In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month we want to highlight some of the incredible women who have made major moves to help destigmatize marijuana and push our society toward a more complete and compassionate understanding of cannabis consumption. Ladies, we salute you!
Borman is helping to push forward the “Puffragette Movement” as the director and executive producer of the recent documentary Mary Janes: The Women of Weed, which shines a light on women “breaking the grass ceiling” in the cannabis industry. The multi-award-winning director of The Eyes of Thailand (narrated by Ashley Judd) interviewed a wide range of women who have helped to build the cannabis industry from the ground up, and crafted a film that traces the intersection between the legalization of marijuana and many of the social justice issues that are defining our current cultural discourse.
Read more about Borman and her documentary in this Weedmaps interview from the end of 2018.
Fride was a Dutch-born Israeli scientist who died in 2010, leaving behind a trove of research that helped lay the groundwork for modern-day studies into the medical efficacy of cannabis. Dr. Fride conducted extensive research into the endocannabinoid (EC) system, co-authoring over 40 research papers, including studies on the role of the EC system in suckling and nursing and childhood development; the impact of THC on cystic fibrosis; the anti-inflammatory properties of various cannabinoids; and the entourage effect.
You can explore some of her published research here.
James is an absolute boss, and the first African American woman to own a legally licensed provisioning center in the United States. As well as being CEO of the vertically integrated cannabis company Simply Pure, she is the president of Cannabis Global Initiative, a public relations and marketing firm working with businesses to help them navigate the cannabis industry, and with the government sector to help shape policy and regulations. Her activism and entrepreneurial skills landed her on the list of High Times’ 100 Most Influential People in Cannabis in 2018
Check out Cannabis Dispensary Magazine’s Women in Cannabis Q&A with James.
Komp has had a remarkably broad impact on the cannabis community. Currently the Deputy Director of California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), she has been a hemp and cannabis activist for over 20 years. She worked with the legendary Jack Herer (editing the 9th edition of The Emperor Wears No Clothes) and co-founded The 215 Reporter, the first journal of its kind to cover the development and impact of California’s medical marijuana law. She served on drug policy advisory boards and a medical marijuana task force, and was named Freedom Fighter of the Month by High Times magazine.
Komp spent years gathering information on famous and influential cannabis users throughout history. She told one interviewer, “I’ve found that mentioning famous potheads that people admire opens their eyes and minds in a way that reciting facts doesn’t.” She authored Tokin’ Women: A 4000-Year Herstory of Women and Marijuana, and continues to compile features on “famous female cannabis connoisseurs” at her blog Tokin’ Women.
Mead was an incredibly accomplished cultural anthropologist who effectively introduced the notion of anthropology to mass society in the 60s and 70s. Her studies of primitive cultures in the South Pacific, published in the book Coming of Age in Samoa, helped shape her forward-thinking views on gender roles.
She was also publicly outspoken about many progressive issues like women’s rights, racism, pollution, and legalizing marijuana. In 1969 she testified before Congress, taking a controversial stance and arguing that cannabis was much less dangerous than cigarettes, heroin, or alcohol, and therefore should be legal for anyone over the age of 16. Her testimony provoked national outrage, but it couldn’t tarnish the power of her reputation as, arguably, the most famous anthropologist in the world.
Mead was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1976, and posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter in 1979.
You can read an original news article about Mead’s Congressional testimony here.
MARY JANE RATHBUN
Rathbun is more famously known as Brownie Mary, the “Florence Nightingale of the medical marijuana movement.” Rathbun was arrested three times over her decades-long activism for the medical benefits of cannabis, the first time in 1981 by an undercover cop who responded to her hand-made fliers advertising her homemade “magically delicious” brownies.
During her community service for that arrest she was introduced to the AIDS epidemic, after which she began making her brownies to help those suffering from the scourge. She found that her brownies helped dramatically with easing pain and improving the appetite of patients on HIV medication and cancer patients on chemotherapy.
Baking turned to advocacy, and Rathbun helped pass San Francisco’s Proposition P in 1991, allowing medical cannabis in the city and protecting the physicians who prescribed it from legal repercussions. In 1996 she was crucial in the passage of Proposition 215, making California the first state to legalize medical marijuana.
Rathbun’s impact extended far beyond her death in 1999. 20 years later California Governor Gary Newsom signed Senate Bill No. 34, the Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act, removing the state tax burden from compassionate care programs that provide free medical cannabis to those in need.
Learn more— and get a brownie recipe to boot — in this SF Weekly article, The Legacy of Brownie Mary
Written by Whitney Spotts