Freedom Fighter of the Month
November 2011 – Anne Davis
NORML New Jersey
By Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator
If the end of Alcohol Prohibition in the 1930’s has any lesson for marijuana law reformers, it is that women – mothers, particularly – play a vital role in moving public opinion when policy meets morality.
This month’s Freedom Fighter, Anne Davis of New Jersey, exemplifies the legacy of 20th Century female reformers like Pauline Sabin. She is a single mom and a practicing family law attorney, so she has seen firsthand the devastation of families that end up in a courtroom due to a family member’s use of marijuana.
“Marijuana use comes up in custody cases all the time and it is inherently unfair,” she says. “A positive test in New Jersey will definitely result in supervised parenting time with limited visits and no overnights, regardless of how wonderful a parent may be. It is a damn shame.”
Davis decided she could no longer sit silently as families no different than her own were terrorized not by the use of marijuana, but by our legal system’s reaction to it. In 2008 she made the leap from bystander to activist by attending the NORML Aspen Legal Seminar and the NORML Conference in Berkeley. “As a registered Republican,” she notes, “I wasn’t sure that marijuana reform – with its connotations of anti-establishment and liberalism – would be welcoming me. I found just the opposite: that marijuana reform is truly a conservative message of personal responsibility, limited government, and states’ rights.”
With new friends and allies, including Freedom Fighters Chris Goldstein (10/06 & 5/08) and Georgine DiMaria (9/09), Davis got involved in the formation of NORML New Jersey, of which she was recently elected Executive Director. She helped lobby for New Jersey’s medical marijuana law and is currently fighting the new administration of Gov. Christie – a fellow Republican – to stop delaying the implementation of the law.