Because Women Are NORML Too – Part II

  • by Sabrina Fendrick October 29, 2013


    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 responses to “Because Women Are NORML Too – Part II”

    1. Fed-Up says:

      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. Demonhype says:

      “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. Linda Merchant says:

      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 women.kids,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. mexweed says:

      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. Ryan says:

      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. Roland says:

      Thats why we need the dildo shaped hitter box cause females are unique

    7. Fed-Up says:

      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.

    8. Fed-Up says:

      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.

    9. Mark I says:

      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.

    10. holly says:

      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.