Coming Into Los Angeles: Toke Tags Along To The Cannabis Cup With NORML Women’s Alliance


Kyndra Miller
NORML Women’s Alliance West Coast Coordinator Kyndra Miller: “We need help everywhere”

​By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
The NORML Women’s Alliance is looking for many good women.
According to most every poll, cannabis use by mainstream America is on the rise, except for women — their numbers are stagnant. Men are 10 to 16 percent “higher” in their support of legalization and medical marijuana.
The Women’s Alliance is a on a quest to change that. 
This coming weekend I have the pleasure of tagging along with NORML Women’s Alliance as they bring their message to the High Times 2012 Medical Cannabis Cup in Los Angeles. Since its inception a few years ago, from New Jersey to the West Coast, the Women’s Alliance has been reaching out to women via networking groups, parties, movie screenings, conferences and where I first met them, in the streets of San Francisco, marching and protesting. 
When Obama last visited San Francisco, there was a huge demonstration organized by the medical marijuana community to protest the federal crackdown, a complete about-face by the administration, forcing the closure of California dispensaries and blocking safe access to medicine.

That morning, at a well-attended press conference, seated next to the attorney who would gain national exposure for his counter-suit against the Feds was the lovely and vivacious attorney and Women’s Alliance West Coast Coordinator, Kyndra Miller. Fifteen or 20 minutes after the press conference was over, I was marching with protesters and saw Miller, still in her attorney drag on a sunny Mission Street morning, walking up to two young women holding a banner.

Natl NORML/flickr
From left: Georgia Edson, Sabrina Fendrick, Stacia Cosner, Kyndra Miller and Diane Fornbacher of the NORML Women’s Alliance

​”That’s great you’re out here today. We need Warriors! Could I get you guys to join in Sacramento for an upcoming protest?” Kyndra asks. When the women said they were from out of town, Kyndra replied, “That’s great. We need help everywhere,” as she gave them pamphlets and literature about Women’s Alliance.
The NORML Women’s Alliance is working to change public perception about women in the cannabis movement. As both patients and recreational users, women are judged more harshly than men purely because of their traditional role of mother. The Alliance wants you to know that a woman can have a successful career, be a great caretaker AND use cannabis.
As the political scene becomes increasingly conservative, women’s rights in general continue to be at risk. Planned Parenthood’s recent issues are a reminder of the ongoing need for women to come together in support of each other. 

Jessica Corry: “Marijuana, when consumed independently, has never been linked to a single death”

​One of the main reasons women are reluctant to come forward is “the kids.” The anti-cannabis forces love to trot out an image of a pot-smoking mom shirking her responsibilities with a doobie hanging from her non-caring lips. A pile of dishes, long neglected, ages in the sink with screaming kids going hungry in the foreground, unclothed, playing in their own gunk.
Do you ever think of a pot-smoking Republican mom getting her kids to soccer practice? When we think of pot smoking women, who do you see? A hippie, a harlot, a woman of loose character or the can-do woman who lives next door; is she Ginger or Marianne?
See how hard it is to change mythology?
How about Jessica Corry? The pro-life Republican from Denver and mother of two girls is one of the new archetypes changing the face of cannabis. This Rocky Mountain High lawyer is widely hailed as a rising star in Colorado politics. A real conservative, she’s also one of the most outspoken supporters of marijuana legalization. In 2006, she started a group called Guarding Our Children Against Marijuana Prohibition, which supported a statewide initiative to legalize marijuana.
“I had high-ranking Republicans politely encouraging me to write my political eulogy,” Corry said. “Fortunately, they were wrong. While the initiative failed, it garnered more general election support than that year’s Republican candidate for governor.”
Corry doesn’t smoke pot — though she is open about past use. “As a mother,” she says, “I’m far more concerned about my kids having access to a medicine cabinet than having access to a joint or a liquor cabinet. Marijuana, when consumed independently, has never been linked to a single death.”

Mikki Norris, M.A.
Mikki Norris: “The Women’s Alliance is more about inclusion and welcoming women, whoever they are”

​One of the charters of NORML Women’s Alliance is for the advocacy for an open, honest conversation about marijuana with America’s youth that is void of all propaganda and misleading information. 
Mikki Norris, California marijuana activist spoke about the differences between men and women when it comes to cannabis. She refers to a gender-specific focus group she witnessed during Measure Z in Oakland. Measure Z was a 2004 ballot initiative that ultimately succeeded in making marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority for the cops.
She heard the women’s group speaking on behalf of their children: “They wanted money for their kids’ education and they didn’t want kids arrested for pot,” Norris said. “Men, on the other hand, were more worried about children getting involved with drugs I just think women have a better grasp of home economics, or what’s really important in a family.”
With so many issues facing women in the industry or movement that men do not have to deal with, I wondered if it gets too much for the Women’s Alliance. Not being a stranger to the larger-scale cannabis conventions, I asked Kyndra Miller what she thought of the “girls” in their skimpy outfits hawking the wares for various ganja-upstarts.
I refer to Number 5 in their charter:
5.  The NORML Women’s Alliance strongly opposes the sexual exploitation and objectification of women in pot-culture and business marketing.


​”That’s a tough one,” Miller said. “Who am I to say as a woman, what woman doesn’t have the right to work at the job she chooses? On the other hand, it cheapens the industry. I wouldn’t do it. The Women’s Alliance has an unwritten rule that even in the most laidback circles, and we see a lot of those, we dress in business casual. If I had my way, I’d wear sweats and an old sweater. Comfy clothes, right?”
She laughs deeply then slowly throttles down as she gets lawyerish again. “But I know it is a big issue with some. The Women’s Alliance is more about inclusion and welcoming women, whoever they are. We’re about empowering women, not tearing ourselves down.”
NORML Women’s Alliance

1.  The NORML Women’s Alliance believes that the fiscal priorities of marijuana prohibition are wasting billions of dollars on a failed policy.
2.  The NORML Women’s Alliance believes that marijuana prohibition violates states’ rights, and improperly expands the reach of government into the families and personal lives of otherwise law-abiding citizens.
3.  The NORML Women’s Alliance advocates for an open, honest conversation about marijuana with America’s youth that is void of all propaganda and misleading information.
4.  The NORML Women’s Alliance endorses the science-based evidence regarding the therapeutic applications of medical marijuana as well as the continuation of research into the subject.
5.  The NORML Women’s Alliance strongly opposes the sexual exploitation and objectification of women in pot-culture and business marketing.
For more information
Editor’s Note: For Part 2 of Jack Rikess’s continuing High Times Medical Cannabis Cup-L.A. coverage, visit Toke of the Town tomorrow.

Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco

Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at

Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.

His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.

He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.