Drug Law

NORML: Why Moms Want Marijuana Legalized

| by NORML

A mother’s wish is for her child or children to grow up and be able to make responsible decisions about their friendships, their education and especially their safety. It is socially acceptable for parents, alcohol distributors, and even the government to teach children about safe drinking practices with a full understanding that alcohol is directly responsible for thousands of deaths every year.

On college campuses, where binge drinking runs rampant, alcohol abuse has resulted in thousands of students suffering from alcohol poisoning, sexual assault, or serious injury. No parent wants to see his or her child become a statistic and many mothers have openly stated that they would rather their adult children choose marijuana over alcohol.

The physical and behavioral effects of marijuana are significantly less damaging than those associated with alcohol. However the criminal prohibition of marijuana sends the message that “marijuana is morally wrong” and implies that there is no such thing as a responsible marijuana consumer. Yet, just like with alcohol, all use of marijuana is NOT abuse.

Society condones the responsible use of alcohol consumption, yet drinking causes far more harm to the user, and to society than does the use of marijuana. Liquor companies, Federal, State and local governments dedicate millions of dollars every year toward promoting responsible drinking practices. For example,Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.has an entire website, called “Drink Smart,” dedicated to promoting principles of control, moderation, and education. Nevertheless, their ‘Statement of Principles’ emphasizes that, “moderate alcohol consumption can be compatible with a healthy lifestyle.” The same philosophy should be applied to marijuana.

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Mothers from all over the country (both consumers and abstainers) are fed up with the outdated, unjust consequences of marijuana prohibition. Their unique experiences with marijuana and the current marijuana laws are diverse and wide-ranging. Some have had their families destroyed. Some have found life-changing relief from medical marijuana, as well as freedom from pharmaceutical narcotics. Some believe that prohibition improperly allows the government to interfere in the parent’s job of teaching their kids about moderation and responsibility. They understand that marijuana prohibition breeds disrespect for the law and government, just as it did during America’s failed prohibition of alcohol. Others would simply prefer their children be allowed to legally choose a safer alternative to alcohol.

“I’m a 54 year old mother of two teenagers…. Depression runs in my family and [marijuana has] been my saving grace. I have run, sold and continue to build businesses. I teach, I speak, I write, I’m a great mom judging by my children’s success and I will never make an excuse for my marijuana… I’m furious that I’m considered a criminal.” Leslie Singer

It should be legalized…because its not a substance that’s going to make me be irrational or aggressive. It’s going to relax my mind after a day of taking care of the kids, cleaning the house, running the errands, its not like I’m going to be up for the next 24 hours or am going to be spending my kids diaper money to go out and get it. It relaxes and puts you in a better mind state after a rough day and lord knows kids like to cause rough days!” Lynnsey M Nece

“I want a safer alternative to Alcohol. I feel much more comfortable smoking a joint and caring for my child, than to drink and then try to care for my child. And, if it is legalized and regulated, it will become harder for my daughter to get a hold of it.” Audrey Roberts

Marijuana’s legal status forces millions of responsible, hard working, tax paying citizens into the dangerous , unregulated world of the illegal black market. The only sensible answer to containing this market and achieving a sufficient level of public safety, is through state and local government regulation and a message of moderation. An ever increasing number of American citizens believe that one day, our society will no longer spend time denying the reality that millions of people are consuming marijuana every single day, and will instead focus on promoting a safe environment for those who do. Many mothers are working towards the day when we will live in a society where children’s access to marijuana is actually limited (unlike under prohibition where children have ready, unfettered access to the herb). According to a major report issued in 2005 by the NORML Foundation looking at both marijuana use patterns and arrest rates, shockingly, over 1 million children sell marijuana annually. Similar to alcohol products, children need to be taught to have a sound understanding of how adults can responsibly consume marijuana. One day, we will live in a society where adults, in the privacy of their own home, can legally choose to consume marijuana and forgo the alcohol.

It comes down to this: Were it not for marijuana’s legal context, would you rather your adult child engage in binge drinking (and all that comes with it), or be able to enjoy the safer activity of consuming marijuana without fear of legal repercussions? Would you rather your younger children continue to have unfettered access to marijuana or restricted access and a sound understanding of responsible adult use?

Excerpt: “Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?”

When marijuana is legal, a abusive husband or boyfriend somewhere in America will realize that he is better able to control his temper when he ingests pot instead of alcohol and will cut down on the Budweiser and switch to the kinder bud. Some college student we will never hear about will choose to use marijuana one night instead of joining his fraternity brothers in a drinking contest-thus avoiding a potentially tragic trip to the hospital that was otherwise fated to happen. When marijuana is legal, a man well on his way to chronic and eventually fatal liver disease will conclude that he wants to live a longer and healthier life and will voluntarily give up the booze in favor of pot. A young woman will decide to smoke marijuana and watch a movie one evening instead of going out drinking with her girlfriends, unknowingly missing a sexual assault that would have occurred after she had consumed one gin and tonic too many. By the very nature of introducing the less harmful recreational substance, marijuana, into the stream of commerce, probability dictates that these things will happen. Not just once, but hundred and thousands of times. When marijuana is legal, we will, collectively, be safer.”

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MOTHERS MOVING MOUNTAINS

Serra Frank: A Mom With a Mission

Serra Frank is the mother of two young boys and is the founder of “Moms For Marijuana ” — an organization made up of brave mothers who are fighting for marijuana law reform and their children’s future. Frank was not always a supporter of ending marijuana prohibition. She grew up a part of the D.A.R.E. generation, and was “taught that drugs will cause long term physical harm, addiction, and will ruin your life. At the same time [she] learned through [her] observations of our society, that once you are an adult, it is acceptable to occasionally alter your state of mind.” She believes that “creating a system of marijuana regulation would tell [children] that, like alcohol and cigarettes, recreational use of marijuana is an adult decision. Educating them to the risks and benefits of the plant is a much better choice than lying to them.”

In 2002, Frank started having extreme pain in her lower abdomen and for a year and a half was prescribed Vicodin, Darvocet, Perceocet, Oxycotin, Naproxin and even methadone. She was forced to rely on her husband and friends to take care of her children. Since trying marijuana, she has used it practically every day and is so thankful to have “found a way to live not just survive… I owe my life to this plant. Without it, I would probably still be in bed… unable to care for myself or my children.” Said Frank. Serra decided she could no longer sit idly by, privately opposing marijuana prohibition. She took it upon herself to find other like-minded mothers to come out of the closet. What started as a MySpace page in 2005, “Moms for Marijuana” evolved into a real grassroots movement, that now has an official website and its own chapter network.

Erin Hildebrandt: A Success Story

Erin Hildebrandt is a Maryland soccer mom and (should be) marijuana patient who bravely pioneered the movement for women and mothers everywhere. Erin, who suffers from Chron’s Disease, migraines and hyperemesis gravidarum (a complication of pregnancy that leads to mal nutrition) was motivated to join the movement after her own positive experience with marijuana and it’s effect on her symptoms. She became involved in 2002 and shortly after started the prophetic website: www.parentsendingprohibition.org. In 2003, Hildebrandt became one of the faces of the medical marijuana movement in Maryland when she testified before the State Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

“It’s not too often that housewives find themselves standing before the State Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, in front of numerous people in police uniforms, explaining how they broke the law and that they’re very glad they did.”

Hildebrandt began writing letters to editors and even got an op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun. In May of 2003, her hard work, bravery and activism paid off when she got to stand with the governor and other lawmakers as he signed the Medical Marijuana Compassionate Use Act into law. Erin now has the chance to live a normal life free from the restrictions caused by her debilitating disease and had a major role moving her state one step closing to sensible marijuana legislation.

Read more stories from highlighted mothers