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Why Does America Love Gossiping About Young, Drug-Using Women Like Cat Marnell?

What’s missing from the conversation is the idea that there could be a female drug user who doesn't end in a flame of self-destruction.

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For example, mothers who smoke weed recreationally are “coming out” as stoned and proud, explaining to the public how smoking weed and being a good mom are not mutually exclusive. As many of the women point out, weed is safer than alcohol, and gets them buzzed just enough to relax, laugh and go about their day. Sick and tired of "being judged for doing something nontoxic and totally organic, enjoying a god-given plant, by moms who suck back two bottles of Chardonnay like sports drinks,” they are  taking to the Internet to defend their lifestyle choice.

“Anybody who thinks that weed makes parents ignore their children has clearly never been high around one,” an anonymous weed mom wrote on Jezebel. And she’s right; It’s not like moms are lighting up and getting reckless. To the contrary, pot-smoking moms say a little cannabis helps them focus and relax so that typically menial tasks like folding laundry become fun. Instead of “getting all crazy, hanging out of limo sun roofs,” wrote Anonymous, “I tend to ride out my buzz by giggling with my family, eating dinner, doing the dishes, putting the baby to bed and watching an episode of 'Friday Night Lights.'"

These kinds of stories about non-problematic drug use empower women to control their bodies and lives--from what they put into them to what happens after. As Anonymous wrote,

“...I know I'm not the only one, and I know I'm in good company, but I wish that more parents were open about smoking pot in order to reduce the stigma associated with it. You know, I'm a mom, but I'm also a person. Don't put me in a box. Unless it's a hot box.”

Opening up this conversation could benefit not just the Lindsay Lohans of the world, but society at large. The judgements and condemnation that afflicts celebrity female drug users extends far beyond the tabloid pages. The drug war gives the government room to meddle in women’s wombs, to take their children away for crimes as small as marijuana use and to chain imprisoned addicts giving birth to hospital beds (as if they would run away).

Rewriting this narrative, therefore, isn’t simply about saving Cat Marnell; it’s about protecting the basic liberties of millions of women in the United States. After all, as Marnell told Vice magazine, “I am a person in a woman’s body.”

The fact that she said those words when she was likely high on a cocktail of amphetamines doesn’t make them any less true.

Kristen Gwynne is an associate editor and drug policy reporter at AlterNet.  Follow her on Twitter: @KristenGwynne