Stiletto Stoners: Meet The Beverly Hills Mom Who's Building A Weed Empire

by John Haltiwanger

You know that marijuana has gone mainstream when moms are at the forefront of the movement for legalization. Indeed, more and more women, many of them mothers, are coming out in support of pot.

Not only that, many of them are also using it, in some form or another, on a regular basis.

Baking during the holidays will never be the same.

A recent paper from the Global Drug Policy Observatory revealed that women played a vital role in the legalization of recreational marijuana in Washington and Colorado.

As Dave Bewley-Taylor, the co-author of the paper, told the Daily Beast:

Research shows that women were the key demographic in these historic marijuana campaigns. Activists directed much of their attention on 30- to 50-year-old women and, at the end of the day, it was women who made history.

Simply put, female voters were a huge part of the reason people can now legally toke up in these two states.

Activists found that they could get moms on the side of marijuana by explaining to them that legalization could help control youth access via strictly regulated markets whilst revenue from cannabis taxation could be used to improve education.

Activists also educated women on the potential medical benefits of pot. Ultimately, it appears that many mothers were swayed by these arguments.

Yet, it's not only in Washington and Colorado that marijuana has found support amongst mothers. Cheryl Shuman, a mother in California, is reinventing the traditional perception of pot-smokers, and building a marijuana empire in the process.

Meet the "Martha Stewart of Marijuana"

Cheryl Shuman, a tall 54-year-old Ferrari-driving blonde, starts each and every day on a high note. The self-proclaimed "Martha Stewart of Marijuana," her breakfast consists of a “power smoothie” of marijuana, wheatgrass and vegetables.

She also smokes regularly via a vaporizer, with weed that comes from her very own marijuana farm in Northern California.

Shuman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, and claims that pot was a huge part of the reason she was able to heal and recover. Thus, she continues to use marijuana for medicinal reasons.

She originally started using marijuana in 1996 after a messy divorce and stressful public scandal involving actor Steven Seagal. Around the same time, Shuman founded the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, which provides marijuana products to upscale customers. In other words, she helps the "high society" get its pot fix, which is a huge part of her marketing strategy. This marijuana mom continues to run the business with her daughter, Aimee.

Shuman wants people in the corporate world to recognize and embrace the medicinal benefits of marijuana. Simultaneously, she hopes that people will stop stereotyping pot smokers as joint-rolling hippies, bong-ripping frat bros and blunt-smoking rap stars.

Shuman is accomplishing this by doing everything from selling hemp-infused shampoo and olive oil to holding bourgeois cannabis-tasting dinner parties. She also hopes to open 420-friendly resorts and yoga studios. This is the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" meets "Pineapple Express."

She's had a lot of success in this endeavor, and her business is gaining more notoriety every day. The company behind "American Idol," FremantleMedia, was even considering filming a reality TV show surrounding her life.

This eventually fizzled out, however, given they felt that some parents might not be fond of a show surrounding a pot-promoting mother-and-daughter team.

Correspondingly, Shuman has also been at the forefront of debates surrounding responsible parenting and marijuana use, and has argued that smoking pot has made her a better mom.

When she was going through her stressful divorce, she was prescribed a number of medications, including Prozac and sleeping pills.

According to her, this made her feel "like a zombie." She had two kids at the time and felt like this was impacting her ability to be a good mother. Shuman claims that switching to pot helped her feel better and get back to her normal self. In the process, she was able to be an attentive mother again.

America is slowly but surely coming around to pot, with more and more people agreeing that it should and can be legal. Shuman is a testament to the fact that both women and businesspeople will be vital to this process.

Women and Entrepreneurs Will Change America's Stance On Pot

At the moment, 22 states and Washington DC have medical marijuana programs. Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska are the only states that have legalized recreational use. Washington DC has also legalized recreational use, but Republicans in Congress recently blocked portions of this legislation.

As noted above, women have already played a very significant role in this process. Mothers are a very powerful demographic. If people like Shuman can convince more moms of the medicinal benefits of marijuana, then we could see recreational pot legalized in a number of states in the coming years.

The other side of this is the fact that the United States is an inherently capitalistic country. If you can convince people that something is not only beneficial, but also profitable, then they will begin to come around. Shuman is doing both of these things.

Not everyone agrees with her methods. Some apparently feel that she's somewhat of a narcissist and more concerned with promoting herself than the marijuana movement. There is probably some truth to this, but it's also the nature of business. As Shuman stated to the New York Times:

I can stand on a corner waving a sign, and no disrespect to the people who do that. Or I can go on national television and reach millions of people.

If there is any hope of marijuana being legalized in all 50 states, then it has to become palatable to multiple demographics. This means that pot advocates need the corporate world on their side. Not everyone will agree with Shuman's way of doing business, but she is a necessary aspect of the movement for legalization.

Citations: The Cannabis Queen of Beverly Hills (The New York Times), Cheryl Shuman Beverly Hills Marijuana Mom Explains Why She Swapped Prescription Pills For Pot (Huffington Post), Global Drug Policy Observatory (Global Drug Policy Observatory), CNN Piers Morgan Live Gone to Pot Special Cheryl Shuman Marijuana Mom (YouTube ), Women Are Leading the Way for Legalized Weed (The Daily Beast), Selling cannabis regulation Learning From Ballot Initiatives in the United States in 2012 (Global Drug Policy Observatory), DC pot fight puts GOP in an awkward spot (Politico )