This article originally appeared on fieldsofgreenforall.co.za and was published with permission.

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It may be a “myth” that Queen Victoria used Cannabis for her period pains. This piece of history has been debunked and then un-debunked but it has certainly been a great piece of history to include the use of Cannabis by women in the general conversation.

That is not enough.

In order to pave the way for the next decade of Cannabis policies in South Africa we need these policies to be sustainable. Gender equality has to be at the heart of sustainability. Empowering women also means an end to prohibition as the only way to protect women from stigma and dangerous, degrading encounters with law enforcement. Specific criminal justice measures targeting women, eg: withdrawal of child custody, hampering of the exercise of family rights, must be abolished without delay.

Goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is Gender Equality. We have written about our submissions at the United Nations before and spoken at international conferences on the issues facing women and Cannabis in South Africa. Fields of Green for ALL is acutely aware of this issue when it comes to offering solutions for Cannabis Regulations in South Africa.

The differential impact of Cannabis-related problems and policies on women calls for the design, development and implementation of specific frameworks to promote, enforce and monitor gender  equality and non-discrimination. Policies and strategies regarding Cannabis products and their use should have components specific to women’s health and include and consult with women and affected populations at all levels.

Female leadership in the upcoming legal Cannabis industry is a given as we see so many “success stories in the making” across SA. From humble home bakeries to women in science blazing a trail in the testing sector, young women academics writing theses on Cannabis, women activists working with Cannabis in communities struggling with gang violence, the list goes on. Let’s highlight the work of amazing women in Cannabis this month!

Networking is key to having our voices heard and proactive women in Cannabis are very busy. Looking abroad to places where Cannabis is already legalised, a group of SA women have formed a South African chapter of the Global Cannabis Community for Women – Tokeativity Connect.

Our intention is to nurture a safe space for women to connect, learn and create. We work to empower women at the root level and forward the normalisation of Cannabis. Whether you are a curious first timer or daily consumer, all women are welcome to join our in person or online community events… Socials, workshops, networking, Cannabis conversations, Q&As, panels, films, guest artists, and more… Events are focused on offering support in career enrichment, personal empowerment and skill set development.”  (From Tokeativity website “About Us” page)

This month we are encouraging South African women to join our chapter at Tokeativity so that we can have more events across the country and online. The next South African event will be held in Johannesburg on 31 August so please register to join us.

Tokeativity is based in Portland, Oregan, USA and Myrtle & Jules are very excited to be going to Portland to meet up with Lisa and Samantha, the awesome founders. They have arranged a “Meet ‘n Greet”, which we hope to live stream back to South Africa. It is extra special that we will be there during Women’s Month. Please watch Fields of Green for ALL’s social media pages and subscribe to The Dagga Couple YouTube channel so you don’t miss the event on Tuesday 20 August.

Fields of Green for ALL wishes all women who use, cultivate or trade in Cannabis in South Africa a happy and fruitful Women’s Month. We hear you, we understand and we look forward to more lovely sisters becoming involved with our work to re-legalise our favourite plant.

Pic: South African Tokeativity chapter meeting in May 2019