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Famous women stay mute when it comes to their relationship to weed, but their voices could be of the utmost importance.
The only way famous women talk openly and politically about pot use today is if they are using it “medically” — as in the case with Melissa Etheridge, who spoke openly about her pot use during the chemo treatments she underwent during her 2005 battle with breast cancer.
What we don’t hear is celebrity women who are willing to advocate for the legalization and taxation of weed, aka cannabis sativa. But they should, because it’s better for the economy, for the sick and ailing and prescription-addicted, for farmers and for the environment.
Twenty million-plus Americans use marijuana recreationally. And here’s where things get tricky for potential high-profile women advocates. Women have not been shown “what’s in it for them” if they endorse re-legalizing marijuana and industrial hemp. Subsequently, they still feel there’s too much at stake both personally and professionally to publicly stand up for drug policy reform. Even as much of our history as a nation included this plant — it served us as rope and masts in the ships that won our wars, as the medium for our founders’ message when the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper — f amous women stay mute when it comes to their relationship to weed.
Where are the female Tommy Chongs, the Snoop Dog (Lion)s, and the Willie Nelsons? They are out there, but they’re not talking. And they need to understand all they have to gain by coming out of the greenhouse or the pot cookie closet. Is it because they’re not as cavalier as men when it comes to going on record about breaking the law to smoke pot? With upwards of 850,000 marijuana arrests yearly and over a trillion spent, the war on drugs has been the costliest war in American history. Our job at the NORML Women’s Alliance is to urge women to become more vocal about the need to “free the weed.” But a sister needs to help a sister out!
So this is a call to arms to Kristen Stewart, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Sarah Silverman, Joss Stone, Paris Hilton , Drew Barrymore, Charlize Theron, Rihanna, Cameron Diaz , Mischa Barton and Jennifer Aniston. Which one of you will be gutsy (and career savvy) enough to cash in on your celebrity stoner status? Millions of us are waiting for our USmagazines to arrive with those first photos of a green goddess collecting her platinum bong for her commitment to the cause.Here are three good reasons why famous women should consider legalizing marijuana in America.
1. It’s an entirely green initiative. Oil companies are already bidding on the oil reserves underneath the ever-melting polar ice caps. Hemp is oil and all of our cars and airplanes can run on it while also putting out-of-work farmers back to work. Hemp actually improves the environment where it is grown. 2. It could save your life. Not only is pot way cooler than alcohol, it’s also non-toxic. Dylan Thomas could not have smoked himself to death. There has never been a cannabis-related death. Ever. In fact, recent studies show that cannabis kills stage 4 cancer cells. It’s not only not bad for you, studies are showing that cannabinoids (helpful compounds found in the plant) support the immune system. These same compounds found in the pot plant are found in mother’s milk. So, while drinking can kill you — and others if you drive while intoxicated — pot could save your life.
3. It will probably make you a pop cultural icon. If you are a famous hot female, what’s more rad than getting photographed smoking a blunt in a Bob Marley bathing suit in Barbados? Rihanna could change lives if she would just come out and say, “I smoke pot. I like it.”
Dr. Andrew Weil, the guru of alternative medicine, has called cannabis sativa the dog of the plant world. In other words, the pot plant has been growing loyally since the dawn of mankind, making itself useful to us as fiber, food and medicine. This war on weed is being sustained by a self-interested government that has never figured out how to properly profit from legal marijuana production, and is afraid of its power to put so many big oil and pharmaceutical companies out of business.
Famous women can help change this by arming themselves with the facts and being fearless in the conviction of their choices. Theirs are the voices that are missing from this important struggle, and they need to step up. It’s high time.
Greta Gaines is a singer/songwriter who lives in Nashville, TN with her husband and two young sons. She serves on the national board of NORML and on the NORML Women’s Alliance. She has been named in Skunk Magazine’s “100 most important marijuana activists.”
21 July 2012 – Morgan Freeman adds his name to the list of A-list actors who have spoken publicly about their support of marijuana legalization, a point he gave depth to in a recent interview with Newsweek:
“Marijuana! Heavens, oh yeah. It’s just the stupidest law possible, given history. You don’t stop people from doing what they want to do, so forget about making it unlawful. You’re just making criminals out of people who aren’t engaged in criminal activity. And we’re spending zillions of dollars trying to fight a war we can’t win! We could make zillions, just legalize it and tax it like we do liquor. It’s supid.”
“If it wasn’t supposed to be here, then the big guy wouldn’t have put it here, hemp is supposed to be on earth.” ~Willie Nelson
Dear NORML supporters,
Please make plans today to join NORML in Los Angeles, October 3-6 for the 41st annual national NORML conference.
This year’s forward-looking theme: The Final Days of Cannabis Prohibition
NORML’s annual conference is the premiere gathering in America of cannabis law reform activists and organizations working for public policy alternatives to the country’s failed Cannabis Prohibition laws. This election year, voters in as many as four states will have the opportunity to vote in the affirmative on legalization initiatives. Additionally, numerous states have passed cannabis law reform measures, placing much needed pressure on the federal government to follow suit.
NORML’s annual conferences are always informative, community building and fun!
Please take the opportunity now to register for NORML 2012 and reserve your discounted room at the host hotel. For table vending and conference sponsorship opportunities, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2012 NORML Conference Roundtable Panel Topics (sample of agenda topics):
- Seventy-five Years of Cannabis Prohibition in America, October 3, 1937 – October 3, 2012: A review of the Cannabis Prohibition epoch in America
- Broken Promises: Obama Administration and Federal Blowback Against Medical Cannabis Industry
- Pot-n-Politics 2012: A review of reform initiatives and legislation impacting cannabis consumers
- Whatever Happened to Hemp?
- Cannabis and the ‘Demo’ Gap Problem: Who Does Not Support Cannabis Legalization and Why?
- Cannabis and Senior Citizens in America: A Propitious Amalgamation
- Cannabis Legalization and Taxation: What Might It Look like?
- Shifting Demographics of Medical Cannabis Consumers
- Reducing Cannabis’ Fear Factor Among Americans
- New England Storm: Has the Epicenter Of Cannabis Law Reform Moved East?
- Cannabis Activism Workshop
- High Times’ All Things Cultivation
- California activist and stakeholder meeting
Thanks in advance and I hope to see you at NORML’s 41st annual national conference this early October in Los Angeles.
Allen St. Pierre
NORML / NORML Foundation
We are definitely late for this, this year, in true smoker style. Yet, this is the best time to get ultra ready for next year.
There’s fantastic information provided in this article. Please do, take a look. It’s inspiring us to write some letters to stir up some friendships & hopeful partnerships.
Be well, support the movement, love the earth and all beings.
A guide to cannabis, how it is used, how it works and what the risks are.
Dr Trisha Macnair last medically reviewed this article in March 2010.
Cannabis is a drug produced from the Cannabis sativa (commonly known as hemp) or Cannabis indica plant, which is related to nettles and hops. It’s believed to have originated in the mountainous regions of India, and grows wild in many parts of the world.
The plant contains more than 400 chemicals, including cannabidiolic acid, an antibiotic with similar properties to penicillin. The different chemical derivatives of the plant can be used for medicinal or recreational purposes.
The recreational drug cannabis comes in many forms – herbal (dried plant material), resin, powder, hash, tinctures and oil – and is known by many slang terms, including weed, pot, mary jane, grass, ganja, reefer, marijuana and hash, among others.
Dried Plant Material
Oil/ Ear Wax
Effects and uses of cannabis
Cannabis is most widely used as a illegal street drug for its relaxing properties. It is usually rolled into a cigarette known as a joint, but can also be smoked in a pipe, brewed as a tea or mixed with food.
The main active ingredient in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabino (THC). One type, skunk, can be particularly potent as it contains two to three time as much THC as other types.
Cannabis acts as a mild sedative, leaving most people feeling relaxed, chilled out or just sleepy. It also:
Has mild hallucinogenic effects, causing a distortion of reality
Makes some people become more animated
Releases inhibitions, making people talkative or giggly
Can cause nausea in some people (despite the fact that cannabis can have an anti-nausea effect), while it quite often makes others feel hungry
Cannabis or its derivatives may also be used as a medical treatment. There is some scientific evidence to suggest it may be useful in a wide range of conditions. But the complex nature of the substances contained within the plant makes it difficult for medical research to establish clearly its safety or efficacy, so its effects are far from proven or well-understood. The active chemicals within cannabis (known as a group as cannabinoids) are gradually being identified and wide-scale trials testing the safety and efficacy of these cannabis extracts (or synthetic forms of them) are currently underway in the UK and elsewhere.
For instance, cannabis appears to be able to help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy treatment, although not more so than other already established medications. The drugs used to treat cancer are among the most powerful, and most toxic, used in medicine. They produce unpleasant side effects, such as days or weeks of vomiting and nausea after each treatment. Some cannabinoids relieve nausea and allow patients to eat and live normally.
Extracts also seem to benefit patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, although most of the benefit seems to be from people feeling more relaxed when taking a cannabinoid or medical derivative of cannabis. Recent research showed no reduction in muscle spasticity.
Claims have also been made for its use in treating:
Risks of cannabis
There’s increasing evidence that cannabis use is linked to a number of health risks. It damages the ability to concentrate, decreases motivation and more than occasional use in teenagers can affect psychological development. Users can become anxious, suspicious and even paranoid. Heavy use increases the risk of serious psychiatric illness.
Users of skunk, a stronger and increasingly more available form of cannabis, are seven times more likely to develop a psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia, than people not using cannabis or using the more traditional forms. Cannabis also interferes with coordination, causing problems with balance, walking and driving.
There are other side effects of the drug, but they vary considerably and are less predictable, partly because cannabis has more than 400 active ingredients. They may include effects on the heart, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, and damage to fertility. People who smoke cannabis are also exposed to the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke.
People may become dependent on cannabis and find it difficult to stop using it, experiencing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if they do stop such as cravings, agitation, mood changes, sleep problems, appetite disturbance and other symptoms.
The debate over the use of cannabis in medicine is highly controversial and emotive. Supporters of the drug claim it has wide-ranging benefits, but opponents say it is a potentially dangerous substance that can actually damage health.
Cannabis and the law
The use of cannabis remains illegal (except for prescribed cannabinoids as described above). It is a Class B drug. As a result, the penalties for getting caught with cannabis, especially on repeated occasions, can be severe.
A report by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee recommended the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. However, the British Medical Association (BMA) did not give the report 100 per cent support and believes only cannabinoids – carefully identified chemical derivatives of the cannabis plant – should be used in medicine. TheGovernment says it will not consider legalising cannabis for medical use until clinical trials had been completed.
Advice and support
Occasional users of cannabis may be able to give it up, although they may find it harder to give up the general smoking habit. However, heavier users may need expert help to stop. Talk to your GP or local community drug agency or clinic.