August 17, 2011

NORML Life: Origins of the NORML Women's Alliance

In 2009, Marie Claire published an article about young women working in stressful corporate positions unwinding with marijuana after work instead of alcohol. Read Original Marie Claire Article Here Very soon after, the Today show aired a segment with Joanna Coles, Editor in Chief and Dr. Julie Holland a psychiatrist at the NYC School of Medicine following up the story with a surprising number. In a recent study, 8 Million women had admitted to choosing cannabis over alcohol as a way to relax and lower their stress levels.

Sabrina Fendrick at NORML read the article and was inspired by the power of the female voice in the movement to end cannabis prohibition. Immediately, she posted a follow – up article, Because Women are NORML, too. Read Original Article from NORML's Blog Here In it she states the following: “The normalizing of recreational cannabis consumption is not just happening with men, which is what most people think of when they think of pot smokers.  Women, who are not necessarily left out of the movement, are rarely recognized as a major demographic that is essential for the reform effort to push forward in a truly legitimate fashion.” Recognizing the power women had in the movement, the initial plans for the NORML Women’s Alliance were laid out and a new NORML chapter was written.

Georgia Edson, Sabrina Fendrick, Stacia Cosner, Kyndra Miller and Diane Fornbacher
Sabrina called prominent female activists in the movement together to create the NORML Women’s Alliance including NORML Foundation chair and film producer Ann Druyan, attorney and political activist Jessica Corry, editor Shelby Sadler, best-selling author Barbara Ehrenreich, Beverly Hills NORML director Cheryl Shuman, NORML Foundation board member Jeralyn Merritt, Esq., cannabis activist and author Mikki Norris, Cannabis Action Network and Berkeley Patients Group founder Debby Goldsberry, NORML board member and director of Oregon NORML Madeline Martinez, law professor Marjorie Russell, and former ACLU president Nadine Strossen. Together they created a mission statement citing the following as direction for the alliance: “These diverse women will bring a contemporary approach to the public policy debate, and will proudly represent the interests of modern, mainstream women who believe that the negative consequences of marijuana prohibition far outweigh any repercussions from marijuana consumption itself.” NORML Women's Alliance Mission Statement

They followed up with a list of positions held by the Women’s Alliance called the NORML Women’s Alliance Declarations which include statements against cannabis prohibition citing wasteful fiscal policies policing private behavior, the blow to civil rights caused by a government overstepping its boundaries and the lack of truthful information when presenting the issue to the youth of America as consequences of failed drug policy. NORML Women's Alliance Declarations
Since its inception, the NORML Women’s Alliance has and continues to expand to include more chapters and new members of NORML inspired by these women to get involved and be heard. The alliance has added new programs to inspire activist recruitment like the Sister to Sister program coupling seasoned activists with new activists to establish big sister, little sister relationships for mentoring and The Speakers Bureau, a group of female activists on the forefront of the movement ready to make statements or be interviewed on issues related to marijuana for media.
Sabrina is a featured activist in NORML Life, being released to DVD August 16 by Cinema Libre Studios. NORML Life explores the issues surrounding the marijuana plant with interviews from NORML founders, patients, providers and activists working to end prohibition. Order your copy today here: Purchase NORML Life Here 

Cinema Libre Studios is a full service production and distribution company serving Independent Film Makers. For more information on their services or to explore their extensive library, please visit their website. Cinema Libre Studios Website