An Intersectional Feminist Case for Cannabis Legalisation in the USA
The case is made for legalised cannabis benefitting disabled people, marginalised Americans and people with vagina/uterus related pain.
A renewed siren call for legalizing cannabis is sweeping not just the nation, but the world. Earlier this year, Canada legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and this past month, the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that limiting marijuana use to medical reasons violated their Constitution, effectively lifting the prohibition for recreational use there. In America, some states have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use, others have legalized marijuana for medical use only, and some states maintain strict prohibition.
The push for legalization of marijuana at the federal level has never been stronger. And if you consider yourself a feminist, you may want to consider getting behind legalizing cannabis for both recreational and medical use in the USA. Here’s why.
Legalization Is a Boon to Women’s Health
The legalization of cannabis at the federal level would open up a whole new world for women and people with vaginas/wombs suffering from common medical problems, from menstrual cramps to endometriosis. Pain from these conditions can be severe. However, due to the habit many doctors have of dismissing these forms of pain, many suffer in relative silence.
Cannabis-infused tampons exist, claiming to make menstrual cramps a thing of the past. Cannabis can provide some relief from even severe pain, and many people suffering from extreme menstrual cramps and even endometriosis can benefit from this natural treatment. This change could also be a boon for those who are unable to take hormonal birth control to regulate their menstrual periods due to other health conditions.
How Legalization Could Help Native Americans
The legalization of cannabis could also benefit Native Americans in terms of finance and, potentially, health. While studies thus far have been small, on reservations where cannabis has been legalized, residents describe a higher level of mental health and lower levels of alcohol addiction and violence. Not all Native American tribes, leaders or individuals support a move towards legalized cannabis, but the fourth Native American Cannabis and Hemp Conference took place in Autumn 2018, with tribal leaders in attendance. The California Native American Cannabis Association was formed in 2017 to support economic development through tribal sovereignty – so developments in cannabis use and regulation are relatively recent, but most certainly underway.
Legalization Equals Greater Racial Equality
One of the biggest criticisms of our current war on drugs is that it disproportionately targets people of colour. In Iowa, for example, African Americans are disproportionately incarcerated, and the majority are in prison for minor drug offenses, usually involving cannabis.
If we, as a society, are to address the systematic inequalities inherent in our current drug war, the legalization of cannabis paired with the expungement of records related to minor marijuana-related offenses would go a long way toward accomplishing this goal.
Legalization Helps People with Disabilities
It’s a grim truth in the United States that many people with disabilities don’t receive the support they need to live their best lives. This is also true for those with “invisible” disabilities. In addition, in a nation gripped by the opioid epidemic, many chronic pain patients have trouble obtaining the medication they need to have any quality of life.
As a potentially potent pain reliever, cannabis can be a godsend for many with disabilities. Unlike opioids, cannabis is not physically addictive in the scientific sense, and overdosing on it is, for practical purposes, impossible.
In addition, preliminary studies have shown cannabis has the ability to heal the myelin sheath lining the nerves, something that’s damaged in people suffering from diseases such as MS. Legalizing cannabis not only helps wean those with disabilities off opioid use but also provides them with a safe palliative treatment to restore their quality of life.
Legalization Leads to Economic Independence
Cannabis legalization has opened whole new industries and income streams in states where it’s been legalized, and many of the new cannabis entrepreneurs are women. Despite facing hurdes in the realms of banking and tax, cannabis business is absolutely booming.
Full legalization would allow more female entrepreneurs to enter the field geared with the tools they need to make their businesses successful. Given the millions that legal cannabis has already collected in states where it’s legal, legalization at the federal level could only lead to more jobs and greater financial independence for all in the industry, not just women.
The legalization of cannabis is an idea whose time may well have come. Support for legalization stretches across party lines. Congress should actively consider legalizing cannabis at the federal level so that everyone can reap the benefits.