In 1929, a small group of women formed an organization to support the repeal of alcohol prohibition. Concerned for the welfare of their families and communities, they set out to challenge the misconceptions upon which prohibition was built and raise awareness of the many health and safety hazards it had created. The organization grew quickly, and public support for prohibition plummeted as more and more women spoke out in support of replacing it with a more sensible policy. In December 1933 — less than five years after that small group of women took action — national alcohol prohibition came to an end.
The primary differentiator between the repeal of alcohol prohibition 100 years ago versus our fight to end cannabis prohibition today is found in the underlying racism that was deeply woven into the abolitionism movement versus our dedication to, by, and with the Black and Hispanic families most heavily impacted by this war. More than half of our founders are mothers whose families have been affected by the systemic racism at the roots of cannabis prohibition or whose families have been directly impacted by cannabis prohibition. We have made great strides in progress through strength in numbers, strength in unity, and strength in being on the right side of change.
The Women’s Initiative for a Safe and Equitable Florida is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to building support for sensible cannabis policy reform through education, outreach, and advocacy. It is comprised of parents, students and professionals, neighbors, and community leaders, representing all areas of the state and a diverse array of backgrounds.
Like those women who fought to end alcohol prohibition nearly a century ago, we recognize the harms cannabis prohibition is causing, and we are taking action to protect our families and communities. Our goal is to end prohibition and replace it with a system in which cannabis is legal and regulated in a manner that improves safety, advances justice, and fosters opportunity for all Floridians.
WISE Florida was founded by women, but we welcome participation from everyone — regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, or religion — who recognizes cannabis prohibition is causing harm to our society and supports replacing it with a more sensible policy. If you agree it is time to legalize and regulate cannabis for adult use and you share our goals of improving safety, advancing justice, and fostering opportunity, please join us!
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Cannabis prohibition is rooted in misinformation and negative stereotypes about the substance and those who consume it. We want to set the record straight and foster an open and honest dialogue about cannabis and how it is treated in our society. Most importantly, we want to raise public awareness about the harm being caused by current cannabis prohibition policies, and how regulating cannabis would improve public health and safety, advance justice and social equity, and create economic opportunity for Florida families and communities.
A solid majority of Americans — including most Floridians — now support legalization. Yet cannabis prohibition is still the law of the land federally and in many states, including Florida. This is largely because many people (and therefore many politicians) do not consider reform a high priority, or they have qualms about publicly advocating for change. Our goal is to reach out to people, organizations, and political officials to ensure they are informed, convey the urgency behind this issue, and empower them to take meaningful action, small or large.
Cannabis policy reform is gaining momentum nationwide and in Florida, and a variety of efforts are underway to bring about change at the federal, state and local levels. While WISE Florida was not founded to lead the charge on any specific bill or initiative, we may use our collective voice to support policy proposals that advance our core values (or oppose proposals that threaten them). But our true goal is to supplement all those efforts by building a broad network of supporters and empowering them to raise awareness among their families, friends, neighbors, and elected officials.