Fair warning: This is not a happy story. There is no happy ending. I’m submitting this as an example of someone that could have been helped by Haleigh’s Hope Act. She is not eligible for Medical Marijuana. The removal of fibromyalgia from the list of approved diseases or disabilities killed the hope we had for it. She was told years ago that it would help her with the pain, but it was still illegal here. She was told Haleigh’s Hope Act would allow her legal access, but it did not. ~~~~~~~~~ My mother had a massive stroke shortly after her birthday in 2014. She was left with severe global aphasia, mobility impairments, a significant reduction in both vision and hearing, difficulty controlling bodily functions and Post-Stroke Psychiatric Syndrome that has caused Major Depressive Disorder, Pseudo-bublar Affect and extreme moodswings/an inability to control emotional reactions. She was also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia around 15 years ago, and has Diabetic Neuropathy in both of her feet, legs and hands. She is virtually immobile and has been legally declared blind at this time. She lives with constant pain, nausea, sadness and anger. She is (as I write this) 66 years old. She has been on numerous medications, most of which have caused severe complications. Wellbutrin causes fever spikes, Respiridal made her throat close up, Vicodin makes her nauseated and increases her panic attacks, I could list dozens of medications, all with similar issues. She cannot take any of them long-term, and the few she can take (Tramadol for pain, Ambien for sleep, Valerian Root for her anxiety, Hydralazine for blood pressure and Insulin for her diabetes), do not do much to help with the anxiety, pain or sleeplessness. Nothing we have tried (well over 30 medications at this point) helps with the PBA, mood swings or depression. A friend of mine who knew the situation, brought her a gift. A few joints, hand rolled by him and brought to this state from somewhere else. She is a child of the 60’s and knew what it was the instant he let her hold it. She was reluctant to use it, it is illegal here and just having it in the house could land her, me, my father (who is a severely disabled US Veteran) and my friend all in jail if anyone turned us in. She won’t smoke it often, she refuses to let anyone risk themselves to get more, and she can’t go get it herself. But when she does smoke it, there is a time when she has no pain. She’s not sad and she’s able to control her moods. There’s no random gut-wrenching sobs from her, there are no stifled moans of pain when she tries to move. She’s able to eat, she’s able to carry on a conversation with people, she’s able to be herself for a brief time. No prescriptions have been able to do this, no therapies have helped, no over the counter pain relievers, no anti-depressants, just this one, simple, plant. I want to take her away from here, to move her to where it is legal for her to have it, to possess and smoke it as she wishes. To be able to stop the pain, stop the moodswings, stop the fear and terror she lives with due to all of her issues combined. But I can’t. Her doctor is here, and so is my father’s, and she refuses to leave because dad needs the relationship he and his nephrologist have built over the past several years. So day by day, I watch her decline further and further, unable to give her something that would make her final months less pain filled, that would ease her anguish and her anxiety.
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.