Mary Jane and The Beautiful Power of Telling Your Own Story

As the Scales of Justice *finally* tilt in Mary Jane’s favor, women across the world must continue to redefine what it means to be valued by taking control of our own narratives. 

By Lyneisha Watson

Photo Credit: Leighann Blackwood @ohleighann 

Every manifestation of the divine feminine is sacred, yet women are constantly fighting to be seen and valued.  Though the beauty standard is changing to be more diverse and inclusive, many of us still feel like we have no value because we don’t fit into society’s archaic definition of beauty. This patriarchal control of the beauty narrative is mirrored in the prohibitionist ideology that launched a century-long campaign to manipulate our understanding of marijuana. Like Mary Jane, we women have been programmed to believe that there is nothing divine about our existence, which is why cannabis legalization is a message to us all to remain rebellious in our fight for equality and respect. 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in our society, the “beautiful ones” are only chosen based on how pleasing they are to the male gaze and psyche. Just as the fear of coronavirus ghosts around in the back of our minds, patriarchies' very narrow, exploitative, voyeuristic definition of beauty haunts us all. 

As the “Barbie Aesthetic” — the archetype for beauty and femininity that we were programmed to believe in as young girls — expands to include a rainbow of women, it still eliminates a great majority of the women in our society. Some of us will never be enough for patriarchy because our skin is too dark; our legs are too long, or not long enough; our bodies are too fat, or not curvy enough; our minds are too big, and not limited enough; and we talk too much. Instead of being valued for the ethereal force that runs through our blood, we are objectified and consumed; we are only a “thing” to be observed and critiqued. Very rarely are we allowed to speak our truth and be understood. 

Past cannabis literature, most often written by white men, is laced with these same oppressive beliefs. “[In colonial Africa,] the drug use practices of people in social underclasses were stereotyped as deleterious to individual and public health,” writes Chris S. Duvall in his book The African Roots of Marijuana. This poor understanding of marijuana use by European documentarians would eventually make its way across the Atlantic and inspire the propaganda that spread during American cannabis prohibition. Because the original framers of Mary Jane’s story looked at the plant and her users through a prejudiced lens, we have only been able to experience her through their inferior point-of-view. 

The ups and downs of cannabis legalization show us that Mary Jane, like all women, is a portal to higher states of consciousness that can open up pathways to limitless abundance, but her magic is always reduced to a dollar amount and/or used to victimize marginalized communities. Only when the framers of Mary Jane's story decided that her illegality didn’t benefit them anymore, were we able to believe something different about the plant and the benefits she provides.  

In the same ways our society is unlearning cannabis propaganda, we women have to unlearn society’s half-baked understanding of what it means to be divine. If we continue to look at ourselves through our oppressors' eyes, we will never understand the depth of who we are. In order to avoid marginalization, we women have to be in control of the narrative at all times because the greatest act of rebellion is taking back control of our stories. 

Here are 4 Quotes From Women Helping Mary Jane Reclaim Her Value and Her Story:

Atiya Willis, Co-Founder, AlaExotics

"As a trauma survivor,  Cannabis has allowed me independence. After experiencing trauma in my former career serving the country, cannabis has been a key part of my healing process through mediation for myself and my clients. It has redefined me as a healer, allows me to provide for my family and as a mother, and it helps me to redefine all the relationships in my life. Through Cannabis, I'm able to open up to connect better with my children." 

Crystal Willis, Co-Founder, AlaExotics; CMO, Perfect Kush Corp. Cultivation & Distro

"Like Mother Goddess Ala, women are the guardians of the harvest. There is tangible power in the flower to empower women's self-care and self-expression! Marijuana has acted as a ‘gateway drug’ for me by helping me heal my trauma as a Black woman and eliminate my dependence on prescriptions to function. We should celebrate, not stigmatize that. We're mothers, professionals, veterans, artists and world changers. Put some respect on that."

Annie Brookstone — Writer for KushKush 

“At the heart of intersectional feminism is the understanding of how different forms of discrimination overlap. It’s clear though that fighting for changes in cannabis is more than just a battle for personal freedoms – it’s a feminist fight, it’s a fight against structures that police bodies and cultures, and as the tide turns and ‘legal weed’ becomes the norm, it’s a fight against the continued incarceration of mostly people of colour on cannabis-related charges. It feels only natural that the most significant weed reforms in a century are occurring alongside powerful women’s rights movements.

It also feels natural not only because some of the most important voices in feminism have been witches, healers and mystics but also because without the female plant, the industry wouldn’t exist. Only unpollinated female plants produce the potent buds used to get a buzz. Male plants, on the other hand, contain low levels of THC and are often removed completely as pollination can ruin entire crops. Instead of running this risk, most plants in the industry are cloned from the best possible female specimen – the mother.” 

Christine De La Rosa, founder of CBDShield 

"Women make up 51% of the U.S. population, yet only 8% of CEOs in the cannabis industry are female and the women of color percentages in those roles are dismally low. Women of color continue to be undervalued in the cannabis industry to the detriment and revenue loss to the large cannabis corporates. WOC are not only connected to the largest market segment in the US, women, but also to the largest market in cannabis, BIPOC. I feel very fortunate to be among the 8% of women CEOs in the cannabis industry, but I know it's not enough. My goal is to create as many C-suite positions for women of color throughout the cannabis industry through mentorship advisory and just plain ol' opening up the door for all of my fellow women of color.”

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