Jul 3, 2016 9:15 AM

Stiletto Stoners: Cannabis and Modern Women

In 1989, in the wake of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 aimed at illegal drug users, High Times ran an advertisement from a group of activists known as Freedom Fighters asking readers to join their “cannabis reform movement.”

The ad was primarily addressed to men, and it is clear why: men were more likely to smoke weed than women. Furthermore, according to the report of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, even in 2012, there were 50 percent more men who smoked marijuana. For years, the image of the classic pothead has remained male: a stoner has long been perceived as a dude that spends all day sitting in his underwear, eating nachos, and smoking weed. And a woman, especially a young, educated professional, simply did not fit this image.

However, over the last five years, the social and political attitude to cannabis has softened, and now, more and more people follow the Freedom Fighters' call to publicly expose themselves as marijuana users. Smoking weed has become increasingly more socially acceptable as a lifestyle choice. In the age where the majority of Americans support the legalization of recreational marijuana use, many adult cannabis smokers are the ones wearing stilettos.

Although marijuana has recently been discovered to be innocuous, pot smoking is still something many people are not entirely comfortable admitting to, especially adult women with children and careers. It makes sense: drug testing in a workplace is still a common practice, and marijuana possession can land a drug user in prison for up to three years. Although marijuana is the most widely used control substance in the country, it remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government, along with heroin and LSD. Most of the companies in the United States, including General Electrics and American Express, subject job applicants to drug tests.

Some people fear getting fired, others—losing their reputation. Furthermore, the science world is flooded by the growing number of reports about the harm of marijuana use, particularly for youngsters. However, evidence of the link between cannabis and severe diseases, such as cancers or cognitive impairments, is scant.

So, why do so many smart, successful women light up in their spare time?

The answer is pretty simple—they make the smarter, safer, and less addictive choice. Many women would rather make a few puffs of marijuana to relax at the end of a long workday instead of being hung over from alcohol the next morning or groggy from medication that many doctors prescribe like candies.

The researchers at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated that more than 8 million American women used cannabis in some form. One in five of them who admitted to indulging lived in a household with a year budget of more than $75,000. The majority of them appeared to be lawyers, entrepreneurs, journalists, insurance agents—in other words, representatives of the whole professional spectrum. The image of an unemployed woman or a hippie teen smoking marijuana seems to be sinking into oblivion. It appears that it has been replaced by type A workaholics who just prefer to lie back with a joint instead of a bottle.

Furthermore, while marijuana continues its breakthrough into the world, cannabis culture is becoming fashionable in the luxury sphere. More and more brands are developing a fresh and unique identity based on the weed culture, from a “fashion rowdy” Vetements to Apothecana to Jacquie Aiche. Currently, cannabis brands are focusing on the high-tech design of their products, and it is sometimes hard to distinguish a bag of the latest Celine collection from a vaporizer. Marley Natural products—strains, body care line, and accessories packed “with love” and great taste—are becoming a status symbol. Jeremy Scott in collaboration with Adidas has launched his menswear collection with the green leaf print. HUF's “Plantlife” socks have turned into a mandatory attribute of the classic street-style garment.

While scholars are concerned about the rising rates of female alcohol abuse, some women turn to cannabis as a less harmful source of relief from pain and anxiety. A large number of these women are getting involved in reforming marijuana laws.

Remember the New Approach Washington pro-marijuana legalization advertisement launched in 2012? A woman in her mid-40s sits on her porch, flanked by pumpkins. Even then, legalization advocates realized that female support played the leading role in drug measures. But if women have previously been only slightly involved in supporting medical cannabis rights, today, they are beginning to defend their smoking in full force. They are coming out of the closet in order to end the stigma associated with weed and stand up for their rights.

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