Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 12.16.57 AMMadeline Martinez is the Director Emeritus of Oregon NORML, Co-Founder of the NORML Women’s Alliance, and Owner of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe. Madeline has worked in cannabis activism for twenty years. As Executive Director Emeritus of Oregon NORML, she currently sits on the national board of NORML. Madeline is also the owner of the World Famous Cannabis Cafe, which opened as the first establishment of its kind in the United States in late 2009. She has been an integral part of the creation of Oregon’s cannabis industry, having worked as a patient advocate in numerous legislative and medical advisory committees and liaising with legislators and law enforcement agencies to protect the rights of cannabis consumers and small business owners. Working with New Approach Oregon, she helped draft the language of Measure 91, which passed to legalize recreational cannabis for adults in Oregon. In September 2016, she was invited to speak at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

When building a cannabis industry from the ground up, why is gender parity important?

Women are the cornerstone of any community, and bring our inherent strengths into anything that we put our passions behind. We are dynamic multi-taskers in our roles as CEO’s and managers of households, juggling the responsibilities and considerations of care-giving with the knowledge and tenacity required to pursue careers and build businesses. We are driven to think of health and safety considerations, to develop rule-making with reasonable enforcement, and we’re usually well experienced in budgeting and negotiations! These strengths make women crucial to the leadership force and make us well prepared for the demands of working in a developing industry.

Women bring a diverse perspective to the table, our strengths and views on parenting issues and our vision of the future for our children and aging parents. We are the hand that rocks the cradle. Legalization didn’t really start to move forward until women got involved, and it is with our tenacity that it will continue to progress.

“Legalization didn’t really start to move forward until women got involved, and it is with our tenacity that it will continue to progress.” – Madeline Martinez

What social justice and/or criminal justice reforms do you want the US to make around its drug policy, particularly around cannabis?

I witnessed the devastating effects of Prohibition on women and families firsthand through my work for the California Department of Corrections at the California Institution for Women. Being a Latina mother, and grandmother, I was acutely aware of the stark racial disparity in women arrested for cannabis-related offenses. I also witnessed the failure of the criminal justice system when inmates were able to access cannabis inside prison.

Concern for women’s issues, parental rights and family law fuels my passion in my fight against cannabis Prohibition. I am a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), and as Co-Founder of the NORML Women’s Alliance, I work with Kyndra Miller of Cannabusiness Law to continue to correct and reform harmful and ineffective drug policies.

With racial disparity in the enforcement of drug laws, cannabis emerging as a scientifically proven medical treatment, and recreational use becoming more and more accepted, the only logical next step for criminal justice reform would be the complete de-scheduling of cannabis, the end of cannabis-related arrests, and the release of non-violent cannabis prisoners.

Social Media:

Facebook: Madeline Martinez

Twitter: @WFCCPrez

Instagram: @Madelinemartinez51