Pubdate: Wed, 06 May 2015
Source: East Bay Express (CA)
Copyright: 2015 East Bay Express
Author: David Downs


It'll make her happy this Mother's Day. And it's pro-family.

This Mother's Day, don't forget about mom when you shop at your local 
dispensary," quipped Amanda Conley, from the Bay Area chapter of 
Women Grow - a cannabis industry networking organization.

"Give your mother a joint - maybe even a topical or some infused 
chocolate," added Women Grow's Shabnam Malek.

The idea might seem a bit cheeky, but it's never been more apt. The 
intersection of cannabis legalization and gender equity is hotter in 
2015 than it's ever been, and Mother's Day is a great chance to 
review the changing roles of women and moms in legalization.

Simply put: Women are the key to undoing decades of cannabis 
prohibition, said Dale Sky Jones, an Oakland mother of two, 
chancellor of Oaksterdam, and head of the most credible California 
legalization 2016 group, ReformCA.

Women will be the key swing vote that will decide the fate of 
California legalization next year, Jones said.

Women Grow representatives note that women tend to trust other women, 
and they are fast becoming the new face of cannabis activism and industry.

When women partner with police, they have an unassailable moral high 
ground, added Diane Goldstein, a mother with Law Enforcement Against 

Finally, women are in the number-one position for enforcing social 
norms with regard to cannabis use, via parenting, partner choices, 
and the almighty power of the purse.

Moms became the face of legalization in Colorado and Washington in 
2012 and it worked.

ReformCA will be extensively targeting women in its upcoming 
legalization campaign starting later this year. "We're up to 60 
percent [approval] with men, but we're barely at 50 with women," 
Jones said. "That means there's 10 percent of households where the 
man is for it and the woman is against.

"If all you ever see is a single white male comedian cracking jokes 
about pot and saying, 'It should be legalized,' what the hell does 
that have in common with any mother out there?" Jones continued.

"By putting a woman out front, we're not only giving women a 
relatable face, we're connecting the dots and saying, 'Look, mom, 
this isn't about smoking pot or allowing adults to smoke pot. This is 
about not putting a kid in jail - because they made a dumbass mistake 
- - for them to meet the real criminals, instead of a counselor and 
maybe the back of your hand.'"

Just as important as political messaging is women's growing role in 
the industry. The Bay Area chapter of Women Grow started in October, 
and is up to 85 attendees each month, with the next meeting scheduled 
to be held at 7 Stars dispensary in Richmond on May 7.

Women Grow attendees are networking like crazy and learning how to 
break into the male-dominated industry with products geared toward 
women. That means flowers like the new designer strain Sexxpot, 
pitched by women entrepreneurs as a female libido aid. More strains 
specifically for women's health issues are also set to launch.

Jane West, Colorado's co-founder of Women Grow, noted that moms can 
have a glass of wine and be seen as normal.

"Well, cannabis is the glass of wine for the moms of certain states 
in 2015," Conley added.

Women, however, are less likely to vote for and use cannabis for a 
variety of reasons, not the least of which is social stigma, some 
experts say. The pressure to be a "good mom" is insane, said Jones, 
and seemingly incompatible with supporting legal pot. But that's changing, too.

Goldstein said Law Enforcement Against Prohibition has created a 
special Moms and Cops Coalition that engages and educates communities 
with a powerful message: The drug war amounts to a war on women, 
families and kids. "The war on cannabis and the greater drug war is 
more detrimental to our families and communities than regulating the 
market and having a robust educational system in place," Goldstein 
said. "We don't need to ruin kids' lives to protect them from the 
harms of drugs. Look at what we've done with tobacco."

California attorney Jennifer Ani, who specializes in Child Protective 
Services cases filed against medical marijuana patients who are 
mothers said, "Women are under siege. ... Medical marijuana patients 
can lawfully be parents, but in practice with Child Protective 
Services, it's so subjective."

The number-one thing people can do on Mother's Day to end the 
anti-family drug war is be honest, Jones said. "If you are a cannabis 
consumer and you know your momma loves you, then tell her you're a 
cannabis consumer. If you're a mom who's a cannabis consumer, come 
out. This is our gay marriage moment. If people would just come out 
of the closet and admit who they are, everyone can realize this is 
not a frightening, fearful issue."

Buying mom a "baby sitter and a joint" on Mother's Day can't hurt 
either, she said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom