Weed, grass, marijuana, green, ganja, herb, cannabis – all names we are familiar with that refer to the taboo green plant. What’s even more taboo is the relationship between women and cannabis. We seldom see these terms coupled together. We’ve all heard statements like: ‘it isn’t lady-like’, ‘women don’t smoke’, ‘it’s not cute’, ‘I don’t like women who smoke’. *Yawns* Even with the evolution of cannabis in everyday culture, stigmas around women and cannabis remain. We now see a broader scope of media content, news/reporting, and discussion around consumption. But, women are rarely at the forefront despite consumption rates being similar to our counterparts. Representation of Black women and other women of color, who are double minority, in this space is even smaller.
Everyday we are judged for our presence or lack of femininity. We’re constantly told we’re too this or not enough that through media, social norms, peers, etc. When we add cannabis consumption to this judgement, women are put in a position to be judged more. But why? The short answer is patriarchy. The longer answer involves the idea of perception. Throughout time women have been painted to exist in a way that aligned with the gender norms explicitly and implicitly assigned to us. Women who operate outside of these norms are viewed as deviant or other for their lifestyle choices. (Usually choices that involve men having no say). Women consuming falls under this umbrella. Aside from cannabis being federally illegal, it is viewed as a male dominant matter. Thus, creating this idea of women who consume being othered, disregarded, and excluded.
Contrary to popular belief, many women consume cannabis. It isn’t new and it isn’t going anywhere. We’ve had a relationship with the plant for ages. Historically, women have utilized cannabis for healing, pleasure, spirituality, as well as recreation. From alleviating menstrual pain to increasing sexual gratification, the practical use of the plant remains extensive. There honestly is nothing new under the sun. Today, women are consuming for the same exact reasons they did hundreds of years ago. The technological advances we have now present a variety of options for how one may consume. Some women prefer ingestion while others prefer inhalation or topical use only. The options are only expanding and evolving, we love to see it! As this growth takes place, the number of women taking initiative is increasing. We are taking up our own space (and boldly) within cannabis culture through marijuana law advocacy, plant education, cultivation, recreation, entrepreneurship, self-care, and more.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend an activation curated by Cannaclusive — a brand created by a women of color collective, to bridge the gap between cannabis culture and diverse representation. This gathering of women was titled ‘Women Who Consume Vol.2’ with the purpose of bringing women who consume cannabis together to connect on the intersection of cannabis and life. The Saturday afternoon meet up was perfect. A bright neon pink light reading ‘Highly Social’ and color assorted cans of THC infused refreshments by CANN set the tone. Kendra Norworrd, the brands West Coast Lead, created an intimate and open space filled with intentional dialogue, women, stories, and of course cannabis. The space allowed everyone the freedom to share experiences, be silent, smoke, and practice mindfulness. By the end, we left connected, relaxed, focused on intention, and happily elevated. It was great.
Programming like that reaffirms the voices women have in this culture. Women of various fields, ages, and backgrounds came together and guess what? It was completely normal. The plant knows no bounds when it comes to bringing us together. Creatives, entrepreneurs, professionals, daughters, mothers, Black, Brown; your everyday woman just with a joint in hand. It was comfortable, familiar, and free.
It’s important for us to tell our stories, to share our experiences as they relate to cannabis, and normalize the reality of women embracing consumption. Women consume for leisure, PMS symptoms, bodily aches, anxiety/depression, appetite, sleeping, and a variety of other reasons. However, because we want to will always remain a valid reason. *the patriarchy is shaking* All kinds of women consume, you name them, and they’re probably somewhere high. The relationship between women and cannabis is extensive and far from linear. We need to talk about it more. Accept it, get over it, or embrace it; do what you must!