On the 8th of March, the world honored the International Women’s Day, celebrated by the United Nations in 1975 however officially recognized by the UN General Assembly in 1977 as the day for women’s rights and world peace.
The international Women’s Day is more than just celebrating womanhood, in fact, it is a movement of protestation in regards to the still-ongoing battle of women for economic, political, cultural, social and justice equality.
Now you might ask yourself how and why smoking pot could help smash patriarchy?
Well, both the legalization of cannabis and women’s rights are rooted in undoing decades of social inequalities that led to their prohibition in the first place.
The pro-cannabis movement reflects values that are present in other important social and political movements, most particularly the anti-racism, the LGBTQIA+, and the feminist one. In fact, all those movements communicate about having the freedom to be who you are, regardless of your gender, your identity, your sexual orientation, your ethnicity, without fear of judgment, stigmatization or jokes. It’s about having the opportunity to be successful, in a materialist and non-materialistic way, in other words in the way you want to be. It’s about receiving the support you need to be doing what you want to do with your life, having the possibility to fight for what you want rather than waiting for others to give you what you need. Pot smokers, people of colors, women and people from the LGBTQIA+ community all face daily struggles in those matters.
The legalization of marijuana is a feminist cause in many aspects:
- Smoking weed has always been seen as a male activity when in fact, cannabis science is a field of study that is dominated by women, and most specifically black women and femmes. Furthermore, the industry of cannabis has the potential to become the first billion dollar market composed and managed principally by women.
- The therapeutic benefits of the lady green are extremely potent on health conditions specific to the female gender (e.g premenstrual, menstrual and menopause symptoms)
- Most pro-legalization activists are members of the feminist and the LGBTQIA+ movement. Let’s not forget that the world owes its first reform around the legalization of medicinal marijuana thanks to the LGBTQ community who back in the 90’s advocated for pot’s medical values around the symptoms of HIV and AIDS in the US.
- Now, is it a coincidence that the part of the marijuana plant we smoke is the female part? Probably not. In fact, weed has been part of feminist spirituality for a very long time. Back to the 3rd millennium BC, plant medicines and healing was a science mostly ruled by women, or so called “the witches”. Weed was associated with female Sumerian goddesses like the Goddess Ishtar. By 1000 BC, men started the rooting process of patriarchalism in regards to weed by prohibiting women to be healers, or easier said, assaulting women’s autonomy.
- Should we speak about discrimination in regards to the justice system? Let’s state the sad, however realistic unofficial law. If you have an identity that is systematically discriminated against, in this case, your gender and/or your sexuality, you are condemned to be more marginalized by marijuana laws. What does that mean practically speaking? Well, if you are a cisgender white male, you are the least likely to be stopped by the police for marijuana possession and/or use. However, if you are a person of color who is a femme, you are more likely to be stopped, more likely to be penalized, and if so, cherry on the top, your sentence will be heavier.
- Why are weed users and most particularly women so stigmatized? Why is it guilt-free to get a prescription for anxiolytics or anti-epileptics but it isn’t for buying cannabis products which have proven effects on PTSD and epileptic conditions. The stigmatization around the use of pot needs to end now.
Fortunately, there are many fantastic organizations fighting for those causes. This is the case of the for-profit entity Women Grow, founded in Denver, in 2014 which currently helps women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry. The entity connects, educates, inspires and empowers women by creating programs and events for female current and aspiring business executives. Their most recent event, the New York State Women in Cannabis Lobby Day occurred on the 8th of March.
There is still a long way to go for the world to be discrimination-free. Till then, have a good one.