Apr 07, 2021

Why It’s Important for WOC to Visibly Consume Cannabis

5 min read

Written by Dashayna Brown

We need to see more Black and Brown women with cannabis, period. Rolling up, smoking blunts and joints, cyphers with our homegirls, dab hits, infused drinks, eating gummies– all of it. Women of color are collectively underrepresented within cannabis, both legal and legacy. But being underrepresented doesn’t mean we don’t take up space. We’re spearheading some of the most creative, vulnerable, informed, progressive, communal moments in cannabis history via the culture we’ve created around our consumption alone. 

Growing up I quickly realized being Black in the US meant to be scared, quiet, ashamed, or in trouble when it came to anything cannabis-related. From seeing family and friends legally penalized to being told consuming cannabis is a sin to hearing it fries your brain forever; I was lowkey traumatized. Because wtf? 

So naturally, I never thought to associate Black women and cannabis. I didn’t see or hear about positive experiences from women who looked like me. I figured, maybe this didn’t exist and maybe it really was bad. Always hearing how weed was stupid, useless, criminal, unladylike, and unproductive left an ugly morphed version of the plant in my head. Fast forward years later, post-experimenting in high school and becoming more versed with cannabis beyond college, I realized I was told the wrong stories. 

“I understood that we could indulge in healing and pleasure simultaneously.”

Women taught me most of what I know about cannabis. They showed me how to cultivate my own relationship with the plant without even knowing— waking and baking as meditation, emergency stashes for tough times, having cool glass collections, smoking for pain relief, conversations about strains.  I was intrigued by how many of us actually consume. Though it was often kept quiet, brief, intimate, and maybe even hidden; I saw it. I started learning that cannabis consumption among women of color existed for various reasons: leisure, anxiety/depression, socializing, menstrual symptoms, heightened sexual experiences, appetite, pain relief. I understood that we could indulge in healing and pleasure simultaneously. That visibility completely shifted my perception and curiosity. 

There’s a certain level of vulnerability necessary to be open about consuming cannabis, being Black or Brown, and identifying as a woman. Combating the stigma associated with consumption requires courage and security. Shoutout to the women who are doing this—having conversations about weed, sharing plant education content online, putting your loved ones onto cannabis-based products. Living in our truth as it relates to consumption is imperative for us first but for others too. 

Why cannabis visibility?

Fighting Stereotypes and Stigma

Normalizing (I know we’re over this word, let me live lol) cannabis destigmatizes consumption. Stereotypes around women consuming reinforce negative propaganda about communities of color and cannabis. Visibly seeing the diversity and truth in consumption experiences challenges this. 

WOC HIGHlight: @blackdragonbreakfastclub is a platform and community that seeks to change the perception of cannabis through communal dialogue, storytelling, merch, art, and shared experiences.

Representation 

It feels good to know someone else who looks like you gets it. Or gets high rather. It’s affirming, it’s refreshing and encouraging.

WOC HIGHlight:  @blackgirlssmoke + @ohhmygeeg do an amazing job marrying culture with cannabis via lifestyle, personal life, podcasting, and photoshoots. 

Creates Community 

Vulnerability and open minds foster community in this space. Being afforded the opportunity to congregate with WOC over cannabis is a blessing. The wealth and range of knowledge is amazing. It feels safe. 

WOC HIGHlight: @cannaclusive + @smkbrkco are both WOC lead and run platforms consistently providing good vibes, industry insight, networking opportunities, uplifting visual content, and overall places for Black and Brown women to feel welcome.

Education 

The more open we are with our consumption the more we’ll talk about weed.  The more we talk about weed day to day the more we learn from one another. There’s so much to learn about the cannabis plant, how we consume, why we consume, and what ways we can utilize it. 

WOC HIGHlight: @thecannabiscutie is always providing value on her platform through cannabis education, engaging content, hosting her book club, and various conversations. 

Consuming cannabis visibly, safely, is what we are owed. We deserve so much more. This is simply a start to something greater than this moment. Women of color have deep roots in cannabis. Transparency and sharing make all the difference. We may inspire someone, start a conversation, help ourselves, or change someone’s perspective. Consume cannabis with pride, you’re changing the world for women like you whether you know it or not.

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