• by Sabrina Fendrick June 18, 2012

    [In response to the AP article “Easing of State Marijuana Laws Poses Challenge for Parents”]

    No one can deny that the number one goal of a parent is for his or her children to grow up healthy, and be able to make responsible decisions about everything from their friendships and lifestyle, to their safety.  Parents do this by sitting down and having open honest conversations about issues that will inevitably affect them in the future.

    Education gives children the tools and understanding to help them cope with the challenges they have already experienced, and will continue to face further down the road.  Creating a government regulated system for marijuana legalization, which will include everything from age limits to promotional and advertising restrictions (and obviously impaired driving regulations), will actually help parents address this issue with their kids.  Several studies have already shown that states with regulated marijuana programs have not seen an increase in teen use.  Some have even seen a decrease in pot use among their youth population.

    The prohibition of marijuana sends the message “marijuana is morally wrong” and implies that there is no such thing as a responsible marijuana consumer.  This ignorant policy improperly allows the government to interfere in the parent’s job of teaching their kids about moderation and responsibility.  Scare tactics and rhetoric are disingenuous and do not help children understand the realities of the world we live in.

    It is socially acceptable for parents, alcohol distributors, and even the government to teach children about safe drinking practices (with a full understanding that alcohol is directly responsible for thousands of deaths every year), and the state regulation of marijuana will allow parents and educators do the same for the plant (whose non-lethal and relatively harmless side effects inevitably make the latter substance the safer choice).

    We did not have to outlaw cigarettes to reduce the use among minors. A policy of education and regulation (not prohibition) has created an environment in which cigarette usage has fallen to an all time low.  The same goes for alcohol.  A sustained and concerted effort on responsible drinking practices by the government, alcohol companies and educational institutions have driven teen alcohol use down to a record low as well, according to the 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey.  Age restrictions, government regulation and education have proven to be one of the most effective elements in reducing youth access to adult-only recreational substances.  None of these controls apply to marijuana.

    As it currently stands, marijuana is illegal and sold on the black market to anyone willing to pay for it.  Drug dealers don’t ID.  Today, young people report that they have easier access to illicit marijuana than to legal beer or cigarettes.  This is because the latter is legally limited to adults only.

    Children need accurate information to make informed decisions. They need to be educated on how consuming marijuana can effect their body’s development specifically, and how to reduce any harms associated with its use – as well as how to distinguish between use and abuse.  Just as it is socially acceptable for parents to speak with their children openly about their use of alcohol, with an emphasis on that fact that it is only appropriate for adults in moderation, the legalization of marijuana will allow parents to openly discuss their (possible) past or current use and be able to objectively and rationally speak to their children about pot.  The controlled regulation of marijuana will send a message of moderation and responsible use.  It will also undercut the black market, which in turn will reduce teen access.  It’s as simple as that, and it’s a win-win for everybody.



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  • by Sabrina Fendrick May 1, 2012

    Mother’s Day: How the Drug War Hurts Families

    NORML Women’s Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and other Reform Organizations Team Up for: “Cops & Moms Week of Action

    Washington DC – Mothers from around the country will join with law enforcement and students at the National Press Club on May 2nd in honor of Mother’s Day. The press conference will launch a new coalition of national organizations that will represent mothers, police and students that seek to finally end the disastrous drug war. The NORML Women’s Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Student for Sensible Drug Policy and others will share powerful stories of losing loved ones to the criminal justice system, and the social repercussions of prohibition.  The coalition will highlight a series of activities around the country timed to Mother’s Day.

    Sabrina Fendrick, Coordinator for the NORML Women’s Alliance gave the following statement:

     “‘Mother’s Day’ was derived out of an intensely political effort to organize women on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line against the Civil War. The reason mothers were made the vehicle was because they were the ones whose children were dying in that war. Women were also largely responsible for ending alcohol prohibition.  This is more than just a ‘greeting-card holiday,’ this is the beginning of an institutional change in our society. The government’s war on drugs is unacceptable. For our children’s sake, the concerned mothers of the world are being called on to demand the implementation of a rational, responsible, reality-based drug and marijuana policy.”

    Leaders of the campaign who will be speaking at the press conference include former Maryland narcotics cop and Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Neill Franklin; Vice-Chair of the NORML Women’s Alliance and proud mother, Diane Fornbacher; Aaron Houston, Executive Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Kathie Kane-Willis a Chicago social worker whose son died from an overdose two years ago; Joy Strickland, CEO of Mothers Against Teen Violence, Nina Graves (Delaware), a mother and former assistant chief of police and others.  Moms United to End the Drug War will also be unveiling a “Moms Bill of Rights.”

    Event Details:

    What: Mother’s Day press conference announcing coalition between moms, cops and students against the war on drugs.  Followed by a nationwide “Cops & Moms Week of Action”.
    When:  May 2, 2012 at 10 a.m.
    Where: National Press Club – Washington, D.C.
    Who:   NORML Women’s Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Moms United to End the Drug War, and the Drug Policy Alliance.

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  • by Sabrina Fendrick April 6, 2012

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  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 20, 2010

    The Associated Press has pulled together an excellent video package of mothers speaking out in favor of California’s Proposition 19. These collective voices and images make a powerful statement.

    ABC News also highlighted yesterday’s ‘moms’ press conference, which came on the heels of a just-released Survey USA poll finding that voters endorse the measure 48 percent to 44 percent. You can read and watch ABC’s full coverage here.

    You can also read Hannah Dershowitz excellent commentary, “Why Parents Should Support Legalizing Pot,” here.

  • by Sabrina Fendrick May 9, 2010

    Why Moms Want Marijuana Legalized

    A mother’s wish is for her child or children to grow up and be able to make responsible decisions about their friendships, their education and especially their safety. It is socially acceptable for parents, alcohol distributors, and even the government to teach children about safe drinking practices with a full understanding that alcohol is directly responsible for thousands of deaths every year. On college campuses, where binge drinking runs rampant, alcohol abuse has resulted in thousands of students suffering from alcohol poisoning, sexual assault, or serious injury. No parent wants to see his or her child become a statistic and many mothers have openly stated that they would rather their adult children choose marijuana over alcohol.

    The physical and behavioral effects of marijuana are significantly less damaging than those associated with alcohol. However the criminal prohibition of marijuana sends the message that “marijuana is morally wrong” and implies that there is no such thing as a responsible marijuana consumer. Yet, just like with alcohol, all use of marijuana is NOT abuse.

    Society condones the responsible use of alcohol consumption, yet drinking causes far more harm to the user, and to society than does the use of marijuana. Liquor companies, Federal, State and local governments dedicate millions of dollars every year toward promoting responsible drinking practices. For example,Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.has an entire website, called “Drink Smart,” dedicated to promoting principles of control, moderation, and education. Nevertheless, their ‘Statement of Principles’ emphasizes that, “moderate alcohol consumption can be compatible with a healthy lifestyle.” The same philosophy should be applied to marijuana.

    Mothers from all over the country (both consumers and abstainers) are fed up with the outdated, unjust consequences of marijuana prohibition. Their unique experiences with marijuana and the current marijuana laws are diverse and wide-ranging. Some have had their families destroyed. Some have found life-changing relief from medical marijuana, as well as freedom from pharmaceutical narcotics. Some believe that prohibition improperly allows the government to interfere in the parent’s job of teaching their kids about moderation and responsibility. They understand that marijuana prohibition breeds disrespect for the law and government, just as it did during America’s failed prohibition of alcohol. Others would simply prefer their children be allowed to legally choose a safer alternative to alcohol.

    “I’m a 54 year old mother of two teenagers…. Depression runs in my family and [marijuana has] been my saving grace. I have run, sold and continue to build businesses. I teach, I speak, I write, I’m a great mom judging by my children’s success and I will never make an excuse for my marijuana… I’m furious that I’m considered a criminal.” Leslie Singer

    It should be legalized…because its not a substance that’s going to make me be irrational or aggressive. It’s going to relax my mind after a day of taking care of the kids, cleaning the house, running the errands, its not like I’m going to be up for the next 24 hours or am going to be spending my kids diaper money to go out and get it. It relaxes and puts you in a better mind state after a rough day and lord knows kids like to cause rough days!” Lynnsey M Nece

    “I want a safer alternative to Alcohol. I feel much more comfortable smoking a joint and caring for my child, than to drink and then try to care for my child. And, if it is legalized and regulated, it will become harder for my daughter to get a hold of it.” Audrey Roberts


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