Moms Uniting to End Drug War

moms united to end the war on drugs

This Mother’s Day, moms are uniting like never before to save their families by ending the war on drugs.

Moms are lobbying for drug crime sentencing reform in California today. Moms were protesting at the United Nations meeting on drugs in April, and moms will help lead the legalization drive this year in California — where the end of cannabis prohibition could send shockwaves around the world.

Near the center of the movement is the group Moms United to End the War on Drugs, who is urging moms and their children to lobby California Senators today to pass the RISE Act (SB 966 Mitchell), which would repeal a three-year sentence enhancement for prior drug convictions.

Moms United says they personally understand the real cost of the war drugs. It’s their kids who get unfairly targeted for pot crimes, or who lose their college financial aid over a weed ticket, or who get addicted to prescription painkillers, then cycle in and out of the prison system instead of getting treatment. It’s their kids who die from drug prohibition-related violence and overdoses. It’s their families who are shattered when a partner goes to prison for a non-violent drug offense. And it’s often moms who are targeted over cannabis, even in states where the botanical is fully legal, said Shaleen Title, for Moms United to End the War on Drugs.

“Even in states that allow legal adult-use or medical use of cannabis, mothers and pregnant women continue to face devastating legal risks if they use cannabis, including losing their children. This is outrageous — the research on the effects of cannabis on unborn children is at worst unclear, and at best shows it to be safer than other drugs prescribed to pregnant women,” Title writes.

On April 18, Moms United marched on New York at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session 2016 with the message that all drug offenders are someone’s child, and prohibition is doing more harm than good.

And on Wednesday in San Francisco, mother Marsha Rosenbaum helped launch “Let’s Get It Right, California” the campaign to end cannabis prohibition in California on Nov. 8. Rosenbaum is the Director Emerita of the Drug Policy Alliance and Co-Chair of the Youth Education and Prevention Working Group on the Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy.

“Let me be clear from the outset. As a mother myself, and now a grandmother, I do not excuse, encourage or condone teenage drug use. I believe abstinence is the safest choice,” Rosenbaum writes in her 2014 manual on drug-smart parenting “Safety First”. “[But] the abstinence-only mandate puts adults in the unenviable position of having nothing to say to the young people we need most to reach.”

Cannabis legalization promises to bring the thorny parenting topic into the light. “Although we urge our young people to be ‘drug-free’, Americans are constantly bombarded with messages encouraging us to imbibe and medicate with a variety of substances,” Rosenbaum writes. “We need to talk about alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs in a sophisticated manner and distinguish between use and abuse. If not, we lose credibility.”

Moms also have a huge precedent when it comes to ending prohibition — they did it already with alcohol prohibition. The original Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform (WONPR) founded in 1929 was instrumental in ending disastrous alcohol prohibition.

This Mother’s Day, make sure to thank the moms leading the charge for a brighter, safer future, and then try to recruit a few more.

Award-winning San Francisco journalist and best-selling author David Downs is a contributor to Cannabis Now. His writing has appeared in Scientific American, WIRED, Rolling Stone and the New York Times.

1 Comment

  1. N. Joseph Potts

    May 10, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Are pregnant women penalized for drinking alcohol? THAT drug has a documented record of harming fetuses (though not in most moderate [or lucky] cases).

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