Every year, March is designated towards Women's History Month by presidential proclamation. The month is set aside to honor women's contributions to American history. We are here today to bring homage to the women of cannabis. Cannabis is experiencing normalcy every day and we want to celebrate the women who have carried the cannabis movement in the past and those who continue to embrace our sacred plant today!
Women of Cannabis Throughout History
Cannabis has been around for centuries. From ancient goddesses, royals, activists, and women like you, cannabis has been the natural herb for women's wellness.
Queen Sheba came to King Solomon and brought him gold and spices. The exact spices she brought him were KaNeh Bosem, which is believed to be cannabis. In Hebrew translations, the word cannabis is KaNeh Bosem, but it was earlier mistranslated as calamus, which is known as the marsh plant.
Queen Victoria birthed nine children during her reign. Physician Sir J. Russell Reynolds prescribed Queen Victoria an alcoholic extract of the cannabis plant. It was taken to relieve her pre-menstrual syndrome or pain during childbirth. During Victorian England, cannabis extract was widely used and added to tea to offer pain relief.
In 1969, Margaret Mead, an anthropologist, advocates for the legalization of marijuana in the United States. She says banning marijuana is worse than the current infliction on drug use.
Maya Angelou is one of the most celebrated authors and poets of the 20th century. But did you know she was also a fan of cannabis in her late teens and early 20s? In Maya Angelou's second autobiography, Gather Together In My Name, she writes, "Smoking grass eased the strain for me. I made a connection at a restaurant nearby. People called it Mary Jane, hash, grass, gauge, weed, pot, and I had absolutely no fear of using it."
Wanda James opened a cannabis dispensary in 2009, Simply Pure. She is Colorado's first African American woman to legally own a dispensary. As a Black woman and veteran, she has spent over 10 years ending the stigma and advocating inequities of the cannabis industry.
Mary Jane Rathbun, also known as "Brownie Mary," was a cannabis rights activist who focused on access for the medical community. In 1991, Mary Jane successfully campaigned for the passage of Proposition P in San Francisco, CA, which recommended that the state of California restore marijuana to the list of available medications. The following year, she and a fellow friend, Dennis Peron, opened the nation's first medical dispensary, the San Francisco Cannabis Buyer's Club.
Jane West is a mother who was fired from her corporate job for the consumption of cannabis. In 2014, she successfully launched her own cannabis empire where adults could come together in a friendly and social manner and consume cannabis.
Dr. Roopa Dhatt is a passionate women's rights and gender advocate. She is also a practicing physician in Washington D.C. In 2015, she co-founded Women in Global Health, a global movement and non-profit, which aims to achieve gender equality in global health leadership for greater health equity.
Roopa supports her family's vision in creating Ladykind to address gaps in women's health and wellness lifestyle. Ending the stigma in addressing the needs of women through their life course when it comes to menstruation and menopause are issues she cares dearly about.
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Tawni Janine Perry
Tawni Janine is a content creator and graphic designer residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit tawnijanine.com to learn more.