I joined NORML is 1976 and I am still fighting with them

My story is a simple one. It begins in in 1962 when I was 5 years old. My father came home from WWII in 1946 after spending 4 years in the jungles fighting the Japanese during the island hopping campaigns. He had terrible nightmares, drank hard everyday so he could try to leave the demons behind at night. He was an accomplished house painter who could match colors right before your eyes in seconds. I like to think he was an artist. The dark side was he was angry, frustrated, and disappointed with the way his life was going. His temper made it impossible for him to hold a regular job. He repeatedly beat my mother and myself. He would roam the house at midnight with a knife in hand. I spent many nights under our house in the dirt snuggling with my dog and listening to his footsteps above searching for me. The alcohol killed his brain and eventually him at 61. During my teen years I drank beer and I took risks that I now wince at. It’s a wonder I’m alive. I smoked cannabis at 15 and it freed me from the nightmares that I now know came from PTSD. It freed me. I drank some but always came back to the sacred plant. I joined NORML at 19 in 1976 and felt a sense of community for the first time. Those were the good times before the height of the war on drugs of which I never considered cannabis to be a “drug” I thought so many times about taking my life because my father always told me I was useless, not to mention the validation of that when he tried to kill me in a drunken stupor. The family was clueless, frightened, and ill equipped to handle his disease. I was on my own. And today I still am. My brother( ex state trooper) and sister who were older and out of the house during that time view my support of this plant to treat not only my illness but that of many others with great skepticism. I can’t fault them, I would have run too, except I was 10 years old and couldn’t. I was stuck with a co dependent mother who thought she had no other option but to stay. Half a century later the pain is still here and I wish I could have had a normal childhood but that is just wishful thinking. Both my parents are now dead. But I wake up at night sometimes in a sweat realizing there are thousands of children facing the same fate as this little boy when their daddy comes home from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. So the cycle continues- Until we stand up and give our citizens a choice of medication that is powerful but neuro-protective. Prohibitionist fear all the “possible” unseen consequences on society. They are looking in the wrong direction. They need to remove their blinders and talk to those whose lives, marriages, and children have been saved from using this plant.

About Author

Sharon is a wife, mother, caregiver, business owner and life long resident of Georgia. Her eyes were opened when her family was traumatized by the “War on Drugs”, she uses her ears to listen to other victims and her voice to tell their stories and educate others on the direct and indirect harms of prohibition and how it affects us all.

Sharon has been a guest on numerous radio stations across the country as well as local and regional TV news affiliates. As well as LadyBud Magazine, HighTimes Magazine and Main Street. She was recently nominated by Mass/Cann NORML for National Female Activist of the Year. Sharon has traveled the country speaking on various topics including drug policy, activism, southern strategies and harm reduction. She produces a segment on 420radio.com highlighting the stories and work of other women in the fight to end marijuana prohibition.