Church-going Texas mother supports marijuana legalization
To be a church-going Christian, single mother who fiercely promotes marijuana legalization in Texas, that can be a tall order.
Meet Callie Dee, a 32-year-old woman from Fort Worth, Texas who has a lot going on for her. An office manager, local music promoter and talent buyer, radio talk show host, blogger, and mother of three, Callie also spends her time helping to coordinate events for a local cannabis advocacy group which regularly sees hundreds if not thousands of participants, and she goes to church.
She also smokes marijuana.
Texans’ attitudes towards pot are changing, and polls show that as few as 23 percent of them want to keep the non-toxic plant illegal. The taboo surrounding not just consumption, but being a single mother who consumes cannabis remains strong though. More and more women are not only making their consumption public knowledge, but they’re getting involved in the cannabis activist community to help bring change to the laws.
Callie began smoking marijuana around the age of 16 while she was in high school. She also finished a year early with a very high GPA.
“I was very suicidal as a kid and pre-teen. I don’t know, I had this really bad self talk. It was like everything I did I recorded in my head just to chastise myself later. I started smoking pot, and it helped me relax. I wasn’t so weird in front of people, always worried about what they thought.”
She found friends within the community of people she began smoking with, some of which she remains close with to this day.
Her consumption of cannabis persisted, which she claims helps with relaxation because of being high strung and constantly on the go. Equating it with having a beer at the end of the day, Callie says that in a society like we have now, it’s important to find something which helps you relax, that it’s almost a necessity. She believes it also works as a medicine for her.
“I have a million thoughts in my mind every second so it just helps me stay on track.”
Having marijuana around children can be a very delicate situation, but she prefers not to be secretive about it. Remembering back to when she realized her parents had hidden their consumption from her, she felt lied to and upset.
While her two younger children aren’t old enough to understand, Callie is very open with her eldest son Jarrett, who is 14.
“I always thought it was kind of backwards that as we started having kids we’d escape to the garage or another bedroom to do the deed. Then if the child walks in everyone looks in panic and rushes the kid out. Like, don’t you think the child will grow up thinking his parents are doing something wrong?”
She approached this situation by going into another room and informing him that they were having grownup time. When he was 8 years old, she explained to him that she smoked marijuana, telling him that some people would think this is wrong and that he would be taught that in school.
“I asked him, Does mommy feed you? Yes. Does mommy keep a roof over your head? Yes. Does mommy abuse you? No. Okay well unless I’m a bad mommy and you’re being abused, what happens in our house is our business.”
Jarrett went through the DARE program and does not consume any drugs. Callie answered any related questions during his time in the program and she happily reports that he excels in band and is in all of the pre-AP classes at school.
“Me being open with my son didn’t turn him into a delinquent, he hasn’t ratted me out to anyone at school, I mean…I think I made a good choice there. I have an open and honest relationship with him and I know he’ll appreciate it.”
Callie doesn’t want her kids smoking marijuana until they’re out of high school, but would prefer that they wait until their 20’s before consuming alcohol or cannabis.
Looming on the minds of all parents who consume cannabis though is Child Protective Services.
“I believe we should speak up and not let CPS or other agencies bully us because we have children. Know your rights. CPS has no right to step foot into your house unless you give them permission. If there is no judgement, tell them to call your lawyer. Don’t admit to anything, don’t consent to a test.”
Callie has had a run-in with CPS before due to an angry ex-boyfriend. She had to find out first hand how to deal with an agency who has taken children from parents due solely to cannabis consumption. Sometimes those children are put in danger by the agency, a prime example being Alex Hill, who died in foster care after her father admitted to CPS that he smoked marijuana.
Jarrett has been told that if they come question him at school that he needs to only tell them “call my mom’s lawyer.” Callie stresses the need to be educated about CPS, but does say that often many people’s fears about the agency are unfounded. She says that practicing discretion and common sense goes a long way.
People would often be surprised to learn that fellow co-workers or church-goers smoke pot. For Callie, she doesn’t feel judged by others who attend church with her.
“They love me regardless of my beliefs. Kind of how church should be. Shout out to Folding Ten Ministry.”
She used to attend a mega-church, but left in search of a smaller congregation. She doubts she would have been able to continue her role in the Children’s Ministry now that other parents at the mega-church know about her advocacy and consumption. Otherwise, she believes her smoking has not affected her involvement in the church community.
With her busy lifestyle though, she does find it hard to commit to an early church service, but makes it a point to go about every other week or so.
Squaring cannabis use with her religious beliefs comes easy to Callie. One particular piece of scripture comes to mind regarding marijuana, that being Genesis 1:29. There are many translations with variations, however they all roughly mean the same.
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food.
This however conflicts with man-made laws making the cannabis plant, which is a herb bearing seed, illegal. Obeying the law of the land is from the Old Testament, and depending on who you speak with, there are many who believe the New Testament replaces the old, effectively nullifying it.
“The Bible says obey the laws of the land and in Texas it’s illegal. But I come from a religious background where you love the sinner, hate the sin. We all sin. God knows my heart. Smoking cannabis to me is like speeding, even though you know you shouldn’t. The law of the land says go 60 MPH but how many people go 65? My view. So it doesn’t put me at odds and I reconcile daily with God on my sins or weaknesses.”
She finds that the laws criminalizing cannabis are at conflict with the will of God, and figures that’s a great reason to get involved with legalizing the non-toxic plant.
When she’s not working as an accountant and office manager, which includes overseeing an executive suite with six different companies, Callie puts her skills to work for the local non-profit chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, DFW NORML.
She is the former Director of Operations for the group and her job was to coordinate all of their events, with help from fellow board members of course. Callie now assists the organization as a regular member where she can.
“Lots of moving parts, venues, artists, sound systems, rental fees, sponsors, volunteers, etc. I also helped get us in at events where we could reach non DFW NORML members and educate them about our cause.”
Callie was interviewed and featured on the local news broadcast for a billboard that the group erected earlier this year. It was the first pro-cannabis billboard to be put up in Texas. She’s also extremely proud to have been part of the Global Marijuana March event in downtown Fort Worth earlier this year where over 2,000 people marched on the courthouse and many openly smoked marijuana in protest in front of the police. No one was arrested at that event either.
She understands that people fear getting involved with groups like DFW NORML but says sometimes you have to face your fears.
“A lot of them are unfounded, and if you think it should be legal, speak out.”
Wearing her NORML gear out and about is a pretty regular thing for Callie. Whether it’s t-shirts or bracelets, any time she isn’t taking her kids to school or church, or when she’s going to work, she’s proud to represent the cause. Being respectful of the workplace and mindful of where she’s going is a priority.
“I’m always getting compliments on my NORML gear and it’s helped open up conversations about our group and when our different events are, including meetings.”
An immense amount of her time is also spent on the local music scene coordinating music events, finding and promoting musicians and bands.
“I have brought in big names like Ras Kass and Copywrite, I’ve helped on shows like DJP and Mobb Deep, recently The Pharcyde. I do a lot of local stuff too, which I prefer. A lot less moving parts than touring acts and less money up front.”
Callie finds time to ink out a few written pieces here and there, but her biggest project is a radio show.
“I also blog about events on my personal page, Callie Dee Presents, and for www.TooFreshProductions.com. I host a hip hop radio show on The Southside Pirate www.SouthsidePirate.com which will soon be on FM radio. The show airs Sundays and Wednesdays 8-10pm. I am a promoter so I always get opportunities for back stage access at some big shows with certain production companies. This gives me the chance to get really good interviews and I always let them know I work with DFW NORML and ask their opinion on the subject. I’m really just someone trying help the hip hop scene at the end of the day, whatever role that is.”
While music and activism take up a large part of her life, Callie also finds time to work out when she can and is also a fitness instructor. Of course there’s family time as well.
Being a good role model is important to Callie. She knows her children are watching, and she knows others are as well. Young girls are looking up to her and she wants to set a good example. So far she seems to be doing pretty well.
By: Stephen Carter
Contact Stephen via email at TXCann@gmail.com
Listen to our podcast at txcann.podomatic.com