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The Women of Cannabis Get National Recognition

The Women of Cannabis Get National Recognition

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 11/18/2014 in Medical Marijuana Laws

Mainstream publications including Vogue, Elle and The New York Times, all recently ran articles highlighting the new wave of cannabis enthusiast, with specific emphasis on women.

Last month dedicated an entire week to running articles that focused on women and marijuana, known as The Pot Issue. The introductory post promised to feature the new face of women tokers, with follow up posts on marijuana moms, pot inspired fashion, the top women pot power players, as well as a step-by-step guide on how to throw your very own “classy cannabis party”. The New York Times’ Fashion and Style section recently ran an in-depth expose on the recent explosion of vaporizers on the marijuana market. And discussed how parents are now talking to their children about marijuana, in their Motherlode blog. While Vogue magazine, not to be outdone, also recently featured a piece on cooking with cannabis.

Clearly it would appear that the typical stoner stereotype is undergoing a makeover of womanly proportions, and the once thought of lazy, dirty, hippie pothead is transforming into the classy, chic and charismatic, Cinderella of cannabis.

In 2013 a Gallup poll reported that 30%of women have tried marijuana at least once, while 6% smoke it regularly. The poll did not however ask respondents about ingesting marijuana in other ways, i.e. edibles, tinctures, drinks, lotions etc. Nonetheless these low figures are indicative of the stigma still associated with marijuana use, especially amongst females. A group of women, who wished to remain anonymous, and ranged from early 20-something students to 50-year old professionals, commented that the low numbers definitely have a lot to do with legalities, but added that the stigma still surrounding women who use pot is also a deterrent. Although as the cannabis landscape continues to transform there is no doubt that these numbers will continue to increase, as state by state laws change to legalize marijuana in some form or capacity.

Stef*, a 30-year-old from Boston said, “There is some stigma, people seem to assume you’re lazy or dumb. It does get a little frustrating having to explain that I have a full-time job and many hobbies that keep me active, trying to undo the “burnout” stereotype” that people who consume pot with her frequency face.”

Aly*, a 20-year-old student from Pennsylvania, recounts her high school experience, saying that “…boys used to be surprised when they found out I smoked, but I think it was less because I was a girl and more because I was Asian and kind of nerdy.”

Kristy*, a writer from South Carolina, says people were shocked when she told them she used marijuana, because she appeared to be so “together”. “I wear high heels and lipstick. I think a lot of people associate it strongly with Phish fans and college students,” says Kristy.

Grace*, a 29-year-old woman from the South, says that, “Most people that I personally know that smoke have thriving careers and at least one college degree.”

Jenn*, a 40-year old data analyst and mother of two from Vermont, says she has been a marijuana user for 23 years. She said that she wants people to realize that although she uses cannabis recreationally, she is still “your helpful neighbor, the mom volunteering in your kids classroom, the employee presenting to company executives, the mom at the playground or ballet lessons or the football game.”

Ellie*, a 33-year old college professor from Oregon, believes that the stigma could be problematic when it comes to her job, despite her state just having legalized recreational marijuana in addition to medicinal pot. Ellie uses marijuana to help alleviate the symptoms of her medical conditions — including bursitis and muscle spasms — but even so, she still hasn’t obtained an official medical marijuana prescription because of the stigma attached to it. “Part of why I haven’t aggressively pursued finding a pot-friendly doctor is that I live in a very small town. I know that people talk, and I don’t want to be known as the stoner English professor before my position is fully secured. Some people tell me no one would really care, but then I hear from other people who assume I [don’t use pot] about how much they look down upon ‘stoners.’ So, I remain reserved about making my habit well-known.”

However the power to altering the stigma could come in the form of the medical marijuana gateway. Hannah*, a 31-year-old writer and mother of two explains that when people find out she uses cannabis for pain relief, it normalizes the behavior which helps in breaking the stereotype. “Most people I know, once they hear that I smoke and that I have both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, they express sympathy, not judgment. But I also have no problem with recreational use either. We do it with alcohol, so why not this? I hope that legalization in some states starts some movement in other states, much like the momentum of marriage equality progress this year,” she says.

Charlo Greene, a former TV reporter, recently made history by quitting her job on live television, by announcing that she is the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club. “The stigma associated with marijuana usage is ever present currently but it is on its way out. Every day that more men and women are willing to share their own experience with marijuana usage takes us one step closer to a world where marijuana consumers are viewed no differently than say, adults that consume alcohol responsibly,” says Greene, an instrumental figure in getting marijuana legalized in Alaska.

Amelia thinks that the combination of reforming policy and the media focus will both help to reduce the stigma, “Marijuana policies are changing across the country pretty rapidly and the media is always looking for new trendy ways to cover a seemingly controversial story. I actually really appreciate the fact that a lot of those stories are really positive, as the tide changes towards legalizing. Instead of stories about burnouts, by and large, the media is covering it from the angle of ‘Look, people who smoke weed can actually be successful, thriving members of society!’”

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