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Saturday, December 15, 2018  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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New leadership for NORML Women of Washington

Women of NORML participate in the Marijuana Freedom March in Seattle. (Courtesy Women of NORML )
Women of NORML participate in the Marijuana Freedom March in Seattle. (Courtesy Women of NORML )

Chrissy Knox has a new hat to wear.

She’s already a mom of two and a budtender. But in September, she became chair of the Eastern Washington chapter of NORML Women of Washington, a state organization dedicated to improving cannabis laws along with general advocacy for responsible adult use.

“The way ‘Reefer Madness’ has shaped our society needs to be in the past,” she said.

Knox, a resident of Spokane since 2015, uses cannabis to treat a complicated medical condition. After being unsatisfied with pharmaceutical options, she did her own research and discovered that cannabis helped her condition without altering her personality.

She wishes more mainstream health providers are able to suggest it more as a medical option, but sympathizes that some feel conflicted with wanting to help patients and follow rules that declare cannabis illegal.

“I understand encouraging or endorsing cannabis does put their practice at risk,” Knox said.

So she feels it is her job to educate providers, possible patients and anyone else. She also is a budtender at Toker Friendly in Airway Height, a position she loves.

She also is excited about bringing her passion to the NORML Women at a local state level.

The state organization was formed in 2011 to assist with the passage of Initiative 502, which legalized recreational cannabis. There are about 100 active members in various chapters around Washington and about 1,500 on the state mailing list. Attorney Danica Noble leads the organization.

The Eastern Washington group was formed in fall 2017. It meets monthly and has about 10-12 active members, a number that Knox hopes to grow.

One of the organization’s annual efforts is a Day of Action in Olympia, where NORML and NORML Women of Washington encourage legislators to focus on certain cannabis topics.

In recent years, the groups have promoted a need for people to legally grow their own plants at home; removing non-violent marijuana convictions handed down prior to legalization; and updating employment protections for responsible cannabis use by adults.

Knox said licensed medical cannabis users still face challenges if they work for companies that have firm anti-drug policies.

This can be especially complicated at larger, multi-state companies where one state may allow cannabis use but another doesn’t. As long as an adult cannabis user doesn’t drive under the influence, doesn’t consume to excess, consume in public or in front of kids, and isn’t in a high-risk job involving machinery and quick responses, they should receive more legal protections from their employer.

She has also seen the devastation that non-violent marijuana convictions have caused families, which could be reduced if laws were adjusted.

The next Day of Action is set for Jan. 21 and Knox said NORML expects to have a large presence.

People interested in learning more and being part of NORML Women of Washington are invited to the group’s monthly meeting. The next is Oct. 20 at Via La Bombshell at 2101 E. Illinois in Spokane.

Knox said the group will talk about state and national issues, ways to educate the community about cannabis, plus general brainstorming. You don’t have to be a member to attend meetings.

The state and local group also share information via Instagram, Facebook and Twitter


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