A Confessional Appeal

I have multiple sclerosis. I smoke marijuana. I am a divorced mother trying to raise responsible kids. I am also a proud Rhode Islander by luck of both history and attitude… At least three of those things cause me trouble every day.
On behalf of those of us who use marijuana or will in the future, I thank the legislature and all those who have supported accepting the truth of its assistance to us. I look forward to being able to hold my head proud, even high, again.
MS (one of the pot-approved diseases) busted my spirits, my finances, my independence, and my health; The thing that helps me deal with it best busts the rest of me.
The federal government’s stubborn, hypocritical, refusal to permit good citizens to use an herb with medicinal properties that makes them feel better is stupid, dictatorial, and empirically mean. It is uncivil, inhumane, and dis-empowering.
When government brands me a drug-abuser and scofflaw it strips me of both self and social dignity; it mutes my voice and undermines my authority – personal, moral, social and parental. When the government calls me a drug-abuser and scofflaw, it undermine’s itself and it undermines its own and my respectability.
When the government labels me a drug-abusing scofflaw, it is being very very anti-family.
The decision upon me as my disease worsens, has been to smoke marijuana and keep functioning or to crawl under my bedcovers as a non-functioning ,if socially acceptable, parent. It seemed to me that a little occasional laissez-faire silly absent-mindedness is better than a lot of never-fare profound absence. I chose the first to be able attempt the latter.
MS is one of these conditions the doctors call medical enigmas: they only know its incurable although there are loads of new efforts to manage its effects. I’ve tried most. Every treatment, every vicious drug, every bee sting, every nasty concoction, every needle poked into me has hurt me and makes me feel worse, but I’ve done them in hopes that I’d be worse quicker if I didn’t. Doctors, family, and society are proud of me and my pains.
Ironically, marijuana is the only thing that actually makes me feel better and, ironically, marijuana is the only thing I can’t use. Doctors and family dare not be proud and dare not speak its name.. That hurts worse than the needles.
Rightly or wrongly, I chose to stay as active as I can. I chose to stay living in Rhode Island and, thereby, I chose to break the law
Rightly or wrongly, I chose to be honest with my children about marijuana and my use of it. Of course, until perhaps now, the rest of the adults around them urge them to lie for me, hide the truth, protect and ignore me.
The fact that using marijuana is illegal, has meant a constant nervousness of being arrested and consistent source of discomfort for my family.
Being a feeble felon is not fun; having a feeble felon for a mother is worse. If de-criminalizing marijuana keeps one mother from my feelings of guilt and parental failure, I am gladdened for them and their families.
That cannabis was branded guilty by association a half century ago should be something real Rhode Islanders can understand. That the federal government can just plain be wrong (and hypocritical) is something we can all understand.
Marijuana has always been a questionable inclusion in the government’s ‘war against drugs’.
In this year 2005, when drugs are hawked recklessly throughout the culture and swallowed without sense or stigma, chewing on a plant leaf from the garden should not be a criminal act.

. As for stupidities, I do not drive stoned. Wouldn’t do it. The whole point of using the weed is to live. I know lots of people on pharmaceuticals who shouldn’t drive either. I don’t question police numbers regarding intoxication and traffic accidents, but I do disagree with police supposition that medical marijuana users will be responsible for carnage on the roads.
As for unknown dangers , I agree a current problem with pot is trusting what you’re getting. But since growing a little pot plant in a little spot in the garden is a felony, current law forces you to the darker side of distribution systems.
As for known certainties, marijuana is a safe and herbal medicine that works and helps a lot of people who endure daily suffering. As Senate Judiciary Committee member Costantino said in his yea vote, it’s an issue of compassion. Having lost family to cancer, he called it allowing death with dignity; I call it allowing life with dignity.
I’m happy to see some common sense being spent in Rhode Island on Maryjane, a common weed for the un-common weal.

Polly Reynolds
East Providence

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