A new and powerful strain of marijuana advocate is hitting the streets: Moms. A broad range of women's groups — including Moms for Marijuana and the Women's Marijuana Movement — are campaigning for cannabis to be legalized as a safer alternative to alcohol and tobacco:
Why do these moms want to legalize marijuana?
The groups say smoking pot is less harmful than drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco. They say it is an effective painkiller for various ailments that afflict women — including post-partum depression — and they say its prohibition creates a "violent and dangerous" black market which could lead to the sale of more damaging drugs to their children. Some mothers say it can also help with the treatment of autism in kids.
What kinds of actions are they taking?
Mostly, they are attempting to reach out to other moms. For example, a group that calls itself Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) created a special online Mother's Day card to allow its members to "come out" to their families about using pot. Meanwhile, the Women's Marijuana Movement is set to lobby and organize protests in states that have legalization measures on the ballot, including California, Oregon and Washington. "We will show our faces proudly and publicly," says organizer Jessica Corry. It's our "own little tea party moment." (Watch an AP report about the Women's Marijuana Movement)
Are these pot-activist moms all hippie drop outs?
Actually, Corry is an accomplished attorney and an avowed Republican. This is about the "long forgotten American ideal that in the absence of harm to others, government should not interfere in our personal lives," she writes.
Does maternal advocacy have a strong track record?
Yes. Corry says the repeal of prohibition in 1929 was, in part, due to the activism of the Women's Organization for National Prohibition Reform. More recently, the Mothers Against Drunk Driving group has successfully lobbied for 30 years for tougher alcohol laws, including stricter drunk driving laws and the introduction of a national minimum drinking age. "All the things Moms get behind, people listen," says one activist.
Do most women agree with legalizing pot?
Actually, a majority are opposed to it. An AP/CNBC poll found that only 37 percent of women were in support of legalized marijuana, compared to 52 percent of men. These advocacy groups hope that they can help change that number.