Can You Share Your Story With Cruel Consequences?

In a country built by our “forefathers,” it is a remarkable phenomenon that women are trailblazing the cannabis industry.

According to an article in Marijuana Business Daily, “women hold a greater share of executive positions in the cannabis industry than all other U.S. industries as a whole.” Although statistics like these are continuously evolving into more detailed industry access, there are other trailblazing women of note that are doing more for the cannabis community than simply making a profit. As these women of honor spread education and awareness, while creating real cannabis reform, we’d like to share their stories in hopes of their efforts gaining the attention it deserves. 

Just north of our state’s border, Tamara Netzel is taking charge of a project in her home state of Virginia called “Cruel Consequences: Portraits of Misguided Law.” Cruel Consequences is a powerful exhibit displaying photos of people who have suffered from the effects of the Drug War. The portraits and their accompanying stories are a heartbreaking visual reminder that our country is still waging a war on a plant and the irreparable harm caused by prohibition. 

Tamara was a middle school teacher for 16 years prior to her cannabis advocacy. After losing faith in her doctors’ forms of treatment, Tamara found safe and effective relief for her MS pain symptoms through cannabis. This was seemingly contradictory to her former career, which included the D.A.R.E. program, but the more she educated herself on cannabis, the more shocked she became at the cruel consequences that followed those that have been caught. She stated, “it became unconscionable to me not only that people still are getting arrested for marijuana, but that even after they serve their sentencing requirements, we continue to punish them by denying eligibility of college loans, loss of employment, and denying housing. This I believe is the biggest underreported fact about what happens to people who are charged. I believe that if the public knew that our criminal justice system made it harder for people to recover their lives after a marijuana charge, there would be more action to change the laws. And I believe the best way to educate the public about this issue is through real personal stories of people who have suffered these cruel consequences.”

NC NORML has partnered with Cruel Consequences. One way you can help amplify the effects of prohibition is to share the stories at Make your elected officials aware of tragedy in their states. You can also share your own or a loved one’s story.  If you aren’t ready to go “public”, don’t let that stop you!  Cruel Consequences will honor your confidentiality through various anonymization techniques. All cases in the project are people who have satisfied all terms of sentencing, paid off their court costs, fines, but they are still relegated to the fringes and have little chance of ever moving beyond it.  

To take immediate action after you finish reading:

  1. Visit and click “Submit Your Story.” Even if you aren’t ready to share, please check out their page on FB, IG, and Twitter and share everywhere..
  2. Check out our “Help Wanted” blog and learn how you can get involved: 
  3. Get your 2020 NC NORML Membership, new options here:  

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