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Black women hustle hard. For some, that hustle is taking care of a family. For others, it’s turning an avocation into an empire. And for Shonitria Anthony, creator of Blunt Blowin’ Mama, it’s both. She’s an entrepreneur, a proud mother, and her ideal way to relax and unwind is to smoke a joint.

“I created Blunt Blowin’ Mama because I realized there were next to no spaces existent online that catered to and understood the Black woman who consumes cannabis,” she tells CASSIUS. “I realized that among the Black and brown women in cannabis, none were moms. I started researching and I did find a lot of ‘stoner moms,’ but they were all white.”

Black moms have not been forthcoming about their cannabis use, and for good reason: there is more danger in encountering a police officer while high on marijuana than there is contained in the drug itself. Without a card for medicinal use or the privileges that come with living in a state that has legalized recreational use, the stakes are high for mothers of color. For instance, you can be charged with a felony for breastfeeding your child if you test positive for cannabis use. This is why creating a space where women can openly discuss their experiences without fear of being demonized—or worse, being subjected to criminal charges for child endangerment—is so important.

Anthony adds, “I will just say that similar to how most moms drink a glass of wine when their kid is in bed—I do that too, but with a blunt—to each her own.”

There is more danger in encountering a police officer while high on marijuana than there is contained in the drug itself.

Although media coverage around women in cannabis is becoming progressively inclusive—no longer exclusively employing white women to redefine cannabis as a “wellness tool”—for “Marijuana Moms,” the grass is much greener post-prohibition. Meanwhile, Black women are facing jail time at alarmingly high rates. And Black and brown communities are still trying to recover from the weaponization of cannabis that fueled the War on Drugs, which destroyed Black and brown families, further pathologized Black mothers, and went as far as to demonize—and even discourage—Black motherhood.

Black women have a long history of being heavily scrutinized as mothers, including social initiatives like the “True Love Waits” campaign that advocated for abstinence in the 1990s. These agencies did more to teach women and girls to repress their sexuality, reduce reproduction, and encourage subservience than it did to empower them to claim their sexuality with agency. They also succeeded in the stereotyping of Black moms in the media as irresponsible and incompetent. The negative images of Black mothers portrayed as drug addicts and the reinforcement of policymakers through racist rhetoric also serve to justify demeaning the role of Black mothers to this day.

For Anthony, it’s time to shift the narrative and empower proud pot-using moms to be the best versions of themselves. Blunt Blowin’ Mama allows Black women and moms to see themselves represented, to know that using cannabis to “clear [their] mind, decompress, relax, and get creative” is normal, and that they are not alone.

“I always say on Blunt Blowin’ Mama that smoking weed is my form of self-care,” says Anthony. “There’s a tremendous pressure I put on myself to ensure I am always being fair to myself. If I am not taking care of myself, I can’t be those things to the people I love. For me, the one thing that allows me to be my best self is smoking weed.”

Still, we’ve got a long way to go before we see cannabis fully recognized and respected on both the medical and federal levels. As someone who “sees beyond the hold Big Pharma has on the healthcare industry,” Anthony believes the “marijuana plant can provide a form of pain relief” that one day could “rival the epidural.”

“I wasn’t trying to go through the pain of childbirth without some sort of help,” she shares. “Unfortunately for pregnant women, that’s the only option [they] really have to aid in the labor process if they are seeking some sort of pain relief. It’s a shame.”

And although there is very little research on cannabis and pregnancy—and no resources readily available for mothers who do consume or are interested in learning about how to in a way that is safe for them and their children—cannabis use among pregnant women is steadily increasing. This may be alarming news to some, but the number of deaths from marijuana is literally nonexistent. Meanwhile, the rates at which pregnant and recently-pregnant Black women are dying across the country have garnered national outrage.

It’s time to shift the narrative and empower proud pot-using moms to be the best versions of themselves.

There is healthy skepticism that most soon-to-be moms of color have about our healthcare system, and rightfully so. A recent study showed that in more than 200 stories of African-American mothers collected over the past year, the feeling of being devalued and disrespected by medical providers was a constant theme. A history of Black women being sterilized without their consent, their remains being used to advance surgical procedures in the study of obstetrics and gynecology, and the fact that Black women are currently three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy complications or during childbirth all corroborate their concerns.

Cannabis could very well be the plant that saves the lives of many Black women. In fact, more Black women are seeking alternative ways to treat themselves through tonics, herbs, and plant medicine.

“I hope that if a mom wants to smoke weed that society won’t try to judge her choices so long as she’s taking care of her child and herself,” Anthony says. She also hopes further research will allow for more options that include cannabis to treat things such as morning sickness, anxiety, postpartum depression and labor pains.

Ultimately, Anthony prompts women to take back their power, get educated about cannabis, and sow the seeds of self-care that future generations will reap the benefit of for years to come. “I’m hoping the day will come that the cure to a woman’s anxiety or a stressful day at work won’t come in the form of a pill but instead the marijuana plant growing in her own backyard.”

Sticky Green is CASSIUS’ hub for all things weed. Want to spark up an idea? Pitch Stephanie Long at slong(at)ionedigital(dot)com.

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