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 Prohibition.
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.