What 4/20 Means for Gender Violence
People around the world use this date, 4/20, as a reason to smoke & celebrate the cannabis herb, especially as more states & nations begin to decriminalize & legalize weed. However — like most things that are criminalized & stigmatized — weed impacts gender-based violence in very acute, complicated ways.
Today, let's add meaning behind 4/20 and examine what this date means in relation to our roles in ending gender violence:
Over the years, we have collectively learned more & more about what weed can mean to survivors, advocates, and the movements we fuel for liberation. For example, we now know that weed can be a healing tool for people, especially survivors of gender violence who are living with PTSD. We also know that weed can be exploited by others to facilitate sexual assault and other acts of violence. Further, we know that people often carry shame for fear of repercussions for disclosing instances of domestic abuse while weed was present. In immeasurable ways, weed plays a pivotal role in our understandings of gender violence.
In the fall of 2022, a news story came forward & brought light to a relatively little-known or seldom-discussed narrative about weed's relationships to gender oppression. This story met at the crossroads of the cannabis industry & the vile industries of human trafficking. (Check it out! It's linked below.)
As states & nations continue to decriminalize & legalize weed, the new weed industries that develop must be intentional about preventing human trafficking and all forms of gender-based abuse. Systemic oppression has thoroughly saturated every industry with gender oppression & systemic harm, which can be evidenced by sexual violence in the workplace or patriarchal pay gaps.
It doesn't need to be this way, though. A world without systemic oppression is possible; thus, a weed industry without gender violence is possible, too.
There are many ways to acknowledge the impacts of weed on survivors of gender violence. Today, we can begin to invest in a new meaning behind 4/20 by intentionally considering the acute, complicated ways that weed impacts our work as advocates against abuse, our beloved communities, and our individual lives. By addressing the interconnections of weed and gender-based abuse, we live further into the many possibilities of preventing & repairing gender violence.
Click the "Read More" button to read last fall's story (referenced above) about Human Trafficking and the Marijuana Industry: