Pubdate: Sat, 18 Feb 2012
Source: Orange County Register, The (CA)
Column: Food for Thought
Copyright: 2012 The Orange County Register
Author: Barbara Venezia


Throughout history, women have been instrumental in initiating social 
change. So it's no surprise women are now organizing in the fight for 
medical marijuana.

One of the most vocal advocates for medical marijuana is PatiCakes, 
aka The Queen of Cannabis Baking and the host of the weekly Internet 
cannabis radio show She, along with several other 
local business women, decided it was time to start an Orange County 
sub-chapter of NORML's Women's Alliance.

Since 1970 NORML  the National Organization for the Reform of 
Marijuana Laws  has been the recognized organization promoting 
advocacy and change for marijuana laws.

The gals tell me they hope to bring about "a contemporary approach to 
the public policy debate."

PatiCakes says the group is working with L.A. chapter representative 
Cheri Sicard to build a strong team of professional women, mothers 
and grandmothers  all from diverse areas of the county.

"You don't need to use cannabis to be involved in the group, in fact 
many of the women who've called to join don't," she said.

The group will also be working with a division that is starting up in 
Laguna Woods.

Group members say marijuana prohibition and medical marijuana 
discrimination undermine the American family because the state and 
federal governments aren't controlling marijuana or medical marijuana 
use, cultivation or distribution

PatiCakes says she's seen firsthand the benefits of medical marijuana 
for cancer patients, those suffering from chronic pain and other 
debilitating illnesses.

She said she interviewed a man who had lymphoma. The area under his 
arms was so burned from chemo that the skin was literally falling 
off, she told me.

Then someone gave him marijuana in an edible form.

"He told me it changed the way he felt about marijuana and it changed 
his life," PatiCakes says.

But the story that touched her the most was from a woman whose mother 
had stage four lung cancer. The daughter was out of options, she 
said. Her mom was in so much pain that she had stopped eating.

After the daughter got her mother some marijuana in edible form, the 
mother started eating again and even felt well enough to go out with 
girlfriends, she said.

But the women aren't the only voice advocating for change on this issue.

On Feb. 8, medical marijuana advocate Steele Smith met with Orange 
County Supervisor Shawn Nelson to talk to him about establishing the 
Greater Orange County Collective, or GOCCA, as the go-to medical 
marijuana trade organization in the county.

Nelson said they mostly talked about pending lawsuits, which until 
settled, prohibit the county from really getting involved.

In December 2010 the Board of Supervisors voted not to allow 
dispensaries within unincorporated areas of the county, Nelson was 
the only dissenting vote.

"It's really very frustrating," Nelson said. "Public policy is not 
served with everyone making the rules on a one-off basis. The 
legislatures should weigh in on the medical marijuana issue for the 
benefit of all."

Nelson says he supports Judge Jim Gray's proposed Regulate Marijuana 
like Wine Act of 2012. But until the laws change, he said, he could 
offer little to Smith.

Judge Gray has raised more than $135,000 in the last quarter for his 
act but does not yet have enough signatures to get it on the state 
ballot this year, organizers told me.

PatiCakes says she thinks NORML would be the best voice to advocate 
for the medical marijuana movement.

"There's no need to re-create the wheel, NORML has been around for 
over 40 years and the changes we've seen in attitude towards 
marijuana and legislation is a direct result of their efforts," she says.

The Orange County Women's Alliance plans on holding monthly meetings 
around the county and to invite a wide range of speakers, from 
politicians to medical experts.

"Our goal is to educate and advocate," PatiCakes says. "We want our 
women out there in the community changing attitudes."

Their first meeting will be in Costa Mesa from 2 to 4 p.m. March 3 at 
462 E. 17th St., Suite #C. For more info, call 714 287 0329

The ladies invited Steele's wife to join the group; he declined for her.
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