We provide mentorship and strategic support to women who are actively working to reverse the harms of prohibition in their own communities and across the United States. From the War on Drugs to civil rights and reproductive freedoms, we seek to challenge stigmas and reverse policies that are harmful to women and their families.
Prohibitionist policies label hard-working Americans as criminals for making choices regarding their own families, households, health and wellness, and lives. These policies and unchecked biases disproportianately target women and families, Indigenous Americans and people of color, those who identify as LGBTQ, displaced people, and the poor and working class.
Kari Boiter is an award-winning community organizer, communications strategist, and policy analyst. She is best known for coordinating the legal, media and political strategy to fully exonerate the Kettle Falls 5, a family who was federally prosecuted under harsh drug conspiracy laws for a state legal medical marijuana garden. After five years of legal wrangling, being acquitted at trial on all original charges, and convincing Congress to change federal law, the U.S. Department of Justice eventually admitted that it lacked the authority to prosecute Larry Harvey and his family. The case was dismissed in 2018, culminating with the return of all property seized by the federal government.
Kari has been directly impacted by the War on Drugs and mass incarceration, having been previously arrested and convicted for simple marijuana possession. In 2013, Kari became the legal guardian for a teenage boy whose father was serving a mandatory minimum prison sentence for a state-licensed cannabis business that prosecutors classified as “drug trafficking.” Tragically, the young man she once fostered in her home recently took his own life.
Today, Kari is a single mom to a precocious toddler, which inspires and informs her activism in new and different ways. In addition to her role with WONPR, Kari also serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Yellowstone County Continuum of Care, which is a collaborative of social service providers working to address homelessness. She is also a Parent Representative on the AWARE Early Head Start Policy Council, and recently served as lead organizer of a Steering Committee to form a Citizens Police Advisory Board in her city.
Allison Bigelow is a Grandmother, Mother, and an Activist with a knack for networking people. Prior to her work on prohibition reform, Allison was involved with the formation of an organization in 1992 called Clean Southern Maryland, whose mission was to stop the tri county area from building an incinerator to burn garbage. The group educated the community about the three “R’s” Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Allison’s small family moved to the West coast in 1994 and settled in the beautiful Skagit Valley in Washington state.
Allison has been a cannabis consumer since she was sixteen, never able to enjoy drinking alcohol, and not impressed with other mind altering alternatives, she has always enjoyed cannabis. In 1994, she read an article about Industrial Hemp, and being an activist for the environment, she was impressed. She realized that the three “R’s” are similar to putting a bandaid on the earth, when hemp is the solution. In November of 1995 she opened Washington Hemp Mercantile, in Mount Vernon, WA with the help of her husband, her two young daughters, and her sister Eve Lentz. They began selling industrial hemp products like twine, clothing, shoes, fabric, paper, lotions, lip balm, and even seed treats. An important part of Allison’s store was the Activist center where free printouts covered a table. She also aired a commercial that educated about Hemp on the local radio station whose broadcast reached several counties. For several years Allison took a booth of her hemp wares, education, and legalization petitions to many events, including every August at Seattle Hempfest, as well as Hemp Education Day, an event that would be held yearly at her state’s capitol in Olympia. She was a speaker at both of these events.
At the same time Allison became involved with Media Awareness Project. MAP offers facts, links and great letter-writing techniques to getting your voice heard. Allison was a volunteer newshawk for them, posting articles written about drug policy online along with the link to send Letters to the Editor (lte’s). Once, after a slew of lte’s responded to an article in the Spokesman Review, the newspaper wrote an article about what MAP does, including interviewing Allison.
Allison shared her booth at Seattle Hempfest with MAP/DrugSense in 1997. Also, as a member of the speaker’s committee of Hempfest, she invited MAP’s founders to come speak at the event. It was the first time Seattle Hempfest was taken seriously enough for the National Drug Reform organization to come to the event. Media Awareness Project is a project of DrugSense.
Allison’s store closed in 1998 and in 2000 her marriage ended, leaving her raising her two daughters alone. She took several jobs to pay bills and continued much of her volunteer activism.
In 2002 Allison became a member of Compassion In Action (CIA) joining them with their mission of providing good medicine to over 3,300 patients, while lowering the cost by having the members produce the medicine in collective owned grow facilities rather than being a buyers club. CIA also provided a source of information to help patients feel comfortable to speak with their primary care physician about how cannabis can or does help them in order to have their Dr. stand behind their decision to use this medicine. CIA discovered methods of ingestion and provided that to their patients. Many patients would rally together for political advocacy at the legislature, or to fill the courtroom when another patient was in the cross hairs of the law being prosecuted for cannabis offenses. This 2010 article describes the services the collective was providing prior to legalization of cannabis.
In 2004, seeing the need for an organized effort to address the harm that prohibition of drugs was causing, Allison reached out to the newly rebirthed organization Women’s Organization for National Prohibition Reform (WONPR) and became their Seattle organizer. She attended the National Association of Sheriffs conference being held in Seattle that year, and delivered flyers about WONPR to the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) booth. Allison also took a booth to several events educating the public about many Drug Policy organizations that existed at the time.
In 2009 Allison was a founding member of the Cannabis Defense Coalition (CDC) a group that would help pay expenses of patients and community members to travel to parts of the state to do courtroom observation of patients being prosecuted for cannabis offenses. The CDC was formed in response to the effect a packed courtroom had on Skamania County Superior Court Judge E. Thompson Reynolds who sentenced Sharon Tracy, a seriously ill medical marijuana patient to 60 days of electronic home detention, on November 20, 2009. The sentence for Sharon Tracy came after the Washington Supreme Court had rejected her doctor’s written recommendation for medical marijuana because the doctor was licensed in another state. Tracy, who was on public assistance, was also ordered to pay $3,000 in appeal costs plus the costs of her home detention. The group of patients that came to show their support dug in their pockets and gave her the entire money on the spot, in front of the Judge.
In 2010, Allison Bigelow was a member of the Sensible Washington Steering committee when the organization sponsored Initiative 1068 which would have removed state civil and criminal penalties for persons eighteen years or older who cultivate, possess, transport, sell, or use marijuana. Restrictions and penalties for persons under eighteen would be retained.. Not enough signatures were collected to get this initiative on the ballot.
Finally legalization of cannabis happened in her state and Allison found herself opposing it because she could see that the patient community was going to disappear. By July 2016 the state, supported by lobbyists for Recreational licensees, effectively killed medical collectives. . Allison’s collective had already been forced to relocate when the landlord made a deal with a legal I-502 retail store owner for the space, and then were given a 30 day notice to leave. The collective continued to help patients at the cannabis farmer’s market until they were forced to close by the state.
For years Allison has told people “Hemp Can Save the Earth.” At times she says “It feels like Hempsters are like a fly in someone’s ear saying “Hemp can save the Earth, Hemp can save the Earth!” and we keep getting batted away. Now it’s becoming time that people are beginning to wake up and say “What was it that those Hempsters were saying could save the Earth?” With all the new products, and our need for a composite that is stronger than steel yet lighter weight than steel,hemp concrete building bricks, hemp seed nutrition, and medicine from THC and CBD varieties. Yes it is Allison’s opinion that Hemp can indeed save the Earth, and its people.
By adhering to a philosophy based on promoting growth of a responsible, sustainable and inclusive cannabis industry, Amanda has developed an extensive database with a focus. Amanda has built her business around driving the improvement of the organization’s short and long-haul methodology, making and executing the organization or association vision and mission, guaranteeing that the organization keeps up high social duty wherever it works together, keeping up attention to the aggressive market scene, extension openings, industry improvements, and so forth.
Amanda joined the Women of Weed at its inception in Seattle WA and was a part of the beginning stages, with now over 300 signed women of weed who dedicate over 40 hours a week to the industry, this intelligent group of women is made of Dispensary Owners, Cultivation Growers, Processors, Cannabis Advocates, Attorneys, Doctors, Naturopaths. I was a part of the NCIA National Cannabis Industry Association at its inception founded in Seattle WA on the principle of power in numbers.
Dr. Dale Hunt is a plant scientist, a Cannabis lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney with over 20 years of experience protecting plant varieties in the United States and throughout the world. Dale is the founder of Plant & Planet Law Firm, an Intellectual Property Law practice, where he provides guidance and expertise on patents and IP matters, and aids clients in establishing IP protection for their legal marijuana cultivars, products and businesses. Before he began working in the legal Cannabis industry, Dale worked with other clients in Agriculture, Water Purification, Alternative Energies, Biotechnology, and Medicine, and he helped many of his clients commercialize their IP, products and plant varieties internationally. Through Plant & Planet Law Firm he and his team continue to service these clients in addition to their Cannabis clients. Dale has degrees in botany (BS), plant genetics (MS) molecular & cellular biology (PhD), and law (JD).
Dale has spoken on Cannabis-related topics at several gatherings including the Marijuana Business Convention, Emerald Cup, National Meeting of the Association of University Technology Managers, Meadowlands Leadership Summit, Perrin Conference on Emerging Legal Trends in the Cannabis Industry, and San Diego chapters of the MIT Enterprise Forum and the Licensing Executives Society. He has also been interviewed for and quoted in numerous news articles and by national media outlets on the topic of marijuana and patenting. Dale maintains a blog for plant breeders and others interested in the plant law at www.PlantLaw.com.
Autumn started in the medical cannabis industry, in early 2009, advocating for cannabis legalization at the State and Federal level. In 2018, Autumn started the nonprofit, Cultiva Justice, focused on righting the wrongs of the War on Drugs, with a focus on social equity and clearing criminal convictions.
Since 2018 she has managed a diverse and community minded legal team at Cultiva Law. Cultiva Law is a boutique law firm, focused solely on representing those in the cannabis industry. The firm spans four states with five offices. Autumn maintains organizational policies, practices, and procedures and each state and office, bringing her exceptional professional interpersonal skills that reflect the values of the firm. Autumn cares deeply about helping the cannabis community, both professionally and politically, through excellent work and skilled advocacy.