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Women Speak Out for Marijuana Legalization in California, Nationwide

Women throughout California and across the nation held news conferences Tuesday to speak out in support of Proposition 19, the California ballot measure that would regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol.

In California, they stressed the importance of getting out to vote for Prop. 19, and how its passage would enhance the safety of their families and communities. Elsewhere, women highlighted the example that could be set in the Golden State and announced efforts to begin organizing women to work toward similar reform in their areas. The nationwide day of action was coordinated by the Women’s Marijuana Movement (WMM), which worked alongside local women’s organizations and activists nationwide including Moms for Marijuana, Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and members of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). In California, women gathered in Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Diego, among other cities. Events were also held throughout Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Texas. “For too long, women’s voices have not been heard during the debate over marijuana policy,” said WMM Project Coordinator Eva Enns. “But women will make the difference in this debate — and this election — so it is time for us to take the lead.” That could very well end up being the case. As the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this year: The poll [on Prop. 19] also points to a demographic group that is likely to play a key role — women, particularly those who are married. Men favor legalization, but women are split. With the Prop. 19 race coming down to the wire, it is critical that the campaign pick up support wherever it can. It has already received endorsements ranging from law enforcement officials to organized labor groups, so targeting women directly makes sense at this critical point. Thus it comes as no surprise that the women’s day of action coincided with the first week of early voting in California. For less obvious reasons, however, the WMM timed the actions to coincide with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. “Unlike marijuana, alcohol is frequently associated with acts of violence against women, such as domestic abuse, date rape, and sexual assault,” Enns said. “We are simply fed up with laws that prohibit adults from using marijuana and drive them to drink. We sincerely believe that we could reduce the amount of violence taking place in our households and around our communities by accepting marijuana as a safer alternative to alcohol.” Women in California rammed this message home by using the day of action to target the offices of key law enforcement officials who are opposing Proposition 19, including Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, and San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. Women called on these officials to explain why they would prefer to keep marijuana in a black market and ensure alcohol is the only legal intoxicant available. “We need to advocate for sensible regulations that actually enhance public safety rather than undermine it,” Enns said. “We want our young people to be carded before they can purchase marijuana. We want marijuana removed from the criminal market so teens are not exposed to harder drugs if they happen to seek marijuana. And we want our sons and daughters to grow up in a world where they will not be punished if they make the sensible choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol.” This article appeared originally on The Huffington Post. Mason Tvert is executive director of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) and coauthor of Marijuana is Safer: So Why are we Driving People to Drink?.

NYC Activists Call for a Safer St. Patrick’s Day

Over the past several years, SAFER has used the alcohol-fueled mayhem surrounding St. Patrick’s Day to highlight the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol. Click HERE and HERE to see news stories about them. This year, a group of activists in New York City are carrying the torch by calling on the city to […] Read More..

Big Alcohol’s Anti-Marijuana Spokesman on the Hill

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) took to the airwaves Tuesday to decry increases in marijuana use amongst the American public and call for a ramping up of marijuana enforcement nationwide.At first glance, some might think Smith is genuinely concerned about marijuana use and its impact on public safety. Yet it’s hard to take him at his […] Read More..

Big Alcohol Fueling Opposition to California Marijuana Initiative

According to a recently filed campaign finance report, the campaign to defeat a marijuana legalization initiative in California is receiving substantial funding from the alcohol industry. Now marijuana advocates are fighting back, calling on the opposition campaign to explain why it is working with Big Alcohol to keep marijuana illegal. On September 7th, the California […] Read More..

RN Cites Relative Safety of Marijuana in Defense of California Legalization Measure

A great column from registered nurse Lanny Swerdlow appeared in today’s edition of the Palm Springs newspaper, The Desert Sun.  In it, Swerdlow highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol and suggests California would be a safer and healthier state if Proposition 19 — the measure to control and tax cannabis — is […] Read More..

College Students Nationwide: Allow Marijuana as a Safer Alternative to Alcohol

Colleges themselves, organizers say, unwittingly encourage drinking by enforcing zero-tolerance policies against students who are caught smoking marijuana. Read More..