!

      Keep it going!!

    6. Ok , I’m usually off the subject & in a little World of my own ,but i said i would write ( and that was a great article N.O.R.M.L. put together – above ) on my next post about the upcoming election to legalize Marijuana for
      California .
      Last Saturday morning ( 12/5/09 ) i met with the incredibly bright , Mauricio Garzon at Oaksterdam University in Oakland . He’s the Northern Ca. Coordinator for the initiative to tax & regulate Cannabis 2010 . Ken Masterson , a Marin County based Consultant who is in charge and who started the initiative for California said that we have so far around 600,000 signatures . We need 433 thousand & some change to get the measure on the ballot for the 2010 election . More than enough i thought , but still we ended up going out to Point Isabel Park on the San Francisco Bay ( i never saw so many dogs in all my life ) with me driving . Mauricio gathered signatures while i stood on the sidelines answering questions & explaining how legalization would benefit our cash strapped State to a number of people with most everyone in agreement .

      What surprised me were those who gladly wanted to sign the petition . There were ladies using walkers in their 80’s , crippled people in wheelchairs , old people , young people . People in all walks of life willing and wanting to sign . Some of these people explained the benefits Cannabis had for them & their lives .It was an incredible day but , we wrapped it up early because it was getting pretty nippy out along the Bay as the sun slowly set and we needed to meet with the other petitioners back at Oaksterdam U .

      So , the GOOD NEWS is that we’re there but , it’s not done , yet .

      A lot of those signatures have not been verified and D.A.T. will be spending huge sums of money to defeat the measure with Tobacco probally falling a distant 3rd . Pharma. & Alcohol will be doing everything to get our proposition defeated . To get out of the woods it’s going to take some money . Like 20 million but , we got people in all walks of life willing to support us & we hope you will , too .

      Anyone willing to help can send donations to ;

      Legalize it
      P.O. Box 30393
      Santa Barbara , Ca.93130

      with any sizable donation & with your request we’ll send you a letter or email you to let you know where your money is going .

      Example ; it will be aired on Channel XXX at 5:33 P:M: P.S.T. or it will be on Radio XYZ FM at 7:18 P:M: on 2/15/10 or for Billboard advertising ( we’ll let you know where that Billboard is ) .

      …..and part will be going to N.O.R.M.L. who has been good enough to allow me to bring you the truth & for the contributions they have made .

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    8. Joshua Duncan says:

      Great news. Glad to hear that more women are “coming out of the closet” against cannabis prohibition. Need more articles and women like this!! Keep up the good work.

    9. David says:

      Women are the great peacekeepers and rationalists of the world. We need more of them in NORML for sure. 🙂

    10. A says:

      NORML. What can the average person, from a red state, who supports the movement do to help? What is your vision for cannabis in this country? A reply would be appreciated and respected.