Saturday 28 October 2017

Is Cannabis Stigma Felt More by Women?

Women in weed are winning right now but it hasn’t always been this way.  The Cannabis industry up until recently has been male-dominated on the surface, with the women staying in the background with soil under their nails and sticky trimming fingers.  For whatever reason, when we hear about historical masters of ganga, we don’t often hear female names.  Whether enforced by more of the same Machiavellian misogyny or whether mere self-imposed preservation, some women stayed back there for a reason, finding the stigma too ominous.

Social conditioning has made me act a certain way because I am female.  If I think about the people I grew up with that smoked, 90% of them were male.  Most of the people I’ve purchased Cannabis from were male.  Many young women like me were comfortable buying a bit from a friend but would never muster up the courage to go to buddy herself.  I can only speak of my own conditioning but I doubt I’m the only woman who has hidden her use from friends, co-workers, or new love interests for fear of judgement.  I was once told by a boyfriend that he didn’t want to be in a relationship with a “pot-head”.  I’ve been trying to dig that one out of my grey matter for about a dozen years!

I believe that Cannabis stigma stings the female a bit harsher than the male.  It’s certainly stuck with me and is so deeply ingrained that even after 17 months of legality I still hide my vape or doob when I see a cop.  A change in laws is not going to remove this trepidation overnight.  If female Cannabis users weren’t comfortable being seen going into buddy’s house or car, are they really going to be seen buying the devil’s lettuce in a federally-run store or even worse, a pharmacy?

The answer may be in a recent online survey of British Columbians and their opinions on where recreational Cannabis should be sold.  A large proportion of females say they prefer the idea of buying from a Cannabis-only store which to me, speaks volumes.

At 43 I’m still stuck in being a good-girl and the good-girl doesn’t smoke.  I don’t doubt that a good solid part of this thorn in my side is due to that patriarchal societal belief that the female must act a certain way.  I still hide my doobies from people I fear will judge me.  In my area of the country, it was more acceptable for the boys to smoke the ganga than the girls.  The girls would get offered a puff but rarely learn how to roll their own.  I’m glad to know this wasn’t the case with everyone but for many, stigma and judgement promotes a certain reticence and modesty when it comes to our own personal choices.  I predict that the majority of users still inside their Cannabis closets are female.

The OCS’s stand-alone thing means you can’t even sneak in through an adjoining store!  

I can see why women would feel more comfortable shopping for their Cannabis in a Cannabis-only store.  I imagine the seniors would too!  But alas, I must remember that Cannabis Illegalization was never about making it easier for us to flex our personal rights was it?

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