Females on the Front Lines in the War on Weed
Another Mother’s Day has come and gone and while many moms were pleased to receive calls, gifts, or hugs from their kids, an ever-growing number of them did so from behind bars while serving time for cannabis-related convictions.
Did you know that between 2001 and 2010 there were 8.2 million cannabis-related arrests in the US?
That is one weed bust every 37 seconds and 88% of them were for simple low-level marijuana possession.
When you couple those disturbing stats with the fact that we now have more women incarcerated than at any other time in our history, the problem starts to come into focus. Using the same stats and timeframe above, 219,000 of those 8 million+ arrests were women arrested on cannabis-related charges – or 1 every 24 minutes.
Between 1980 and 2010 the rate at which females were imprisoned in this country shot up by 700% and experts agree that a main contributing factor to this rise has been the implementation of stiffer drug laws across the nation.
More recently, a 2014 study showed that 24% of female prisoners had been convicted of a drug-related offense, compared to just 15% of male prisoners.
As it stands now, an estimated 60% of women in our for-profit prison system have at least one child under the age of 18.
Such is the case for Cannabis POW Crystal Munoz.
Crystal has been in prison since 2007 on conspiracy charges related to cannabis trafficking. She pled Not Guilty and went to trial but two prior misdemeanor charges on her record led to a harsh court ruling and she still has nearly a decade left on her sentence.
Her youngest daughter, Nova, is now 9 years old and was delivered behind bars when Crystal began serving her time. She and her 10-year-old sister, named Crystal after her mother, currently live with their father Ricky.
Notice that Crystal’s “crimes” were non-violent and had no named victim, yet she got hit with 19 years and 10 months over a plant.
We first learned about Crystal Munoz, and way too many other cannabis POWs like her, at www.Parents4Pot.org
Parents 4 Pot was founded in November of 2013 by the late (and fuckin’ great) Mickey Martin. In his stead, it is managed by the love, sweat, and tears of an amazing group of cannabis advocates. Deanna Jean is joined by Anna Diaz, Susan Meehan, Melissa Bouchard, RL Marcy, Josh Mohawk Pisco, Michael Hawley, Addison DeMoura, and (recently pardoned) Weldon Angelos to form the Board of Directors for this vitally important organization. Most recently, Elinor Clark was added to the Board as a voice for her late husband, Mickey. Respected cannabis activist Cheri Sicard has also been instrumental in helping with the Parents 4 Pot POW Outreach Progra.
Their Mission Statement reads as follows:
Their mission is year round, but they mark the end of each calendar year with a Holiday Gift Drive which you can learn more about and generously give to HERE
Another amazing all-volunteer organization on the front lines of the war on weed is FreedomGrow.org
The always inspiring duo of Stephanie Landa and Dr. Dina operate this Non-Profit 501c3 that allows the generous among us to “adopt” a cannabis prisoner with a tax-deductible donation that will provide them with the basic necessities of life like soap, combs, toothbrushes, clean drinking water, palatable food, phone calls home, postage stamps, and dozens of other items that we take granted but that are denied to our prisoners.
The volunteers at FreedomGrow.org raise enough funds to cover envelopes, stamps, and trips to the post office to make sure that 100% of the money that you donate ends up on the books of your chosen prisoner(s) for them to use at the commissary.
You can learn more about how to adopt a prisoner HERE
It is our duty, out here on the streets, to never forget these weed warriors. As cannabis laws loosen nationwide, some states and major cities are considering downgrading or even wiping non-violent cannabis convictions from peoples’ records, but that process is slow and will only continue if we continue to demand it.
It is not only unfair but truly unjust that big business is now moving in to capitalize on the very same business models that have landed so many people – so many moms – in prison over a plant.
You can find out how to contact your local politicians HERE and demand that they begin work at the state level to clear past cannabis convictions for all so that our people can be free once again.
Support all of our Cannabis POWs
(cover photo courtesy of Flickr Commons)